As with any loss, you will go through stages of grief, ideally arriving at a state of acceptance. Not only does this afford you the peace and contentment you so richly deserve, it also positions you to make clear and thoughtful decisions regarding your future. Take the time to process the loss: accept the love and support of your family and friends, see a therapist and talk through your emotional experience, join a divorce recovery group, explore meditation or yoga. Allow this loss to find a place in your identity that doesn’t define that identity, but instead enriches it. If you find yourself unable to break free of an overwhelming sense of grief, seek professional help.
Divorce frequently brings changes to your social life. Engaging in activities that you enjoy, that bring you into contact with others who have similar interests, can be an excellent way to explore new social networks and make new friends: take a cooking class, join a cycling group, look up the local chapter of the Sierra Club, volunteer for an organization you support. This is a time to explore and rediscover what brings you joy. If you are feeling peaceful about your divorce, with some understanding of what happened and how to minimize the chances of history repeating itself, you’ll bring a great foundation to new relationships. If the wound is still raw, consider concentrating on new friendships instead of romance for the moment.
No matter how you and your ex managed finances, once divorced you are responsible for establishing and maintaining a household entirely on your own. This is a good time to assess your financial situation, establish some goals, and begin working with a budget. Draw up a new will, plan for retirement and organize your affairs to reflect your newly independent status. Finances can be a tremendous source of anxiety as you launch your new life, and gathering information to help you understand your situation and enable you to make informed decisions can go a long way towards addressing that anxiety.
If you’re a parent, a lot has changed for your family as a result of this divorce. The best gift you can give yourself and your children is to establish a workable parenting relationship with your ex-spouse. Start a dialogue as soon as possible to lay the groundwork for a two-household approach to parenting.
Establishing a life after divorce can be daunting, but it can also be exciting. This IS an opportunity, with lots of changes and – perhaps – some tremendous improvements. It’s a time for exploration; a time to see what feels good to you and fits in your life. You may try some things and say, “Never again!” but the opportunity is there to get in touch with some undiscovered parts of yourself. As much as you can, stay open and courageous!