Getting a Divorce Can Turn Your World Upside Down. Here Are 15 Ways to Help You Gain Your Footing Back.
Why should you work to get through divorce as soon as you can? According to a report that came a few years back, getting a divorce is even more traumatic than going to jail. And there’s no reason to think that’s changed. Looking at the USA, the figures are still about the same — around half of marriages end up in divorce.
The USA doesn’t even have anywhere near the highest divorce rates in the world — that dubious honour goes to Luxembourg, where it stands at over 80%. But however emotionally draining it is — the important thing is to get over it. Let’s take a look at how.
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Divorce is a heavy topic, reading a long article might be a lot. Here’s a quick little video version of this article:
With that out of the way, let’s dive right into the article.
Accept That You’re Going to Feel Like a Mess for a While
In other words, give yourself time to grieve. Experts tell us there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The goal is to get through the first four. And with time you will. But try pushing them under the mattress, and they’ll just resurface when you’re least expecting them.
So, realize that feeling a mess is normal. Be honest with people close to you about the rollercoaster of emotions you’re going through. There’s no point in saying ‘I’m fine’ when you’re just not. And while you might get sick of people telling you to take it step by step, the simple fact is, they’re right. Step by step is the only way you can do it.
Slowly Get Comfortable With Being Alone
You’ve become really cosy being part of a couple — used to having someone to share the moment with at social gatherings, and used to people seeing you as part of a double act. All of a sudden, that’s all changed. You’re solo. And as if the breakup weren’t painful enough, you feel self-conscious, vulnerable, and out of place. So it is only natural to wonder how to get through divorce and all the trauma that comes with it?
But think back to those times when you were still single, when you never even questioned going it alone. Hanging out with friends, having a blast. Then there was no stigma attached to being single. You can get back to that frame of mind — and you will. It won’t happen overnight, but once you start to see being single something that can be fulfilling too — you’re on the right path.
Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to stay single forever — but the key is to start seeing being unattached and being in a couple as equally valid options.
Being Single Has Advantages — Enjoy Them
Being single is more than just a valid option — better still, there’s a ton of advantages that come with it. Like not having to negotiate where or what to eat, what movie or TV series to watch. Through to bigger stuff, like which house to buy or rent, how to decorate it, and how much to spend on it.
We’re not saying it’s all rosy. Of course, you miss not being able to do all those things with somebody else. We’re just saying — see the plus side to it too. You may as well take advantage. Binge-watch that series your ex wasn’t into. Decorate your house in that crazy color scheme only you like. Maybe in a couple of years you’ll be in another relationship. And now you’re single, it’s the best time you’ll have to be you without having to negotiate it all. So indulge yourself a little. Or even a lot. That’s a fun way to get through divorce the next one’s a party.
Have a Support Network
Of course, being on your own, for a while at least, doesn’t mean spending all your time alone. While you’re still going through those stages of grieving, you’ll probably want to be by yourself some of the time – just don’t make it too much of the time.
And have a great support network to back you up. Connect with those people — family, or friends — who you can talk to about how you’re feeling. Reach out to them. Because you’re going to need somebody to talk too. About all those contradictory thoughts in your head, feelings of blame, anger and self-doubt, that keep you awake at night. If you don’t share your pain with somebody, it will take longer to get through divorce.
Try to Look Ahead — Not Back
When you’re thinking back to the good times you had together — or maybe the bad times together — and overanalyzing everything that happened, the problem is, you’re living in the past. And that’s not going to help you get through divorce. It’s only going to get you stuck, unable to move on, and feeling depressed.
That’s why you need to start looking ahead. Look at the things you can enjoy, about all the big plans you can start making, the goals you can start achieving. And you don’t need anyone to help you. Instead of thinking about what went wrong and how things could have been — look ahead to how great life can be, and you’re the one who can make it that way.
Re-Evaluate Your Finances
It’s valuable to get through divorce, because there are a million ways it can alter your financial situation. But it’s a given that it will alter it in some way. First off, now you’re paying bills by yourself, instead of splitting them. Whether you’re still in the same place or not, your living arrangements will be different. And that’s even before we’ve factored in alimony, or child support, if they come into it.
So it’s time to have a look at your finances, and where they stand at the moment, and how you can make them work for you in the future. How you’re going to spend, save, and once you’ve got those covered, how you’re going to invest. Whatever stage you’re at in your life, everybody should have a financial plan. So now your circumstances have changed, it’s time to get a new one together.
Do Your Legal Research — and Get a Lawyer You Can Trust
Truth be told, this one could have come earlier in the list, as it’s something you need to consider before the divorce happens. But now we’ve dealt with the ways to get through divorce – it’s emotional side mainly – now we’ll give you a heads up on this. Well before the divorce papers are signed, be sure to have a trustworthy divorce lawyer, and get clued up on the laws in your country or region.
Things you’ll want to consider are: what kind of divorce — in the USA , that could be a summary divorce, a no-fault divorce, an uncontested divorce, or a mediated divorce. Settling the financial terms and conditions. Custody issues if there are children.
Not understanding all the legal aspects could have drastic consequences. Like not having access to your children. Or giving away a load of your fortune that you’ve earned to your ex. Yep, just take a look at Jeff Bezos. Do your legal research and avoid these pitfalls.
Re-Evaluate Your Friendships
When you were attached, you may have found yourself gravitating towards other couples too. That might change. Being at events where you’re the only one not paired up — you might end up feeling like a spare wheel. And when it comes to friends who were closer to your ex, you might get the cold shoulder from them. Try not to take that too personally — realize it’s just the way it goes.
