Divorce doesn't begin and end the same for any two people. Everyone has their own journey, with their own twists and turns, and eventually leading to recovery. The time it takes for someone to recover from their divorce depends on several factors, including: how long you were married, how healthy the relationship was, if the divorce was a surprise or something that was decided upon by both, whether you have children, experience with other major life events, whether or not you or your ex are involved in another relationship - along with many other factors.
Yet, there are many things that people continue to do, that keep them 'stuck' and make recovery more difficult and time consuming:
- Trying to work through your divorce alone, without the help of friends, family, or a professional who can provide invaluable support and resources.
- Think you 'should' be a certain place post divorce, and become upset with yourself when you are not.
- Turn to others too frequently to tell you what you need or want without learning how to get in touch with yourself and figure that out on your own - thus giving someone else your power.
- Giving the impression that you are 'fine.'
- Sticking your head in the sand and hope that it will all go away.
But there is an upside: where there's hope, there's the opportunity for change. Although you might have not had a choice or a voice in your divorce, you do have a choice and can use your voice to create the life that you want for yourself - on your own terms. There is strength and power in doing that. There are several things you can do to help you recover, move on and past your divorce, and embrace your new life - even if it doesn't feel that way in the moment.
How to recover and embrace the new you
Look at this time in your life as an opportunity, not a challenge. This is a time for growth and change; you have blank pages ready to fill with the things that you want to do and the ways that you want to live your life.
Were there things you wanted to do, but didn't? Now is the time. There might have been things that you wanted to do, but were not able to do because your significant other didn't want to. This is a time to take charge and create the life you want for yourself. Ask yourself, "Did you give up parts of yourself while a couple?" (Many, if not most, do). If so, what were these things? Are they still important to you? If they are, reclaim them!
Think about what you would like your new life to look like. What was lacking in your marriage that you want for yourself now?
Don't be afraid to reach out to friends or find new friends. Get involved in your community or other organizations that will help you build a social and cultural circle.
Accept and learn to work through the grief that is associated with loss and don't be so hard on yourself. Going through a divorce often means experiencing multiple losses: loss of companionship, shared experiences, a friendship, along with the loss of a future together, dreams, and hopes.
Remember, how much effort you're willing to invest in yourself and move on with your life, sets the course of how quickly you'll start to feel better again.
Make the investment in yourself!
Dr. Kristin Davin (AKA "Dr. D") is a Divorce Mediator and Clinical Psychologist practicing in New York City. Her approach is based upon Cognitive Behavior Therapy combined with Solution Focused Therapy. You can learn more at www.kristindavin.com .