Getting Over a Divorce

Feb 2 / Dr. Kevin Skinner

A Journey to Healing and Rediscovery

Divorce is more than the dissolution of a marriage; it's an emotional upheaval that can shake the very foundations of your life. If you are going through a divorce or have just finalized one, you might feel an array of intense emotions ranging from relief to deep sadness. This blog post is dedicated to you—divorcees striving to get over a divorce and longing for a sense of normalcy and happiness in your lives again.

Here are a few things you can do to help you get over your divorce.

#1: Cope with the Emotional Aftermath

One way to express your feelings is through writing in a journal. Click here to watch a video about The Power of Expressive Writing.The end of a marriage signifies the close of a significant chapter in your life. It's natural to grieve not just for the relationship lost but also for the dreams and plans that you had built around it.

Here are some strategies to help you cope with difficult emotions:

  • Allow yourself to grieve: Recognize that mourning the end of your marriage is a necessary process. Grieving is a normal process of letting go. If you are uncomfortable feeling your emotions, consider the strategies below to help you in your grieving process.
  • Express your feelings: You can quickly access your feelings by writing in a journal. Researchers have discovered that expressive writing can be an effective way to give a voice to your emotions. Click on the link to watch a video about The Power of Expressive Writing.
  • Stay active: Physical activity can work wonders for your mood and mental health. One way to combat difficult emotions is through creating your own version of stress, which is exercise.
  • Avoid making quick decisions: Give yourself the time you need to heal properly before making important decisions. Often the first year after divorce, it is wise to step back and analyze your goals, identify new post-divorce aspirations, and heal wounds from your divorce.
  • #2: Rebuild Your Self-Worth and Confidence

    It is common to lose a sense of self after a difficult and painful divorce. Many people begin questioning their worth and lose confidence.  Here are three things you can do to rebuild your self-worth and confidence:

    • Set personal goals: Use this time to focus on yourself and set goals that are important to you.
  • Celebrate small victories: Rebuilding confidence is a process – celebrate small progresses.
  • Be kind to yourself: Identify specific ideas to help you with self-care. Also develop your self-compassion.

  • #3: Address Unresolved Negative Self-Beliefs

    Divorce can leave you doubting yourself and the choices you made. To rebuild your self-worth and confidence:

    • Understand your negative self-talk: Often we allow negative thoughts to play through our mind without pausing to assess whether what we are thinking is true or right. One way to change your thoughts is to slow down and listen to your thinking patterns.
  • Not all thoughts are true or accurate: Just because we have a thoughts doesn’t mean it is right. Stop and evaluate your thoughts, you may quickly realize how often you are accepting negative thoughts. Instead of allowing such thoughts to run through your mind, you can challenge them by thinking about times when you did something right (e.g., old thought - I am unlovable | new thought - I found love once, I can find a person who will love me for who I am.
  • Talk with a trauma therapist: A trauma specialist will understand how to help you address the post-traumatic stress symptoms you may be experiencing. If you would like to learn about the PTSD symptoms you can watch the video “Can Divorce Trigger PTSD Symptoms?”. You can also read an article that I wrote related to trauma and divorce at: Divorced Girl Smiling. 
  • #4: Create Your New Life Post-Divorce

    Starting over after a divorce can seem daunting, but it's also a chance to re-invent your life.

    • Discover new hobbies: Explore activities or hobbies that you've always been interested in.
  • Expand your social circle: Researchers have found that having a team to support you may be one of the best things you can do as you adjust to life after divorce. You might consider joining a club, attending a support group, or find an online community to meet new people.
  • Establish deep friendships: Enjoy making decisions that are entirely yours, free of compromise.
  • #5: Utilize Professional Help and Support Groups

    You don't have to go through this alone. Seeking professional help or joining support groups can bring numerous benefits, such as:

    • Shared experiences: Connect with others who understand what you're going through.
  • Professional guidance: Therapists can provide strategies to handle your emotions and plan for your future.
  • A sense of community: Feeling part of a community can alleviate the sense of isolation that often comes with divorce.
  • #6: Engage in Self-Reflection and Personal Growth

    View your divorce as an opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth.

    • Reflect on past patterns: Understand what went wrong and how you can make better choices in the future. This process is not easy since you will be exploring your behaviors and areas in which you can improve.
  • Learn new skills: Take a class, learn about healthy relationship, or do anything else that boosts your personal growth.
  • Focus on the future: Reflect on what you want from your life moving forward, and start taking steps in that direction.
  • #7: Tips for Co-Parenting Amicably

    If you have children, maintaining a cooperative co-parenting relationship is crucial.

    • Keep communication open: Aim for clear and respectful communication about your children's needs.
  • Put kids first: This is critical! Make decisions based on what's best for your children, not your feelings towards your ex-spouse.
  • Establish routines: Consistent routines can provide stability and comfort for your children during this transition. Children need to know the new patterns such as visitation, holidays, birthdays, and other events so that they know how to mental prepare. 
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