When my first wife and I divorced over sixteen years ago, I was totally unprepared for the turmoil it would cause in my life. The emotional toll was unbelievable. I was dealing with feelings of sadness, loss, guilt, loneliness, despair, disillusionment, anger, and hopelessness. Physically, my body was a wreck. I suffered from severe depression, which caused a loss of appetite and weight loss. I could not sleep at night and had very little energy during the day. I eventually developed ulcers which kept me in the doctor’s office. It was by far the most difficult time of my life. The biggest mistake I made not getting help.
Divorce is never easy, and you should not expect it to be. Statistics state that over 40% of marriages end in divorce, so know that you are not alone. But the sooner you realize that divorce is not the end, the sooner you will be able to move forward and enjoy life again. Here are a few tips to help you survive divorce and start enjoying your life again:
· Don’t play the blame game. Don’t waste time blaming your partner or yourself. No matter what caused the breakup, you both had a part to play. Even if you feel you did nothing to contribute to the breakup, don’t use all your energy being angry with your spouse. It is useless to do so and will only hurt you more in the long run.
· Forgive as soon as you can. Forgiving yourself and your spouse is so very important to allowing you the freedom to move forward. Without forgiveness you will never be free.
· Don’t try to deal with the pain alone. The worst thing you can do is to isolate yourself from friends and family. Being alone only intensifies the pain and loneliness you feel. Surround yourself with people who love you.
· Spend time with your children. If there are children involved, don’t neglect spending quality time with them. They’re hurting too and what happened is not their fault. Let them know that you love them and will always be there.
· Don’t jump into another relationship. These relationships usually tend to be quite toxic and are not likely to last. Save yourself the additional stress.
· Allow yourself time to grieve the loss. A divorce is a lot like a funeral. You will feel pain and you will grieve, and that’s okay. But go ahead and grieve and then move on. The sooner you let go the sooner you can feel good about life again.
· Get to know yourself better. Divorce usually causes us to see something in ourselves that we may not have recognized before. Face the facts of who you are and work to become a better you. Use what you learn about yourself to grow and improve. Don’t be too proud to admit your own failures and shortcomings. But don’t beat yourself over the head with it either.
Divorce is the end of a relationship, but not the end of the world. You can make it through and come out a better person on the other side. You will survive and enjoy life again.