On average, 1 Million Americans each year manage to survive the divorce process, and yet these numbers are somehow not particularly reassuring to those going through a divorce who feel like they are free falling into the bottomless pit of hell. Am I being overly melodramatic? Not even close for those of us that have survived the free fall while seeing the security of a life partner, our finances, our identity, our social life, and even our health all slip away.
When you are going through a divorce, you will undoubtedly feel out of control at times, perhaps even helpless at moments, and with each new insult that hits you it will become abundantly clear why so many experience a period of anxiety or depression while going through this miserable situation. In your darkest moments in fact, you may even ask yourself whether it would be better to drink poison or administer it. Hopefully, that is when you wake up, and realize it is time to take back control of your life and climb out of the abyss.
Here are some tips on how you do that:
1. Get Control of Your Finances– make sure you have a sufficient income to meet your own expenses without relying on someone else. Balance your own budget so you do not have to borrow from others or beg your ex for money.
2. Create a Stable Home– Set up your own daily routine that brings you comfort and joy. Get rid of clutter, decorate your own way, and establish a place you are proud to call your own.
3. Rebuild Your Own Life– Connect with your co-workers and neighbors, and try to make new single friends. Set new goals for yourself– take a class, travel, join a gym and rediscover parts of yourself that fell by the wayside during your marriage.
4. Forgive Yourself– Hindsight is 20/20, but sadly none of us have figured out a way to go back in time. If you ignored red flags, let things go too far, said or did things you should not have, compromised too much or not enough, okay let it go. Hopefully, you learned some valuable life lessons that you can not only apply in future relationships but that may help you help others you meet going through a similar experience.
The divorce abyss does teach us two wonderful life lessons: (1) the importance of being humble and (2) the need to express gratitude on a daily basis. You realize in a divorce that you cannot control everything and that you should never take anything for granted. Once you embrace these two key lessons, you should be just fine.
Coming to terms with all of this does take time, so be patient. It took me almost a decade to get over my divorce. Only with a lot of help from others did I learn to manage my own finances, create a stable home for my son, build a life for myself that I am proud of, and forgive myself for making such a terrible choice picking my extreme opposite as a life partner.
Eventually, most of us not only come to peace with our past but also find the courage to love again and embark in a new chapter of life. Over two-thirds of divorced individuals will remarry, and together with their new life partners they not only heal past wounds, but also restore each other’s faith in the promise of a happily-ever-after life.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.