How To Make Moving On From Divorce Easier Or You & Your Family
Updated February 27, 2020
Reviewer Karen Devlin, LPC
Moving on from divorce is rarely an easy thing to go through. When you add children and other family members to the mix, it can become even more taxing. Many things must be decided on. The logistics surrounding living situations, visitation schedules, and financial matters can be a massive headache for anyone. This is not to mention the stress that goes into figuring out how the relationship will evolve now that it is officially legally over.
When kids are involved, unfortunately, a clean break from the relationship is not possible. This presents its own challenges. You have a responsibility as a parent to be sure that your kids are protected from the nastiness as best as possible. So, what can you do to make moving on from divorce easier for you and your family? There are a few things you can implement to make this happen.
Focus on the Good
If you are thinking, "What good can come from divorce?" keep reading. Any situation, even the most painful ones, can help us grow as a person. Sit with a pen and paper and write down all of the things you still have that you are thankful for, focusing especially on those things that you didn't have before the divorce. This can but doesn't have to be material things. It could be something like "I get to travel with my girlfriends" or "I'm free to spend more time painting."
If you are still dealing with pain from your divorce, don't let it go to waste. Pain is energy, and although it doesn't always feel pleasant, there are ways we can use it constructively. Write poetry, volunteer at an animal shelter, tutor a struggling student, take more naps, or sip Pina Coladas at the beach with your close friends. Do what feels good to you! In moderation, of course.
As simple as it sounds, shifting your mindset from 'all that I have lost' to 'all that I have gained' will help make moving on from divorce much easier.
Set Clear Boundaries
Setting clear boundaries with your ex will make moving on from divorce more comfortable for everyone.
Doing this ensures that each of you knows expected of you at this point in your relationship. The expectations following a divorce can get muddy, so make sure you have this conversation as soon as possible once your divorce is finalized. Better yet, use the time you have while you are in legal proceedings to get a head start on this solution.
The better you know what to expect from each other, the easier the transition will be. If you let the terms of your life after divorce become an experiment of trial and error, it will leave you feeling frustrated and defeated. You need to be sure that your batteries are fully charged so that you can use that energy to focus on the things that deserve your attention.
The last thing you want to do is neglect the important things in favor of fighting with your ex. The relationship is over now and for a reason. Don't waste your time crossing into uncharted territory, and make sure your ex understands that you expect them to do the same. It's all about transparency and dedication at this point, and a little goes a long way when it comes to these.
Become a Master Negotiator
You can't always get what you want, but there is rarely ever a time when a compromise can't be reached. No matter what the situation, your negotiation skills will come in handy when you are moving on from divorce.
It is common knowledge that getting over a divorce is tricky territory. Each of you may have your own reasons for ending the relationship. Alternatively, you may be in a situation where only one party was in favor of the split. You might have had trouble agreeing in the past, which is likely to only get worse after divorce.
The best thing you can do is try to find common ground. Now that the relationship is over, you have a chance at a more harmonious relationship. If you find yourself in a disagreement with your ex, do some brainstorming. What can you do to make the situation palatable for everyone? It won't always be easy to come to a consensus, but if you hope to make progress getting over divorce, it is imperative to do so.
You have to bend a little at times to keep everyone happy. No matter how difficult that will be to do, you must do it. Keep in mind the future that you are making for yourself and your family. The last thing you want to do is compromise the happiness and well-being in your family unit over a minor disagreement. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep moving forward. You will find peace at the finish line!
Bury the Hatchet
You didn't divorce your spouse because of minor inconveniences. Most likely, there was a long list of things that contributed to this decision. Many people find it difficult to move on, even after the deed is done. The best thing you can do is start over after a divorce.
The most important thing you can do to protect your family is simple: forgive. Holding grudges or hate in your heart for your ex is only impeding you from living your best life. Likely, it is also hurting your children. The emotional impact that results from parents that can't get along can last a lifetime.
Sometimes, your ex may not be worthy of your forgiveness. Depending on the severity of their actions that lead up to this point, it might seem downright impossible to forgive. The fact is, though, to get where you're going, you must let go of the past. Almost any future endeavor you have could be seriously impacted by the things you allow yourself to remain angry about.
