At Harr Law, we stand by you throughout the divorce process, until everything is finalized. But we know that the finalization of your divorce is far from the end—far from it. We want each of our clients to be able to discover a new, happy life after their divorces, and settle into a new normal. While this can be difficult for many, here are a few tips that may help you to find your new normal after your divorce.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
Whether you were the one who filed for divorce or not, you have a right to mourn the end of your marriage. Nobody enters a marriage hoping they’ll divorce someday; and, even if the divorce ended up being something you wanted, it is still a loss in your life. Everyone who gets a divorce will experience feelings of grief, and you should allow yourself to acknowledge and work through those feelings.
You may even consider visiting a therapist for a while to talk through these emotions and the major changes you’re going through in your life. But above all, don’t sweep those feelings under the rug, or allow anyone to tell you that you have nothing to grieve over.
Learn to Love Yourself
Again, this isn’t something limited to individuals who were on the receiving end of that divorce paperwork. Many divorcees will experience feelings of self-rejection after their divorces. Even if they feel the other party is largely to blame for the ending of the relationship, they may find themselves wondering, “Why couldn’t I make it work? How could I let my marriage fall apart? What could I have done differently?”
While there’s nothing wrong with asking these questions in an effort to grow and acknowledge your own shortcomings, you shouldn’t allow yourself to dwell on them or allow those questions to make you feel that you are somehow insufficient or unworthy of love. Take time for yourself, learn to love who you are as an individual, and try some of the things mentioned in this next section.
Oftentimes, people in relationships begin to view themselves less as individuals and more as a part of a unit. You may have given up hobbies or other things you enjoyed when you were single, and adopted new hobbies and habits as a couple.
Take time to rediscover those things you loved and the person you were before you were married. Maybe you loved to go out dancing, but it wasn’t something your spouse enjoyed so you stopped doing it once you were married. Get together with some friends, and go dancing together.
Of course, through this process, you may also find that you’re not the same person you were before you marriage—and that’s perfectly fine too. Perhaps this time of major change in your life is also a chance for you to reinvent yourself, try out some new hobbies, or even go back to school. Whether you’re rediscovering old loves, discovering brand-new ones, or a combination of both, this should be a time that you focus on getting to know who you are as an individual, and not as part of a two-person unit.
Don’t Fear Being Alone
After being married or in a committed relationship for some time, being single can feel unnatural at first. Don’t let that scare you into a new relationship. Take some time to be alone, or to “date yourself” by doing many of those things mentioned above. Make social connections that aren’t about relationships. And, yes, perhaps spend some quiet nights at home with yourself.
When you are finally ready to start dating, try not to consider every first date to be the start of a committed relationship. There’s nothing wrong with dating casually, or having “transitional” relationships.
You may even want to consider dating individuals that you once felt were outside of your comfort zone. After all, your tastes may have change over the years; don’t go for the shy, quiet type simply because that’s what you dated before. Stretch your horizons and try dating people that you wouldn’t normally consider your type. And remember, it’s just a date—no commitment required.
Embrace New Responsibilities
Your roles as a person will change to an extent after a divorce. If you had kids with your ex, you may find yourself playing the role of single parent—either part-time through shared custody or full-time if you have sole custody. Or, if you didn’t have children, you may find yourself taking on responsibilities that your partner used to fulfill, such as earning and managing money or dealing with cooking and housework. Whatever your new responsibilities are, embrace them. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and enjoy the opportunity to learn new life skills.
If you’re going through a divorce, contact Harr Law. We’ll be at your side throughout the divorce, and help you get started on the path to finding a new normal in your life as a single individual once again.