12 Tips to Restart After Divorce — It is NOT the End!

03 - restart after divorce

Divorce, like marriage, is often a life-changing experience.

The process may bring about various changes, ranging from calmer dinners to an empty home or even a new residence. If you have children, your co-parenting schedule may require you to spend days apart from them for the first time. As you adapt to your new existence, you may experience a complicated mix of thoughts and emotions ranging from betrayal and grief to fury or relief.

As stated, divorce may cause havoc in your life. As you begin to rebuild your life, remember that divorce does not represent the end of your existence. Instead, it represents a fresh beginning. Caring for your mental and physical needs is necessary for successfully navigating the post-divorce period. The 12 suggestions below are a good place to start.

1. Practice Acceptance

People seldom marry with the expectation of ultimately divorcing. Even if divorce is prevalent, you may be convinced your marriage will continue. So the divorce of your marriage may come as a surprise.

It is normal to feel regrets, wish things had turned out differently, and question whether there was anything you could have done to avoid it. You may also experience perplexity, even denial, and find it difficult to accept the divorce. But, despite these (totally understandable) emotions, the truth remains: the marriage has ended.

While some ex-partners remarry, divorce is usually the last straw. Holding too firmly to the past or the imagined future might hinder your recovery and make it tough to move ahead. So, try to gently redirect your thoughts when you feel them wandering down the route of:

  • “If only I’d…”
  • “But we had such a good time together.”
  • “How could they throw everything away?”
Instead, repeat to yourself:
  • “The divorce occurred, and I have no control over it.”
  • “Life may not always go according to plan, but I can still find happiness and peace.”

2. Give All of Your Feelings Space

Acceptance is followed by self-validation. You may suffer the following symptoms in the early aftermath of divorce (and occasionally for a long time afterward):

  • Betrayal, anguish, and despair
  • dread, uncertainty, and skepticism
  • disdain and contempt, fury, hostility, rage, sadness, loss, and regret
  • relief and tranquillity
  • loneliness

3. Acknowledge Emotions as Source of Internal Struggles

If your ex-spouse filed for divorce because they fell out of love or met someone new, you may be filled with rage, contempt, and despair. At the same time, you may still love them as much as you did before.

If you leave a toxic, dysfunctional, or abusive marriage, you may experience a sense of relief that you made the correct option. However, you may feel melancholy in addition to this beautiful sensation of tranquility. All of your sentiments are legitimate, no matter what. This may seem overpowering, but it will most likely fade with time.

For the time being:
  • Mindfulness methods such as meditation may increase self-awareness and help you make room for all your emotions, including unpleasant ones. Here’s how to develop the practice of everyday meditation.
  • Do you find yourself trapped in a loop of dark or unpleasant thoughts? These suggestions might assist you in controlling your ruminating.
  • Do you struggle with emotional outbursts? Learn new ways to manage your emotions.

4. Create a Co-Parenting Plan

Evidence reveals that when parents collaborate with the other parent to share parenting tasks, children do better in every way:

  • Spending at least 35% of the time with each parent resulted in better emotional, behavioral, and physical health and more significant connections with both parents, according to a 2014 review of 40 research.
  • According to 2020 research, keeping a good parenting connection with your ex after divorce is critical for healthy kid development and overall family well-being.

Creating an efficient plan as soon as possible will help to reduce arguments about who gets first dibs on holiday weekends, summer vacations, and so on. It may also assist you in establishing a habit of polite communication from the beginning.

Tip: Concentrate on what is best for your children rather than who “wins” or gets a “better deal.”

Assume your ex works from home and intends to stay in the community where your children attend school. It may be more practical for your children to spend more time there during the school year and with you over the summer. Do you have a toxic or abusive ex? Seeking expert legal and mental health assistance is integral to the process.

A good co-parenting strategy contains the following elements:
  • routines for sleep, schoolwork, and screen time plans for each parent
  • regulations, as well as the punishments for breaching them
  • household chores and other obligations
  • How will you communicate with your children when they are with the other parent? What will you tell them about the divorce?

It tells your children, “We may not live together anymore, but we are still on the same page when it comes to you.”

5. Remain Calm

You may be outraged, angry, and scornful of your ex. Still, when you need to communicate, putting those sentiments aside momentarily might be helpful. That is not to mean you should dismiss your emotions. Just try not to let them color your talks while you work out the facts.

Here are a few helpful tips:
  • Set communication limits. Will you phone, text, or send an email? How frequently?
  • Keep your talks to the fundamentals, such as daycare or any financial arrangements you have made.
  • Avoid jabs, insults, and nasty or sarcastic statements.
  • Allow both of you to talk and listen to what they say.

6. Spend Quality Time With Your Children

Engaging in enjoyable activities and establishing new traditions with your children may aid post-divorce adjustment. No matter how hectic and exhausting your new daily schedule gets, set aside time each day to check in with your children and unwind as a family. You do not have to make every moment thrilling and pleasant or depart too much from your routine. However, you could:

  • Make time each week for one enjoyable activity, such as a movie, beach, or park trip.
  • Create new traditions, such as making supper together or playing board games.
  • Spend 30 minutes each evening discussing your day’s events.
If your children have concerns about the divorce, it is essential to:
  • Answer questions honestly but in an age-appropriate manner.
  • Maintain a neutral and quiet tone.
  • Avoid making critical, judgemental, or unpleasant remarks about the other parent.
  • Keep to the facts.
Emphasizing that relationships do not always work out, no matter how hard partners try, may also:
  • Helping your children understand that their divorce was not their fault can create the groundwork for good relationship skills – if they ever find themselves in a bad relationship, they will realize they have the choice to leave.

