When most of us walk down the aisle, we are thinking of growing, creating a family, working and investing, conquering the future and finally growing old together. Sure, we know there will be some hard times as well but we are usually confident in our ability to overcome them.
However, sometimes, the downs of a relationship can be insurmountable leading to separation and divorce. Unfortunately, no one prepares us for the turmoil of divorce.
Divorce complicates life for everyone involved, including children, extended families and friends.
The complexity of dealing with courts and lawyers, property, custody, and co-parenting, can be emotionally, physically, and economically draining. The process requires energy, time, and effort, and it can also take a toll on your physical and mental health.
The sad reality is that over 50% of marriages end in divorce. How can we navigate, and thrive when divorce comes knocking on our doors? In this article we explore 10 healthy ways to cope with divorce.
Why is divorce so hard?
Love is beautiful, and we all desire it. More so, the benefits that come with it, like companionship, children, and laughter.
When this ends, you will have to deal with disappointment, crushed dreams and hopes, social issues and much more difficulties navigating the world. These difficulties may include;
- Navigating co-parenting or single parenting
- Moving and/or selling your home
- Diminished finances
- Loss of friends and family
- Loss of trust in yourself and others
10 healthy ways to cope with divorce
1. Ensure its final
Can your marriage be salvaged? Is there hope? If you believe it’s possible to work things out, try it. Go for marriage therapy and dates, and try new ways of connecting and communicating.
If you have done everything you can, you can finally move on with no regrets.
2. Accept the outcome
Divorce is quite hard to accept, but once it happens, it’s advisable to accept it whether you want it or not.
When your partner asks for a divorce, denial takes over. However, if your partner is unwilling to reconsider their decision and moves forward with the divorce, accept it. Living in denial will only make the divorce process more complicated and painful.
Accepting that the person you once loved wants to leave you leads to frustration, confusion and sadness, but this is your new reality. The faster you accept it, the better your healing process.
Gradually, your pain will start fading away.
It’s okay to grieve. Grief is an emotional suffering that occurs naturally due to losing something, in this case, marriage. It’s that emotional feeling when something you love gets taken away from your life, and the pain can become overwhelming.
The unexpected emotional feelings may range from shock, anger, fear, profound sadness, disbelief and guilt.
While grieving is inevitable, you can overcome by;
- Acknowledging the pain
- Accept that it’s natural to grieve
- Understand that we each have a unique grieving process; thus, don’t compare yourself with others
- Seek support
4. Don’t be hard on yourself
Accept that it’s okay to feel low, and sometimes you may not wish to engage in your daily activities.
Take a break from everything, do things that calm you down and clear your thoughts.
Avoid overworking yourself or forcing yourself to deal with activities you don’t want. It’s okay to become less productive when grieving, but don’t make it a habit.
5. Share your feelings
Do not be a loner during the divorce process. Share those feelings, whether bad or good, with those you trust. Sharing your feelings enables you to heal faster. Bottling them up may lead to depression.
Additionally, you may join support groups with others going through the same.
Remember, it’s okay to reach out to others during tough times.
6. Avoid power struggles
After divorce, power struggles and arguments may continue the same way they did before the divorce. This is especially prevalent if you are co-parenting.
You don’t have to win every argument; learn which things are worth fighting for.
In case of an argument with your ex, learn to stay calm, breathe in, and remember you are no longer together; you can walk away.
7. Take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself may be difficult when you are going through a difficult season.
Avoid handling the legal matters yourself, engage a family lawyer that deals with divorce matters and use the other time to keep your emotional and mental health in check.
Eat well, exercise, meditate, pray, and pamper yourself, go on road trips, take that vacation you have avoided for years, shake your leg, and explore the world.
Remember, life has to go on.
Train your mind to focus on the positives. Being able to appreciate the positives that occurred in your marriage is one way of honoring it and saying goodbye.
8. Explore new interests and experiences
Post–divorce offers the best time to invest in yourself and explore new experiences and interests. Connect with your on-hold passions and acquire new ones.
Enroll in a dancing class, learn to play musical instruments, take a new job in another country, grow a garden, enroll for a degree, or volunteer.
Meet new people and create fresh memories to forget the bad days.
The worst mistake after a divorce is dwelling on past emotions and feelings. You tend to overanalyze the situation and every memory during your divorce process. Living in the past prevents you from embracing the future.
9. Reassure, talk and listen to your children
If you have kids with your ex-spouse, they also get equally affected by divorce. It’s hard for them to watch their family breaking up and having to live with one parent at a time.
Reassure them it’s not their fault, talk to them and gather their inner thoughts, try to ease tension and take them for counseling.
Moreover, it lets your kids know you will always love and support them through anything.
10. Maintain a routine, get therapy and don’t make hasty decisions
Keeping a regular routine is one way of overcoming the challenges of divorce.
Carry on with your daily activities, ensure your kids do the same and keep it as stable as possible.
Talking to a therapist helps you understand your emotions and also guides you on ways to move forward.
While coping with the pain of divorce, you may rush into making unwise decisions. These decisions may be influenced by bad intentions such as proving a point to your ex, yourself, or other people.
Therefore, before making big decisions immediately after a divorce, ask yourself: Why am I really doing this?
Final thoughts on coping with divorce
Divorce has become a part of our lives. Whether we are going through it, or are experiencing it through our parents, siblings, and friends. Yet, if not dealt with healthily, its impact can lead to significant emotional, physical and societal difficulties.
Divorce marks an end of something significant in your life and leads to stepping into something new. Embracing the above tips may enable you to overcome the painful experience and lead a happy life, including enjoying a happy marriage in the future.
Embrace this stage of life, let go of bitterness, and think positively; Divorce is not the end, it is simply the beginning of a new stage of your life.