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How to Cope With a Divorce

a man and woman standing with a black background are getting through a divorce

 

Everyone’s heard the “half of all marriages end in divorce” statistic. And like most things in life, the impact of this statistic is negligible until it happens to you.

Divorce is devastating, even under the best of circumstances. The sadness, stress, and emotions can be overwhelming at times. If you’re going through a painful divorce and it feels like you’re just not coping well, take heart — you can heal. We have some tips on how to cope with divorce as a man or a woman that should make today just a little bit better than yesterday.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

orange scissors cutting a marriage certificate refers to coping with divorce

To put it bluntly: It’s normal to be a mess. Divorce isn’t just the dissolution of a union; it’s saying goodbye to our dream of attaining our very own happily ever after. That feels terrible.

In fact, divorce requires a grieving process similar to what we go through when a loved one dies. It’s completely appropriate to feel a wide range of emotions — anger, sadness, fear, frustration, confusion — and there doesn’t need to be any rhyme or reason as to why you feel what at any given time.

The negative feelings will lessen over time, but in the meantime, give yourself permission to feel. Divorce is messy, but sometimes acknowledging that fact inherently makes it just a tiny bit easier. 

Go Easy on Yourself

You will likely be less productive than you normally are. That’s OK. You probably won’t feel like doing much of anything; that’s OK too. You don’t need to be superwoman. Treat yourself as you would treat your own sick best friend.

Granted, you can’t drop out of life completely, but it’s perfectly acceptable for your productivity and social life to take a downward turn while you go through a divorce. As long as you don’t stay there for months and months, this is to be expected.

Seek Support

This tip is vital: Lean on others for support. Talk, cry, express yourself — just don’t keep it bottled up inside. Allow your friends and family to be there for you. 

Sometimes we need more support than an understanding friend can give us. In these cases:

  • Look into divorce support groups. There are Facebook groups and other online forums as well as in-person meetups and church-based groups that will help you on how to cope with separation from your husband or wife. Start with a simple Google search to see what’s available and sounds good to you.
  • Seek professional counseling. If the pain of your divorce is too much or if you are having difficulty carrying out normal day-to-day activities, it may be time to seek divorce counseling. You could do therapy to help improve your life.

Care for Your Body and Mind

Stress can cause myriad health problems, including headaches, insomnia, exhaustion, overeating/weight gain, digestive problems and reduced immune function. In addition, stress can cause a host of ill emotional effects, including anxiety, depression, inability to focus, lack of motivation, irritability, and anger. No fun at all.

It’s essential you take care of your mind, body, and spirit during this time. Doing so will minimize the effects of stress, helping you to recover and move on. Now more than ever is the time to:

  • Eat well
  • Get regular exercise
  • Keep a regular sleeping schedule
  • Spend time in nature
  • Nurture your friendships
  • Make time to relax and do things you enjoy
  • Tend to your spirit through prayer/meditation (or whatever that means to you)

Avoid Power Struggles & Arguments with Your Ex

woman angry with her partner is on a restaurant and is dealing with divorce

One of the most important life lessons that will help you get through this difficult time is this: You can’t change other people. You can only change yourself and how you react to them.

Stop trying to force your ex to see it your way, be sorry for something, apologize, etc. Don’t get involved in power struggles that are only about being “right.” Refuse to participate in any manipulative or malevolent behavior. In the end, you’ll be happier for it.

Reconnect with Your Prenuptial Hobbies

Did you use to love to restore old furniture? Brew your own beer? Hike? Blog? Now is the time to resurrect any interests and activities you may have let slip when you became part of a couple. Or, explore new ones.

Set Time Aside for Positive Thinking

This is a simple yet powerful tool for overcoming any challenge, especially when going through a divorce. Most of us know that positive thinking is — well, positive —  but we don’t make a conscious, concerted effort to do it.

Change that. Block off just five minutes a day and devote them to manifesting good things in your life. Write them down in an “I deserve a joyful life” journal. Learn about the power of positive affirmations, and then do them.

Divorce is one of the toughest things a person can go through but you will get through it and be OK. Take time to grieve the loss, stick close to your loved ones and be good to yourself.

Life After Divorce

Coping with divorce can be difficult, but in every challenge, there is always a positive aspect to it. Amidst a painful separation, positive things can happen after going through a divorce, it is a matter of how you can identify and embrace these great things.

Great Things That Can Happen After Dealing With Divorce

1. It gives you a second chance at life and more opportunity to do the things you always wanted to do.
2. You can find more peace as opposed to when you were a part of a married couple.
3. It is much easier for you to handle challenging situations and you become fearless.
4. You feel more independent and confident in yourself.
5. You will discover who your real friends are who have supported you through the tough time.
6. You will be happier compared to when you were still married, you will no longer fight change and life starts to get easier.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional counselor if you feel overwhelmed or that you can’t go on. ThriveTalk provides online therapy and can help you get through this difficult time. You’re worth it!