It’s over. Finished. Your divorce is final. Now that it’s over, what are you going to do? Maybe you had pictured what life after divorce was going to be like, maybe you never thought about it until after the final decree was entered. Either way, now it’s time to face it.
Now that the divorce is over, what you do with yourself will determine your true character, your future as a man, and how you (yes, you) affect those in your life.
Don’t Let This Destroy You
We all know what destructive behavior is, and what it can do. Maybe we have seen it in others. Maybe, at one time, we have even let it happen to us. Either way, now that emotions have settled, or at least should be settling, what you do can make or break you.
There are things you need to avoid if you plan on moving forward. Here are a few:
I’m not saying not to drink, most people do. But for a year after my divorce was settled, I climbed in a bottle and it was the worst time in my life. Forgetting the pain and frustrations I get, trying to deal with the memories from the past I understand, not wanting to face the future single I remember. But these all must be done in order to move forward. And excessive amounts of alcohol cannot help you accomplish this.
I get it. When you’re thinking is in turmoil, the outward appearance suffers. I call it the “lazy day syndrome”. You can always tell when someone has a day off or is having a lazy day. Sweats, baggy shirt, messy hair; you know what I’m talking about. But when every day you look the part … let’s just say that is not a good thing, my friend. So get off the couch, take a shower, then put on some nice clothes and get your mind in a better place. Easy? No. Necessary? Yes.
When I am stressed I tend to not eat. Sometimes for days at a time. This is where I say, “Don’t do what I do, but follow what I say”. And it’s true. Eating is how the body survives, and when we do not take care of our body, nothing good can come from it.
Take a quick peek at 17 Habits of the Self-Destructive Person to make sure you’re not seeing yourself on that list. If you are, it is time to take action to stop.
Give Your Place an Overhaul
This one depends on your financial situation. One of the first things I did after my divorce (and after some counseling) was to get rid of every reminder of the marriage. A bed, pictures, trinkets, and purchases bought together – they have to go. You’re not doing yourself any favors by looking at those every day.
Take your time. The pain you’re feeling is real, and removing “things” from your view is not an all-in job. Want my advice? Find a time when you’re the maddest and let that guide your decisions on what to get rid of. Emotional strength is your ally, use it, just don’t let it control you.
Take a ‘You’ Vacation
Getting away from it all may seem like a great idea. The problem is, what happens when you return to normal life and the issues are still there. My grandfather used to say “you can’t run from yourself.” I think what he meant was that no matter where you go, you are still going to have to deal with the issues that bog you down. So taking a ‘you’ vacation means just that. It doesn’t mean leaving your house, or the state for that matter; it means taking some time for yourself.
Do something that makes you happy. Do something you haven’t done in a really long time and do it without feeling sorry for doing it. Be adventurous, be spontaneous, be daring.
Make a To-Do List for Bettering Yourself
We all know about to-do lists. Stop cringing; this one is for you and you alone. Take a second and think of something you would like to work on concerning yourself. Here are a few to get you started:
- Say hello to a new person today
- Help a stranger
- Write down one thing positive about yourself
- Do one thing for yourself today
This is no time for thinking being a better person is squishy. You have just been through Hell and back and it will take some time to get yourself evened out. Take that time. There is life for you after a divorce but smaller steps are in order.
By starting in the small areas, when it is time for the bigger changes it will be easier.
For Pete’s Sake – Talk to Someone
This has got to be the most overlooked part of life after divorce, and the most important.
You have just been through a divorce. Psychologists will tell you to let yourself mourn the loss. That is equating your divorce with death. That analogy is not far off. Your marriage has died. Try as hard as you may, you are not strong enough to deal with that by yourself.
Be it a friend, coworker, clergy, or a counselor – take the time to talk about what is going on inside your head.
I was lucky. I had not only a good friend at my side, I found a fantastic counselor. She opened my eyes to a lot of negative actions and helped me change them. Once I started changing those, I became a better person than I used to be. I certainly found the strength to move past a divorce that, admittedly, almost ruined me.
Recognize That Things Don’t Always Work Out
It’s time to realize there is nothing wrong with you, even if your ex-wife told you everything was wrong with you daily. Sometimes people are better off apart. Sometimes the feelings get lost and you couldn’t find them again. Sometimes things … just go bad.
Whatever the reason for your divorce, it’s time to focus on positive thinking. That means to stop blaming yourself.
There is a wealth of information on all facets of what you are going through. You came here to start the process. Don’t let your desire for improvement falter. Check out Stages of Divorce Recovery for Men by Dr. Goldstein for a more in-depth look at understanding what you’re feeling.
Look at the bright side. Your time is yours. No more in-laws. You have time for new hobbies or ones you stopped doing. There is room for new friends in your life. And when you’re ready, there is room for someone special, too.
No Lie – Life After Divorce Won’t be Easy
As we are connecting right here, right now, I will not lie to you. This is not going to be easy. Maybe you are one of the ones that walked away from a marriage and have already dealt with it. All the better. But if you are here, listening, then I bet you are not that guy.
You are looking for answers. What you feel is real. And it hurts. But all is not lost. If I can come from where my divorce put me then I have faith you can, too.
Life after divorce, a better life, is possible. Will it be easy? No. But to be better for yourself, your friends and family, and for any future relationships, you need to start down the road to recovery. All it takes is one step. Take that step today.
Has your life after divorce been what you expected? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Lots of guys are in the same boat.
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