Living your life in a peaceful manner where you hold no ill will is the best way to go. You will be able to focus positive energy toward all your relationships. This will not only enable you to put positivity in your world and the people around you; it will also have positive effects on your outlook and your emotions. When you let go of the negativity, there is much more room for happiness and joy inside.
When you have issues, the best way to fix them is to talk about them. Setting aside time frequently to touch base and communicate will make the transition much easier for everyone.
When it comes to your ex, don't build up your emotions until you explode. Address disagreements and negative feelings the moment they come up. This will give everyone a chance to take inventory and do what needs to be done to adjust. Encourage your ex to do the same.
Not talking about your problems never solves them. Unsolved problems start small but often snowball into something much worse when allowed to fester. On the part of your children, listen to understand and not to respond. Encourage them to share their feelings and to reach out for help when needed. Your primary job through this process is to make them feel secure and supported. Each child will have their own unique experience of the split and will need different things from each of you.
You won't always handle everything correctly, but when you apply your greatest effort, the best results will be manifested.
Communication is one of the best tools you can use in moving on after divorce. Family units that talk to one another are stronger and more resilient than their counterparts. Make sure your family is part of that group.
Keep it Civil
No matter how much you hate your ex, keep it civil. If you still arguing, you are wasting your time and your energy. The kids see more than you probably realize, as well.
For many couples, this part takes time. Immediately following a divorce, a lot of people carry around a great amount of resentment or hate for their former spouse. This is manifested in arguing or being generally unpleasant to one another. This is a toxic trait, though, and should be avoided whenever possible.
When you choose to be civil with one another, you are setting an example for your children. We have all been in situations where we don't like a person, but we choose to be respectful regardless. It could be an older family member or supervisor at work. Most of us have the experience to apply to a divorce but choose not to in favor of expressing our feelings. When you decide to remain civil, you are showing your children that you can have a neutral relationship with even the most hated of people.
This will allow them to foster better relationships as they get older and avoid trouble in their futures. If they ever come to a point where it is time to be civil with a partner, they will have the tools they need to do so. You are raising your child to be a well-functioning, successful adult. The best way you can do this is by setting a good example.
Deal with Your Own Brokenness
You might be tempted to skip this section if you think that you have already made it to the acceptance stage of grief. However, it is important to remember that what is held in our conscious minds and subconscious minds can be very different. If you are finding the tips above hard to master, it may because of toxic residual left behind by the divorce.
Here are some ways to recover so that you can be the best parent for your children while also living authentically.
- Get a counselor (this will be discussed in detail below). Divorce is such muddy, murky territory that even most therapists seek a therapist when going through a divorce! Having someone to support you is such a big part of moving on from a divorce.
- Get in touch with your emotions. Avoid the temptation to soldier on through the pain. You may have to be civil and deal with situations that you don't like in an adult manner, but this doesn't mean you have to deny yourself the right to feel hurt, frustrated, etc. Just taking the time to feel the sensations happening in your body when you are upset can help with recovery.
- Focus on yourself. This is a hard one, especially for mamas. If your whole life was wrapped up in being a mother and wife, it might be hard to imagine being anything else. Understandably, you may jump right into doing for others. Although it is reasonable to want to shield others, especially our children from pain, this doesn't necessarily make moving on from divorce easier for you or your family.
In fact, it might slow the healing process for both parties. Instead, take some time to figure out who you want to be. This is a time to reinvent yourself. Life can indeed be what you want it to be.
Enlist Some Professional Help
The ins and outs of moving on from divorce can be overwhelming at times. Some couples struggle to maintain the right relationship despite their best efforts.
If this sounds like you, you could benefit from the help of a licensed counselor or therapist. He or she can answer any questions like "How long does it take to get over a divorce?" A professional can also help you navigate and can help teach you how to get through a divorce. The counselors and therapists at ReGain are accredited and have thousands of hours of experience helping families navigate divorce.
The online platform offers the convenience of being available at anytime, anywhere there is an internet connection. With a professional in your corner, you can ensure that you are making the right decisions for your family. Get started today!