Fully realizing that you are no longer part of a couple is likely the first post-divorce fact to absorb, but it will not be the last.
Divorce is one of the most intense, unsettling events that can happen in your life. Here are three recommendations to help you cope successfully with the aftermath.
1. Redefine yourself
During your marriage, you had certain responsibilities that revolved around the needs and desires of your family. You may still function as a parent, but some of those other responsibilities have fallen away, leaving you more time for yourself, which includes making time for self-discovery. What would you like to do? Take up a hobby? Audit a class or two at the local college? Volunteer at the hospital or become a docent at a museum? Becoming engaged in the world around you and in productive pursuits helps you find balance and meaning in this new post-divorce stage of your life.
2. Minimize the divorce impact on your children
Your children's well-being is a foremost concern, and you want to minimize the impact of divorce on their lives. If there is conflict between you and your ex, do not put the children in the middle; it is unfair to make them choose sides. Do not criticize your ex-spouse in front of them. No matter how angry or emotionally spent you may be, set a good example by maintaining a civil attitude toward, or in reference to, the other parent.
3. Rely on a support network
Perhaps the most important way to lessen the pain, anger and sorrow of divorce is to establish a support network. This can include anyone of importance to you, from your attorney to your closest friend. Seek someone who will listen when you want to talk or just be there with you when you would rather just have a quiet lunch or go to a movie. If you want to investigate emotional help at the next level, look into support groups in your area, or consider hiring a life transition coach. Remember that a divorce is a unique experience for everyone, and so is the journey to a new stage of life.