Divorce is tough, and life after divorce may seem daunting when you’re in the thick of it. Here are three steps that will allow you to recover, learn and grow from your experience.
1. Give yourself time to heal
Nobody expects someone who’s just had heart surgery to be back to work the next week. Your heart, too, has been injured and it needs time to recover. Divorce is an emotionally and mentally draining process. Use this initial time–weeks, months, whatever seems right to you–to react to what has happened. Explore your emotions and let them flow through and away from you. This time is about you, not your ex-spouse. Avoid contacting him or her to talk about what went wrong. Instead, work on building up your personal strength for life after divorce.
You may want to turn to your place of worship or a religious counselor for support. And non-religious practice such as meditation can be a great help in finding calm clarity and strength in this difficult time. Towards the end of the healing period the emotional turmoil will abate and you will be ready to accept and acknowledge what has happened.
2. Reflect and learn
Once you come through the worst it’s time to start your new life after divorce. While you may have sought solitude and quiet during your healing process, now is the time to re-engage with the world. This step is important to avoid depression.
Hopefully you now have more clarity and objectivity on what went wrong in your relationship. If you want to move on and have healthy future relationships, you will need to address your role in the failure of the previous one. Otherwise you are just going to experience the same problems with another partner down the road.
Some people benefit from talking to an outside party such as a counselor, therapist or priest. Others work better by themselves. The key is to not focus on what your spouse did wrong. Of course, they played their own part in the divorce. But this is about you. You want to get on with your life, so you need to figure out what you did wrong and need to change. Instead of focusing on specific mistakes, look for patterns and habits in the way you act and react to things. Making a list can be helpful.
3. Grow and move on
Going through this process will give you incredible personal insight. Now that you’ve pinpointed the no-so-great parts, it’s time to fix them. Do you have a short temper? Do you tend to avoid conflict all together? Are you negative or controlling? Skills-based learning (the concept which Power of Two is based on) will help you slowly and surely change negative habits and learn new ways of communicating and interacting with your partner.
You may also want to try changing non-relationship habits for life after divorce. In times of stress we tend to only cling harder to old patterns–patterns that may be holding you back. Try taking a public speaking course to dispel shyness. Go back to school for an advanced degree or a career change. Cut your hair. Take up bike riding. New activities will help you make new friends, build confidence, and even–perhaps–find a new romantic partner.