Either way, now is a great time to evaluate your friendships. Think, who are the most important ones? The ones who make you feel best, and understand you most, and that ones you can count on. And the ones who have the same values as you, perhaps similar goals too, so that you can push each other forward and thrive off each other.
Is it time to see a little less of some people? Leave superficial or toxic friendships by the wayside? And perhaps reconnect with people you haven’t seen much of for a while. We’re not saying defriend people just because the get on well with your ex — just reevaluate who you want to spend the most time with, based on what your needs are now. It might not be an instant solution to get through divorce but its a way to engage in a meaningful and productive task.
Rediscover Who You Are
For a long time you’ve defined yourself as part of a duo. Start asking yourself — what things did you want to achieve before, that you forgot about. What places did you want to go? What are your values — maybe some of them that you’ve forgotten about or even repressed when you were attached.
This one goes beyond what we said before, about not having to compromise on day-to-day decisions. This one’s about discovering the things you really want out of life, that you put on the backburner, because they weren’t that compatible with what your ex wanted, or that weren’t practical when you were paired up.
Divorce is traumatic. But it can also be the start for new growth — and having a good think about your priorities and ambitions can not only push you to get through divorce but also make you livelier than you were as a married person.
Still feeling lost and don’t know how to get on the path of rediscovery? Here are 15 Steps to Reinvent Yourself and Start Over.
Use It to Set Yourself off in a New Direction
Once you’ve started to figure out what you want, it’s time to think about taking that jump that will make it happen. It could be moving to a new location. Taking a job that wouldn’t have worked out when you were in the relationship. Doing a hobby that you didn’t have time for before, a course that could send your life in a new direction. Or get to work on a project you’re passionate about, that wasn’t a priority before.
That’s exactly what J.K. Rowling did to get through divorce. Suddenly she was an unemployed single mum living with her sister, with her self-esteem in tatters, at the lowest point of her life. But strangely, it gave the freedom to get working seriously on a project she’d already thought of but hadn’t really put into action yet.
You’ve probably guessed what the project was that she got to work on — yep, a series of books about a boy wizard at a school of magic. We don’t need to tell you how the story goes form there, because we’re pretty sure you know it already. But the interesting thing is, a crippling divorce gave her the freedom to write the first book. In her TED Talk, which was also a speech at Harvard, ‘The Fringe Benefits of Failure” she says “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuild my life’. And the first step to huge success.
Consider Therapy or Meditation
Remember we talked about those nagging voices, over-analyzing the situation, never giving you any peace, or chance to sleep. Remember, it’s normal. You can’t just shut them out. But you can find ways of dealing with them.
Like therapy. Having somebody listening to you, who’s not involved in your life, but can help you see it from perspectives you hadn’t thought of before — that can do wonders.
Or meditation. It can give you clarity, and help you get through divorce and all the other problems with it — sleeping badly; low confidence; anxiety, fear about what direction your life is heading. Trying some meditation can calm you, give you focus, and help you move forward.
And whether you’re going through a divorce or not, if you’ve never tried meditation, we suggest you try our Mind Mastery premium experience, which is available for purchase at alux.com/meditation.
It’s a 21 day challenge where you learn this valuable skill, and how to use your mind to come up with creative solutions to whatever problems you’re facing. Go to alux.com/meditation, and go through the entire experience. By the end, if you think you didn’t get your money’s worth we will issue a full refund under our 60 day guarantee, that’s how much we believe in it!
Start Dating Again. But Take Your Time
For most people it will probably be a while until you’ll want to jump into anything serious. It’s likely you just won’t feel ready yet. And we all know rebounds can be bad, either from our own experience or from friends or acquaintances. And the last thing you want right now is a dodgy rebound — or getting into a serious new relationship just for the sake of being in something serious, or because you feel vulnerable or empty alone. Making that mistake can end up badly, and get in the way of the healing process.
But it’s not a bad idea to all for you to get dating, in a casual way. Just remember to take it easy, not over-commit, and be slow getting into things.
Do New Activities
Enjoy your freedom by expanding your horizons. Do things you haven’t done before. Join a club, learn a new skill, start doing a new sport or martial art. Volunteer, do a course.
Reminding yourself of all the possibilities out there that can bring you fulfilment is a great way to get looking forward instead of back, get through divorce, take your mind off things, and better still, open up a world of new opportunities.
Make New Friends
Another great way to get through divorce. Find new people that inspire you. If you’ve got new goals, or new interests, connect with people who share those.
If you’re doing new activities, like we mentioned in the last point, that’s the perfect inroad to meeting new people with common values and interests. And out of your existing friends, gravitate a little more towards the ones who are sociable and always meeting new people. That way you’ll end up meeting new people that way too, and get another reminder of the endless possibilities out there.
If You’ve Got Children, Put Them First
For the divorces where children are involved, this one’s super important. Because whatever blame games are going on between you and your ex, none of that blame is on your children. So don’t put any of it on them. Act responsibly, and make your children a priority.
Key points are — talk to them honestly about what’s happening. Learn to be civil towards your ex, so they don’t feel they have to take sides. Whatever the living arrangements, where possible, figure out a way you can both stay involved. Communicate directly with your ex— don’t send messages through the kids. And definitely don’t use them as pawns – tools to display control or power over the your former other half.
And very importantly, whether you’re the one spending more of your time with them, or less, make sure you and them enjoy the time you spend together.
What do you think is the best piece of advice for getting through a divorce?