When you first got married, odds are you never imagined that one day you would be signing your divorce papers. No matter how common people say divorce is or how many statistics are thrown your way, you thought you and your spouse were the couple to be. You were full of hope and love and promise.
Having this ideal of happy married life disappear before your eyes is nothing short of devastating. Even if you were the one who ended the relationship, it is still difficult to know that a partnership that had such promise did not turn out the way you’d hoped.
Nobody ever goes into a marriage thinking that one day they may be divorced. This can make getting over such a traumatic event in your life very difficult or nearly impossible. But don’t give up hope. Your relationship has ended – not your life.
Here are the top 5 ways to recover after a divorce.
1. Live Day by Day
Getting a divorce has likely done a number in your psyche.
Depression, anger, sadness, relief, and resentment have probably all crept into your mind and heart at some point or another following your separation.
It’s perfectly natural to take time to wallow after your breakup. Sit on the couch in your PJs, watch bad movies, eat ice cream, drink wine, and munch on mac and cheese to your heart’s delight. But eventually, you’re going to have to find a new normal and create a single routine you can live by.
After a tragedy happens, it can be difficult to start making plans for the future. After all, you’ll probably be left thinking about how your future no longer holds a spot for your ex.
Instead of overwhelming yourself with a five-year-plan, we encourage you to take things day by day. Wake up, take a shower, make coffee, go to work. Come home, make dinner, go for a run, go to bed.
For the first couple of weeks after getting a divorce, even the basic aspects of your day are going to feel impossible to do. But it’s important not only to get a routine started quickly after your divorce, but to make taking care of your body a regular part of this new routine.
2. Utilize Your Support System
Self-compassion is a huge part of getting over a divorce.
A University of Arizona study surveyed 105 divorcées who had been married an average of thirteen years or more. They were asked to answer questions about their divorce and their recovery process.
Results found that those who had higher levels of self-compassion had fewer bad dreams about the divorce, less negative reflections on the marriage, and fewer negative thoughts overall.
Along with self-compassion, it’s also important to utilize your support system. Studies show that support from loved ones can significantly lower psychological distress after trauma.
So, do not be afraid to lean on them for support when situations call for.
3. Cut the Cord
Even if you were miserably unhappy in your marriage, there will be times where you miss your spouse. This feeling is only intensified if you were not the one who wanted the relationship to end. You will miss your partner’s companionship, the easy repertoire you shared, and the consistent company.
But whatever you do, don’t stalk your ex on social media.
In fact, cutting the cord between you and your ex-husband/wife is one of our biggest pieces of advice for getting over your divorce. Do not follow them on their social media profiles. Actually, do yourself a favor and block them from yours. Delete their number out of your phone, and do not interact socially unless absolutely necessary.
Let your lives be a complete mystery to one another. By doing so, you will save yourself a lot of hurt.
4. Get Back to Your Old Habits
Do you even remember the person you were before you got married? Getting a divorce means you can focus on yourself in a way you probably haven’t been able to in a very long time.
This means you can spend more time with friends. They can be a great pick-me-up for your emotional blues. Plan outings, trips, dinners, and sleepovers with friends and family members.
Get back to doing the things you love. When was the last time you could play your favorite instrument? Work out? Draw or illustrate? Now that you are single, it is the perfect time to get back to your old favorite hobbies or perhaps make new ones.
Volunteering is another great way to spend your time. Not only does this benefit those less fortunate, but helping others also makes you less likely to focus on your own problems.
5. Don’t Be Afraid of Professional Help
Research shows that breakups trigger severe psychological distress and a decline in overall life satisfaction. It’s no wonder why it can feel so impossible to succeed in getting over a divorce.
Seeking professional help should never be something you are ashamed of. A divorce therapist is someone who has been trained to help you through the painful aftermath of your breakup.
It can be cathartic to talk about your worries, sadness, and feelings to someone outside of your friends and family. They will be able to help you work through the myriad of confusing feelings you are experiencing and give you rational perspective.
A therapist can also help you begin the healing process, give you new coping skills, and help you make goals that you can look forward to achieving.
It’s natural to feel a loss after a marriage has ended, but getting a divorce does not mean the end of happiness. Over time, you will learn how to live day by day.
It can be helpful to cut the cord from your spouse by refusing to have contact with them and avoiding their social media accounts. Trust in your support system and those who truly love you and you will be back to your old self before you know it.
Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.