A divorce is never a small thing. Whether you’ve been together for six months or twenty years, it’s a big step, especially considering that you’ve taken the step to commit yourself in marriage. But now are you asking yourself, “What do I do after a divorce?”
Is it a good thing? Or is it bad? Only you know the answer to that question.
After the Divorce: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Even if breaking up was the right thing to do, the fallout after a divorce isn’t easy.
However, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. It all depends on your attitude and how you adapt. Bottom line – what you do after a divorce is totally in your hands. It’s totally up to you.
Let’s break it down.
The Good: Let’s be Optimistic.
If you’re being honest with yourself, you have to look at the plus side. If there weren’t serious issues in your marriage, you wouldn’t be where you’re at right now. Granted, some reasons are tougher than others. Infidelity, dishonesty, fraud – if you were on the receiving end of any of that, you are better off, and you probably already know it.
So what do you do after the divorce to keep things good?
Enlightenment comes in many forms. Philosophically speaking, crisis makes us stronger. Change, while it can be painful, is always a harbinger of better days to come. If you’re looking for the good that comes after a divorce, this is it. See it as an opportunity. You can use your new situation to better yourself, to get stronger, become more resilient, and learn a little self-love in the process. When it’s all said and done, you’ll come out the other side a new person.
Here’s some post-divorce advice and tips for keeping things good:
- Keep your friends around you, and not just the ones that are going to add fuel to the fire. Choose friends that genuinely care about your wellbeing.
- Think about things you’ve always wanted to do and make plans to do them.
- Live well, practice self-care, and get lots of exercise.
- Choose safety. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation with friends, family, or colleagues, take a step back; retreat to a place where you feel safe.
The Bad: The Darker Side of Divorce
Divorce leaves a massive, empty hole in your life, in your heart, and in your home. Even if you initiated the breakup, that doesn’t make it any easier. The fallout from a bad divorce can linger for years if you let it.
Sometimes it’s good to deep-dive into the darkness, but you can’t let yourself linger there. Darkness has a way of permeating every corner of your life. It can become the black hole that swallows up your life. But do you really want to be that person?
You can wallow in it and make it the worst time in your life, make your friends and family crazy, and gouge out deep emotional scars that will never heal. Pretty soon, you and your grief, your anger, your despair, your bitterness – they become part of who you are.
And that’s when it tends to get ugly.
The Ugly: What Not To Do After a Divorce
You’re hurt. You feel abandoned. Done wrong. Betrayed. Did you see it coming? Or were they so incredibly stealthy about it that you didn’t suspect a thing until you were staring it in the face?
You’re angry, and I get it. But believe it or not, you can do a lot more damage if you rip off the filters and give in to those feelings. Yeah, it might be fun for a minute, but in the aftermath, who’s going to suffer? Not your former partner, that’s for sure. It’s the epitome of adding insult to injury – but the sad truth is that the injured party, ultimately, is you.
So, if you want to avoid the ugly, here’s a few things not to do after a divorce:
1. Don’t force your kids to take sides.
One of the worst things you can do in your rage is to poison your children’s minds about their other parent. The dysfunction and confusion is one thing, but you have to think of the long-term effects.
If you think your kids are too young to understand what’s going on, think again. If you think they’re old enough to understand, you still have to be respectful about what you say and how you behave. Going through a divorce is a defining experience for kids of any age. As much as it has devastated you, and even if your spouse is absolutely to blame, they are innocent.
Children of divorce are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, headaches, and mental illness. They are 50 percent more likely to develop asthma, speech impediments, and other chronic problems, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t let your children get caught up in your hurt.
2. Don’t do or say bad things to your ex out of spite.
While it might be tempting to air all of your ex’s dirty little secrets in public, take the high road and keep it under your hat. Laying it all out for everybody to see will actually do the opposite of what you intend. Chances are it will just make you look hateful, spiteful, and consumed. Are you really that person?
3. Don’t stalk them, beg them, or otherwise debase yourself.
Another caution in favor of taking the high road. How many times have we witnessed a breakup where the person wronged ends up looking like they’re the crazy one? Don’t make a bad situation worse by acting out. You’ll only regret it in the morning. Instead, think about how much better off you are without the worry, stress, and regret that your marriage turned into and realize you’re better for it.
So there you have it, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
What do you do after a divorce? We all cope differently, but in the end, it’s all up to you. If you are thinking about divorce or have recently divorced, don’t fall into the trap of thinking your life is over. New beginnings are never easy, but then the best things in life rarely are.