7 Tips On How To Start Over After A Divorce

By: Michael Puskar

Updated May 12, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH

Finding a way to move on after a divorce is no easy task for most people. After all, you have probably spent years with that person, and the memories can make it an arduous process to overcome. Nonetheless, it is possible, and this article will show you divorce advice for women and men that can help you cope, move on, and possibly get back to searching for someone new.

  1. Accept Your Feelings

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First and foremost, it is important to understand that your feelings are completely normal. [1] Divorce grief can vary from person-to-person, and everyone processes things differently, which is something to be mindful of when trying to start over.

You might still be in shock and disbelief that you got divorced; you may also feel grief, anger, and even hatred towards your former spouse. These are natural emotions after a devastating event, but they will decrease over time, especially with some assistance.

While these are typical responses following a divorce, you will still need to learn how to cope and keep them under control to make progress. If you are struggling to do this on your own, a therapist can help teach you the necessary coping skills and make you feel less apprehensive about the future.

  1. Open Up & Find Support From Others

In addition to therapy, it is wise to reach out to your friends and family during your time of need. These are the people who are closest to you and can give you reassurance and comfort during this difficult time.

You might feel depressed right now, but these individuals can also try to help take your mind off things and look at the positive aspects of life. It is even possible that they have also gone through a divorce and can give you some guidance.

If you don't have too many friends and family members to count on, you can always try finding a support group for people who are also trying to heal from their divorces. Unfortunately, men are less likely to seek support from others, despite having the same emotional needs as women. You're not alone, and going through a divorce is nothing to be ashamed of, but you will need to be willing to connect with others. [2]

  1. Enjoy Some Alone Time

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In contrast to spending time with others following a divorce, finding some time for yourself can also be valuable. Although you can try to wind down and relax, it is also important to try to be productive with your time to yourself; do your best not to get wrapped up in your thoughts regarding your ex-husband or wife.

Dedicate this time to you, and try hobbies and other activities that interest you. Perhaps there were things that you could not do while you were married, like taking up painting or a musical instrument or organizing social events on the weekends. Some people might even use this time to travel somewhere and reflect.

It is normal to feel like you are less-functional after a divorce, and taking a break is understandable. You might find it difficult to get out of bed and go to work, and your performance might suffer, but your mental health matters, and finding some time to heal and recuperate will be necessary. [1]

  1. Take Care Of Yourself

Getting through a divorce can feel burdensome, and as tempting as it might be to light up a cigarette or drink alcohol to cope with your feelings, this is one of the worst strategies in the long term. Studies show that smoking, alcohol dependency, and other forms of substance abuse are all correlated with divorces, and the odds of them surfacing after a divorce is incredibly high. [3]

Instead, use healthy and productive ways to deal with stress. For example, you can start exercising regularly and manage what you eat better. If you physically take care of yourself, you are setting yourself up to be in a better place mentally.

Additionally, taking care of yourself can also mean that you should try not to make any sudden and drastic decisions. Try to keep a stable routine as much as possible, because this will allow you to relax more. However, you can make smaller changes that can better yourself, like the lifestyle changes mentioned before, or even trying out new clothing or hairstyle. [1]

  1. Avoid Arguing With Your Ex

People who have undergone a divorce do not always have the luxury of staying away from their ex-husband or wife entirely. For example, you may have had kids or have to sort out how assets are divided after the divorce.

Having children practically makes it impossible to avoid each other, as there will be many situations where you will need to schedule time with them unless one of them gained full custody. Divorces are also hard for kids as well, so it is ideal for both the mother and father to try to be on their best behavior in front of them to minimize the damage. Never put them into conflict or make the kids pick sides. [2]

While you might have negative feelings towards another, arguing and struggling for power with your ex is not productive. Instead, if it seems like a fight is brewing, try to calmly suggest discussing the issues at another time when everyone is level-headed. [1]

  1. Learn How To Love Yourself

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Before attempting to try starting over after a divorce, you must learn how to appreciate yourself before you try finding someone else through dating again. To be successful here, you will need to improve your sense of confidence and self-worth because people have doubts about themselves more often than not.

You might blame yourself for the separation, and you may also begin to feel like you are not good enough. After all, in your mind, you may be thinking, "if he/she left me, why would anyone else want me?" The truth is, there is nothing wrong with you, but you will need to work on these negative feelings.

These are all thoughts that can be fixed with the help of a therapist. With guidance, you can shape them into positive ones that uplift your self-esteem, and eventually, you will feel ready to try meeting someone new.

  1. Meet New People (When You're Ready To)

In addition to the first tip in this list, this one will most likely be one of the hardest. After all, you've dedicated time, energy, and emotions to another person already, and it did not work out. You might have hesitation about meeting someone new because of your past experiences, and it is normal to feel that way, but one of the best ways of moving on from a divorce is to put yourself out there again.

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This step might take a lot of time to get to, and most likely, you will need to practice the other tips in this list to make yourself feel comfortable in your skin again and start dating. This means that you may have to reinvent yourself. Take your time and be patient with this process; there is no need to rush into anything. However, this is still a viable strategy for some people.

After a divorce, some people willingly choose to stay single as well, and that's okay too! No one is obligated to date. You can also try to find new friends that you can spend time with and develop new memories. Nonetheless, finding someone new allows you to invest yourself in new relationships and stop dwelling on your ex.

Conclusion

Many people ask, "how long does it take to get over a divorce?" but realistically, there is no concrete number, and it depends on the individual. The most important thing is that you go at your own pace and not worry about the stages of grief divorce can bring.

Licensed counselors and therapists who are trained in helping others through family, marriage, and relationship issues, in general, can assist with the healing process after going through a divorce. Regain's online services are always available to you and are a convenient and affordable way to overcome a separation in your marriage.

Negative emotions surrounding your divorce and your ex do not have to rule your life, and hopefully, these tips can help you try to start over. These tips do not need to be divorce advice for men or women separately, and some of the most effective suggestions for just about any topic can be applied to anyone. You don't need to go through things alone, and support is always available from ReGain.

References

  1. Mental Health America. (2013, November 19). Coping With Separation And Divorce. Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/separation-and-divorce
  2. Heubeck, E. (2008). Life After Divorce: 3 Survival Strategies. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/life-after-divorce-3-survival-strategies
  3. Cranford, J. A. (2014). DSM-IV Alcohol Dependence and Marital Dissolution: Evidence From the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 75(3), 520-529. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2014.75.520

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