If you have recently gone through a divorce, or you are still going through the process, moving on may sound like a daunting idea. You have spent so much of your life living with a person, doing things a certain way and existing within that relationship. There is no way to end that relationship without experiencing major changes in your life, and changes are always scary. However, while this may be the end of one chapter, it is just the beginning of a new, bright future.
Although it can be difficult, the first step in moving on is to realize that this is a new era in your life. Once the divorce is final, you can stop thinking of this as the end of something, and look forward to the start of something new. The next chapter of your life can be whatever you want it to be, as you are now an independent person with a new beginning.
But if you are unsure of how to start your new life– as every new divorcee always is– this guide is designed to help you find a way to move on. While every person is different, the following strategies can be universally helpful to anyone who is looking to get on with his or her life.
For years, you have existed within this singular relationship, and your identity has been tied up in it. In fact, your identity may have come to be defined by the relationship, and the first part of moving on is reconnecting with yourself. You will want to remember the person you were before the marriage and then start to consider who you want to be after it. A few ways to do this include:
- Make a list of your likes and dislikes, focusing only on how you feel without considering the opinions of others (namely, your former spouse and your children).
- Rediscover some hobbies or passions which you may have lost in the process of being a wife/husband.
- If there is something you always wanted to do but couldn’t, take this opportunity to begin doing it.
- Embrace new roles which may have been filled by your spouse in the past. For instance, if your spouse did all of the cooking, you can embrace this role enthusiastically by learning to cook fun new meals.
Utilizing Your Support Network
No one can go through the divorce process alone, and you may have already begun to lean on family and friends unlike ever before. After your divorce, you should continue to build on these relationships and take advantage of the support provided. No matter how strong you may be, you will need support to build a new life. Just as importantly, you can begin to be there for them when they need you. A few ways to properly utilize your support network include:
- Make sure to surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Your support network should always encourage you and make you feel good about yourself.
- Remove any negative influences in your life– even if they are family. You are beginning a new chapter, and starting on the right foot means starting with the right people.
- Start new routines and traditions with those in your network. For instance, you may have a girls’ night every Tuesday or regular Sunday brunch with family.
- Seeing a therapist can be incredibly helpful for anyone during and after a divorce.
- Divorce support groups can be a great resource, full of people who have been through the experience and can provide invaluable input and support.
Turning the Page
Now that you are once again an independent, single person, you will need to decide on who you want to be in the future. You have all the potential that you may need to do whatever you want with your life from here on out. Setting new goals is the first and most important step to moving forward.
- Set realistic, achievable goals which can be reached in the short-term. For instance, you may want to start a new book or exercise for half an hour in the morning.
- You should also create mid-term goals that you will reach in the coming months. This might include saving a certain amount of money, spending more time with your kids, making a new friend or learning to play guitar.
- Your long-term goals can literally be whatever you want them to be. These goals will define the person that you plan to be in the future and how your life will look going forward.
- Sit down and write out these goals, divided into the categories listed above. Keep the list somewhere visible (even just to you), and cross things off as you go. You can also add new goals or make edits to current ones.