Tips for Surviving a Divorce
Even when it’s the right decision at the right time, getting divorced is rarely easy. Emotions, finances and relationships can all feel strained, and, if you have kids, putting on a good face every day can be a real challenge. While there is no magic pill or answer for making divorce easy, you can survive – and thrive in the long run – by keeping a few key things in mind:
- Forgive. You may not be able to forgive your ex-spouse or friends who chose sides right now, but keeping this as a future goal is important for your healing and well-being. The longer you hold onto a resentment, the longer it has power over you. You don’t have to forget, but try to find it in your heart to forgive and move on.
- Be smart. Stay on top of your finances (both during and after) and educate yourself, particularly if you didn’t previously handle financial matters. It is critical to understand what your assets/cost of living/expenses/debts are and to get a handle on future financial issues, including kids’ college costs, moving expenses, insurance and other future purchases. A financial advisor can help you sort through documents and create a plan for success.
- Take care of yourself. This isn’t always easy, especially when you’re feeling constant stress, which is why it is more important than ever. Maybe you can’t jet off to a spa for a week of rejuvenation, but perhaps you can schedule a one-hour massage. Taking care of yourself also includes simple things such as your annual doctor appointment, seeing the dentist and other health-related appointments. Finally, remind yourself of the things you love to do – maybe they have been neglected during your marriage – and dive back in.
- Communicate. In addition to maintaining open communication with family and friends, it is ok (even healthy) to remain in contact with your ex, especially when kids are involved. If you isolate yourself or shut down the lines of communication, moving on will be nearly impossible. Talk to a counselor, talk to a friend, speak words of kindness to yourself.
“As women, we are often really good at blaming ourselves for everything. If that’s what you’re doing right now, stop. Look at yourself with compassion, forgiveness and kindness,” said Dr. Donna Block. “Stressful situations can take a real toll on your health, so it is very important to focus on your physical, mental and emotional health right now.”