7. Reach Out to Loved Ones

You will need space to express your rage, anguish, and suffering. Turning to your support system to vent these feelings may significantly impact your general well-being and your capacity to cope with the continuous stress of the divorce.

Friends and relatives may listen with empathy (and understanding if they have also gone through a divorce) and give emotional support and practical answers, such as a place to stay, childcare assistance, or thoughtful advice. Remember that there is no need to communicate your emotions with others who may judge you or make you feel worse. Only connect with loved ones who provide affirmation, compassion, and kindness.

8. Consider Broadening Your Social Network

It is one thing to divide joint possessions, but what about mutual friends? It is unusual for joint friends to gravitate toward one of the partners following divorce. If you did not have many friends before getting married, you may have “inherited” your spouse’s pals when you married.

Your relationship may have become close enough that it endures after divorce, but this is not always the case. When the marriage fails, you may feel lonely or alienated. Making new friends may assist in alleviating feelings of loneliness and provide long-term chances for social interaction.

Here are a few pointers for creating new friends:
  • Participate in community service.
  • Invite a pleasant coworker for coffee, lunch, or a weekend stroll.
  • Take an art, music, culinary, or fitness class.
  • Participate in a divorce support group.
  • Reconnect with yourself

Even if you believed you knew yourself well, divorce may cause you to doubt your sense of self. There is no disputing that partnerships change individuals, and you may discover that you are not the same person you were before you married.

Some of your present habits and preferences may have developed spontaneously as a result of your likes, dislikes, and preferred routines. Others, on the other hand, may represent your ex’s wants and requirements.

Perhaps you would prefer (or prefer not to):
  • instead of going to the gym, spending time in nature
  • follow a plant-based diet
  • dwell in tiny, cramped quarters
  • go to bed and get up early, rather than staying up late and sleeping in

Remember to think about your hobbies and interests. How you used your free time throughout your marriage may have differed from your personal relaxation and leisure objectives. As you forge your path post-divorce, taking time for self-discovery along the journey may help you identify critical needs and strategies to meet them on your terms.

9. Try Out New Routines

The sense of aimlessness that commonly follows divorce might give you plenty of time to meditate on what-if scenarios and plunge into a spiral of unpleasant sensations.

Changing up your typical routine might help you achieve the following:
  • combating feelings of loneliness and other undesirable emotions
  • avoiding rumination and other harmful habits caused by emotional distress

There is nothing wrong with sticking to a tried-and-true regimen. On the other hand, establishing new patterns may provide a feeling of freshness while emphasizing the reality that your life is yours alone.

Consider the following suggestions:
  • Find satisfaction in tiny daily routines, such as tea and an excellent book on the porch.
  • By developing a tailored self-care regimen, make self-care a daily habit, not an afterthought.
  • Make your house or bedroom into a sanctuary that is just for you.
  • Create a soothing nighttime ritual.
  • Make time for yoga, walking, or other forms of regular physical exercise that you like.

10. Avoid Casting Blame

In most situations, various causes lead to a marriage’s demise. Both acts were likely involved unless your relationship was toxic or violent (abuse is never your responsibility).

You may need help evaluating things from their perspective right now. However, it is essential to remember that individuals evolve throughout time. A star-crossed love, a fantasy wedding, and a protracted honeymoon period may all fade out when you discover you did not know one other all that well. Or maybe you married while young, before you had completed growing up and figured out who you were and what you wanted out of life.

Communication challenges or a lack of compatibility can never justify lying or cheating, but they may help explain how and why things went wrong. Assigning blame to yourself or others may not help you move on. Instead, attempt to adopt a more objective viewpoint that includes publicly admitting your contributions. This may help you reduce your anger in the present and enhance your relationships in the long run.

11. Take Time for Yourself

Regarding future relationships, it may be better to take a break from dating rather than hurry into a new romance. Love and closeness are excellent ways to occupy lonely hours and heal heart scars. Starting a new relationship when your marriage is still recovering will not necessarily help.

You could end up:
  • comparing your new partner to your ex, finding it difficult to connect
  • emotionally to the new relationship sidelining your physical and mental health
  • requirements in favor of your new spouse’s needs

Time alone may be daunting, mainly if you have never lived alone. However, attaining satisfaction, if not happiness, is feasible.

12. Collaborate With a Professional

Divorce may have long-term consequences for your emotional and mental health, but a mental health professional can always provide compassionate counsel and support. A therapist may assist you in exploring coping mechanisms for any unpleasant or uncomfortable ideas that arise, such as:

  • profound and pervasive sorrow
  • uncertainty and self-doubt
  • strong wrath or irritation, thoughts of failure or shame
  • depression symptoms

A family therapist or co-parenting counselor may also assist your family in making the transition easier.

Seeking expert assistance is usually a good idea if you:

  • have difficulty doing daily activities or parenting your children, notice a reduction in your performance at work or school, have difficulty eating, sleeping, or meeting necessities
  • You are avoiding loved ones.

In Conclusion

Divorce, undoubtedly, represents the end of one chapter in your life. However, just as shutting one book permits you to open another, losing your marriage may reveal a new way ahead. Taking time to mourn, recover, and concentrate on yourself might help you make the most of what the future has in store.