My Divorce is Final: What Do I Do Now?
Posted by: Eliza Van Orman
Your divorce has been finalized. It may have been a long, emotionally draining process. Now that it’s over you may not be sure what to do with your time and this new chapter of your life. One moment you may feel relief or excitement while at other times feelings of fear and resentment may overwhelm you.
It’s challenging to face so much uncertainty and to let go of past hopes and dreams. Adjusting isn’t easy; no matter how thorough the planning, one can never be fully prepared for life after divorce. In fact, divorce can often be more challenging than experiencing the death of a loved one. Studies have shown most people even work through the same grief cycle as they grieve over their marriage. Although it’s challenging and will take time, healing and having a bright, successful future is possible.
Here are a few suggestions on how to move forward:
Just because your divorce is over doesn’t mean that the hurt, anger, and feelings of loss immediately go away. Allow yourself to feel a variety of emotions including good and bad.
Remember, your children are not the right people to vent to about the negative feelings you have towards your ex, but it’s necessary to have an outlet. This is vital to the recovery process. Find a support group and record your thoughts in a journal. These can be a beneficial way to get out your grievances in a healthy manner.
Journaling is a great way to track your progress and how far you have come on the journey to healing. Another therapeutic activity you can take part in with your journal is referred to as “a burning.” You take the entries that hold feelings or memories that are weighing you down and burn them as a symbolic representation of letting go and moving forward.
Take responsibility for your faults but understand that you are not fully to blame for your unsuccessful marriage. Realize you did the best you could with the knowledge and experience you had at the time. Think about qualities you possess that are positive and what you did right in the relationship. Acknowledge what you have learned from this experience and how you will let it positively affect your future. This will enable you to accept your past and forgive yourself.
It’s beneficial to not only think this, but to write it down and say it out loud: tell someone you trust what you are forgiving yourself for. This will help you stay accountable if you begin to slip back into guilt traps. Don’t allow your past to haunt you. When you find yourself creeping into negativity find a happy thought, memory, or song that encourages you to look forward and pull you out of the darkness and back into the light. Try to focus on the future and the potential it holds.
A lot of your time was most likely spent prepping for the divorce but now that it’s over, set aside time for yourself.
Plan an event that you are looking forward to or go on a trip whether big or small. Your finances might be tight due to your divorce, but find something exciting and fun within your budget such as getting lunch with a friend, planting a garden, joining a local gym, getting a massage, or going for a hike. You may discover a new hobby you’ve been missing out on. Taking time for yourself can help declutter your mind and relieve anxiety.
Somewhere in the divorce you may have lost yourself and no longer know what you enjoy. Now is your opportunity to mold yourself into the person you want to be and to recreate your life. Here is your opportunity to try something new; maybe an activity your ex didn’t approve.
Many cities have meet-up groups where individuals can sign up online for a variety of activities within their county and receive notifications when events are taking place. These support groups provide an opportunity to make friends who know nothing about your past. Getting involved in the community is a great distraction that provides you with a productive outlet.
Another benefit to getting involved is that many of these organizations are centered on volunteering. Serving others often shines a new light on our current situations and helps our burdens feel lighter.
If you or someone you know feels trapped in a miserable marriage and are considering divorce, our family law attorneys at Burton Law can help. They have the experience necessary to assist you and provide solutions to your unique situation. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.