On the day of your wedding, you meant every word of your vows, but things happen. Some you predicted and some you couldn’t. You thought the marriage was strong enough, but it wasn’t. And that’s okay. Divorces can be messy and complicated, but sometimes you have to move on to find your true happiness. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why it ended, you can get better and be better after making the decision to leave.
Just like with marriage, everyone’s life after a divorce will be different. For some, it may be an amicable split—just two people moving on. Others might need to cut off contact altogether. No matter where you are, you can heal and you will. Still, some things are universal. Here are just a few of the things you can prepare for after the split.
You’ll have to make sure to get your finances in order.
Whether you were part of a two-income household or there was a stay-at-home parent, you’re going to need to adjust the financials. Sometimes it’s tough for stay-at-home parent to have to begin a career, while still raising the children. Just start small. See if there’s work, perhaps online, that you can do from home. You may not find the right opportunity for a while, but you can start by taking part-time or volunteer work to build some experience.
If you’re already employed, gauge your performance at work and be honest with yourself. The divorce may have taken an emotional toll. It’s important not to push yourself too hard. If you do feel like you’re in a good spot, ask your boss for opportunities to take on more responsibilities. Sometimes keeping busy is the best way to move forward.
You need to learn to put your differences aside for the kids.
Even if things between you and your ex went sour, don’t teach your kids to hate him. Remember that your wonderful, sweet, loving kids are on this planet thanks to both of you. You don’t want to let lingering resentment affect their upbringing so be civil. This is a period your children will learn from, even if they’re young. If you need to chat about your relationship with your ex and you’re concerned that tensions might rise, prepare to have that conversation in privacy.
Understand that friendships will change.
Friend dynamics may change after the split, but don’t make your friends feel like they have to participate. If you feel distance growing between you and certain friends, let it happen and approach them when the dust has settled. If your separation has been particularly tough, consider joining a support group. The women in these support groups will be able to offer an ear and may be in the market for some new friends, too.
Prepare for questions from family.
During the next family gathering, you may be subjected to a lot of questions. People love to gossip, and family, though we love them, are no different. Your family wants to support you, but may lack the ability to offer it tactfully. (For instance, they may tell you how they, “Never really liked that guy.”) You can always tell them that you’re still dealing with everything and you need a little time. Small communications like this can be good, because it let’s them know where you are and that you just need time. And if you’re ready, share your feelings with your family. Confiding in loved ones during a divorce can be one of the most therapeutic ways to move on.
Anticipate times of extreme loneliness.
Jumping back into the dating pool is hard, and you might not be ready for it right away. Regardless of how you and your ex parted ways, loneliness can be its own hurdle. Remind yourself that the divorce was the best outcome even if it doesn’t seem like it right now. It was all for the best, so take your time to process.
Don’t let anyone try to convince you that you should have stayed together.
Even if you have children with your ex, that doesn’t mean you should have stayed together. You must remember that first and foremost, you are your own person. You cannot take care of your children to the best of your ability if you’re ailing emotionally and that means staying in an unhappy marriage. It’s important to take care of yourself in order to be a good parent, so holdfast in your decision to split even in moments of doubt.
Prepare for some awkward (at first) online dates.
It can be impossible to think about looking for love after a divorce, but eventually you’ll heal and begin the search again. If you’ve been married a long time, you might find out that things have changed a lot in the dating world since before your marriage. Is dinner too forward? Is a noisy bar an appropriate choice or an awful one? Like everything else, it will get a lot easier as time goes on.
Even the easier divorces aren’t easy. There will be highs and lows, but eventually it does get better. Marriages never work out how we envisioned and sometimes they don’t work out at all. In the case of the latter, the best thing to focus on is your own happiness and the freedom you’ll have when you’re ready to live your life again.