Separation and divorce are among the most stressful situations that anyone can experience. Whether you were married for five years or twenty-five, the process of separating your life from your partner’s is never easy.
You have established your life as a couple. Your activities and goals were largely centred around this identity as a married person. Perhaps you had children together, which typically makes things even more difficult.
So, how do you cope when this identity is literally split in two?
What can you do to rebuild your life apart from your ex?
At the top of the list for coping after divorce is self-compassion. Whether you initiated the divorce or not, it can be easy to blame yourself for what happened. Maybe you blame yourself for sticking it out so long or not trying to get help before it got so bad. Perhaps your spouse was unfaithful.
Whatever the case may be, it’s vital to give yourself self-compassion. This doesn’t mean throwing yourself a pity party every night with a bottle of wine and a quart of ice cream (although that’s okay sometimes!).
Rather, self-compassion is not beating yourself up or harshly blaming yourself. It’s giving yourself the same patience and understanding as you would to a friend in the same situation.
In fact, therapists understand just how powerful self-compassion is during difficult times and support people to build and enhance this important skill.
Most people adjusting to life post-divorce do best when they have others to lean on. This could mean finding a divorce support group or other emotional recovery group. It could also mean leaning upon your friends and family more than you did when you were married.
While you will probably want time to yourself now and then, it is important to not isolate and withdraw. Let others in and do not be afraid to reach out.
Seeking therapy is also a powerful way to create emotional support as you transition to your new life post-separation.
There’s a great deal of stress involved in divorce and adjusting afterward. Emotional pain, anxiety, depression, and loneliness are common. They may last for some time, not just a month or two. Likewise, there are other sources of stress. Legal battles, reduced income, single parenting, and possibly a lower standard of living often add to the chaos and uncertainty. Divorce is not easy.
But learning basic stress management skills can help you keep your equilibrium as you go through this period and adjust to life on your own.
These skills include breathing exercises, mindfulness, physical exercise, and other ways to self-soothe.
Therapists frequently teach these coping skills during sessions for those adjusting to life after divorce.
For many people, life after divorce can be an exciting time of rediscovery and growth. It’s okay to grieve and acknowledge your pain. This is important. But it is also healthy to take the time to rediscover yourself. Give yourself patience and love and explore new things. Chances are you could be pleasantly surprised.
During and after divorce, many individuals find that therapy is a vital part of their journey. If you would like to learn more about how therapy can help, please reach out to our office to learn more. Our team of caring therapists have helped many people find their way to a happy and meaningful life after separation and divorce.