4 Important Things To Remember When Moving On After Divorce
By: Nicole Beasley
Updated April 09, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH
Court or mediation is over, papers are signed, and you have taken off your wedding ring. The divorce is final. But where do you go from there? After divorce, moving on after divorce is not an easy thing to do, even if you are the one that initiated the divorce. But it can be a positive experience that you can grow from. If you are moving on after a divorce, there are a few important things that you should remember.
Getting Over Divorce
Getting over a divorce is not easy, and it will not happen overnight. Getting over a divorce is a process that you must go through. It is a process of rediscovery, a process of growth, and a process of transition. You will go through grief, sadness, and possibly even depression. But if you follow this four-step plan for getting over a divorce, it will be a much easier process.
Let It Go
The first thing you will need to do to get over a divorce is to let it go. Let go of your anger and resentment. Let go of your ex, and accept that they are no longer in your life. Let go of those dreams you originally had for the future of growing old with your spouse. Let go of everything that does not serve your happiness or the happiness of your children, if you have any.
Cut Off Communications
To get over your ex and let go of the past, it is frequently best to cut off all communications with your ex. Do not allow yourself to be sucked into lengthy conversations or arguments about marriage and divorce. If you have children with your spouse, you will have to communicate with them for the children's sake. However, you can insist that all conversations revolve around the children, and nothing else will be discussed.
Allow Yourself Time to Grieve
Grieving is a process, and it is one that you must go through when moving on after divorce. Grief is something that you will feel after divorce because you have lost your life partner. It is similar to the grief that you go through when someone you love passes from this world. There are five steps to grief-denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Each step of the grieving process will be different for everyone.
As you go through the grieving process and move on after a divorce, you should do something to distract yourself. Start a new hobby, or pick up a hobby that you used to enjoy but let go of in the course of your married life. Even if it is just diving into a good book series or binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix, it is important to distract yourself so that you aren't always thinking about your divorce and failed marriage.
How Long Does It Take to Get Over Divorce
The amount of time it takes to get over a divorce varies by the individual and the circumstances surrounding the breakup and divorce. As a general rule, psychologists agree that it takes about one year for every five to seven years of marriage to get over a divorce. However, if you initiated the divorce or it was mutual, that time might be shortened. There are other factors as well that affect this. The important thing to remember is that this process of moving on after divorce is unique to everyone, and you need to let yourself experience it in a way that is right for you.
How to Get Through a Divorce
Getting through a divorce is made much easier when you think about your future instead of dwelling on the past. Getting through a divorce should involve taking a present-centered outlook on life, with a forward-looking view, adapting to your changed circumstances, and reinventing yourself and your life as a single person. Here are some ways to reinvent yourself and your life to have an identity as an individual instead of as the couple you have been for years.
Learn from Experiences
It is okay to think about your marriage and divorce constructively as you get through a divorce. In fact, it is very healthy and can help you in future relationships. By analyzing your marriage and divorce, and what led to the end of the marriage, you will recognize patterns from both yourself and your spouse. It will help you prevent making the same mistakes in a future relationship. If the marriage really ended because of your ex, looking back on your marriage can help you set boundaries and know what you want out of your next relationship.
The more you fight against change, the harder it will be to get through a divorce. Accept the changes that are occurring in your life. Embrace the change, and go with the flow. Allow things to happen in their own time. Let go of the past and look to the future, with a primary focus on the present and how you can embrace this time of change to help you grow for the better.
Reinvent Your Life
For your entire marriage, you and your spouse were like one entity. You were a partnership. You probably identified yourself as a spouse, homemaker, or breadwinner, a parent, but not an individual. Now that your marriage is over, it is time to reinvent your life and arrange it to your liking. If you married young, you probably don't even really know who you are as a person. This is a time and process of self-discovery that is very important.
Moving On From Divorce
Reinventing yourself and your life is one of the key points to moving on after divorce. You have to stop thinking of yourself regarding who you are to your spouse, children, friends, and family and discover who you truly are. Here are some additional ways that you can work on reinventing yourself and your life.
Learn to Like Yourself
You may have some guilt and resentment built up from your marriage or from going through the divorce. It is easy to believe what your ex will tell you, leading to low self-esteem and self-confidence loss. Learning to like yourself again is important. Of course, before you can like yourself, you have to know who you are. As you go through self-discovery, take the time each day to think about the qualities you like.
Rediscover Who You Used to Be
You had an individual identity before your marriage. Do you remember what that identity was like? What did you change about yourself during the course of your marriage? While you are older now than you were before your marriage, many aspects of who you were before marriage are the foundations of who you really are. While you may not be the same person you were before your marriage, rediscovering that past identity is the first step in reinventing your new identity as a divorcee.
Be Single for a Time
Don't jump into dating right after the divorce. It is okay to be single for a time. Embrace being alone and focus your energies on yourself and your immediate family. When you do start dating again, think of it as transitional dating. Date outside your comfort zone and spend time with people that you wouldn't normally talk to. This gives you the ability to date and has fun without the risk of jumping into another serious relationship.
Things to Remember Moving on From Divorce
Besides knowing how to get through a divorce, you must remember several things while moving on after a divorce. Remembering these things and acting on them will help you get over your divorce and move on much more quickly and easily.
#1-Grief and Sadness are Normal
Remember that grief and sadness are a normal part of getting over a divorce and moving on. You cannot truly move on until you process all of your emotions and allow them to run their course. Even if you wanted the divorce, you have ended something that you probably never intended to end. This is going to cause a fair amount of intense emotion on your part. Allow yourself to feel these things, embrace them, and then let them go when they no longer serve you.
#2-This is a Learning Experience
Use your failed marriage and divorce as a learning experience. Consider the things that went wrong in your marriage. What mistakes did you make that you want to avoid in future relationships? What mistakes did your spouse make, or what qualities did your spouse have that you want to avoid in future partners? Examining these things and taking note of them can help you move forward, improving your relationships in the future.
#3-You are Not Alone
Divorce is actually very common. About 40 to 50 percent of marriages in America end in divorce. You are definitely not alone as you go through this process. If you feel alone, disconnected, or as if no one understands what you are going through, it can help find an emotional support group for divorcees. You can also talk to a therapist or counselor if you lack a support network.
#4-You Will Be Okay
It may not seem like it right after your divorce, but you will be okay. You will adjust to this transition and your new roles in life. You will move on and eventually have a healthy, normal relationship that could last longer than your previous marriage. Having faith that everything will work out is important to your wellbeing and emotional outlook.
If you feel as though you are unable to move on after divorce on your own or feel that the process is taking longer than it should, it can help get outside professional help in coping with your divorce and help you move forward. A therapist or counselor can go a long way toward helping you achieve this.
If you don't have the time or resources for in-person counseling or therapy, there are additional options to get help. Online counseling platforms such as ReGain are great for allowing you convenient access to a counselor or therapist. ReGain counselors and therapists specialize in relationships and divorce. Contact them today to get started.
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