While a divorce can be heartbreaking, it doesn’t have to be a tragedy or viewed as a failure. Change is uncomfortable, and a divorce is undoubtedly one of the biggest life changes you can experience. However, divorce can not only be a catalyst for growth, but it can also give you new life.
Whether one or both of you decided to part ways, divorce can be freeing, especially if your marriage was unhappy or unhealthy. Of course, you may deal with loneliness at times and feel overwhelmed at the responsibility of managing things by yourself. But you can also gain confidence in yourself.
Of course, divorce doesn’t guarantee happiness, just as marriage doesn’t. But you can find ways to help you find a better life after divorce.
Why you may be happier after a divorce
- You do not have to make any unnecessary adjustments to keep an unhappy relationship going.
- You feel more empowered and independent because you’re living on your own and making decisions about your own life.
- You know more about what you want and what you do not want because of your past experiences.
- You may make better choices when it comes to future partners because now you know what you liked and didn’t like in your previous relationship.
- You may discover new passions or things that make you feel good about yourself.
How to find happiness after a divorce
Each person handles change differently, so it’s important to find a coping strategy that works for you. The following tips may help you move forward after a divorce:
- Know that it is okay not to be okay. A divorce may make you feel sad, angry, frustrated, or anxious. Don’t ignore or push down these emotions. Remember that they will become less intense with time.
- Give yourself some time to heal. Don't be in a hurry to move on after a divorce. Let yourself mourn. Take it one step at a time and give yourself time to regroup and re-energize.
- Share your feelings with someone you trust. Whether it’s with a friend, colleague, or family member, talking about your feelings can help you feel less lonely. Don’t isolate yourself. If you find it hard to express what you’re feeling, try writing them down in a diary.
- Find new passions or hobbies. You may discover a new side to yourself. Don’t be afraid to try something new, whether it be music, painting, crafts, sports, or other activities.
- Spend some time in nature. Get outdoors and enjoy some hiking, jogging, or gardening.
- Play with your pets. Now that you have more time, consider getting a pet or spending time with a therapy dog.
- Pay attention to your health. Eat healthy and stay active. Even small lifestyle changes can bring great improvements to your health. Remember that alcohol, drugs or binging will only worsen your situation.
- Don't hesitate to seek help. If you feel like you just can’t seem to deal with the changes in your life, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a therapist or psychiatrist.
How to help children cope after a divorce
Many parents try to stay in marriages, even unhappy ones, for the sake of their children. However, kids are more perceptive than you may think, and a troubled marriage may be harming them more than a divorce.
Of course, helping your kids find their footing after a divorce can be challenging. Here are a few tips that may guide you when helping your children cope with divorce:
- Don't involve your children in your conflicts. Avoid voicing negative feelings or speaking ill of your partner in front of your kids, and avoid arguing in front of them, as well.
- Help your children build trust in you by being available for them and keeping the promises you make to them.
- Be a good listener. Let your children openly express how they feel about your divorce, and try to help them feel understood.
- Reassure them of your love, and explain to them that sometimes people just need to part ways. It's no one’s fault.
- Try to keep your children’s daily routine consistent. Stability and familiarity will go a long way in helping your children adapt to their new normal.
- Discuss parenting responsibilities with your partner when needed. This will help ensure that your child does not suffer because of your separation.
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Montenegro XP. The Divorce Experience: A Study of Divorce at Midlife and Beyond. AARP. https://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/general/divorce.pdf
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