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How to: Closure After Divorce

by Juan Ramirez

Divorce is one of the most painful life upheavals that an individual can go through, representing not only the loss of a close partnership, but also shared long-term plans and life goals. Essentially, divorce means a sudden foray into a different future, complete with disrupted routines, changes in self-perception in relation to your ex-partner and the loss of in-laws. Finding closure after divorce is an ongoing process. Over time, as you nurture yourself with healthy activity and distance from your ex-partner, you will discover that you have made dramatic strides towards moving on.

Spend time with family and close friends who are positive, nonjudgmental and good at listening. Talk out angry, hurt and depressive feelings in an effort to not only begin purging them out of your system but to also gain perspective on those feelings from those close to you. Join a divorce support group if family or friends are unwilling or unable to give you the level of support you need.

Get re-involved in hobbies and activities you may have let fall by the wayside during your marriage, and try new activities that you've always wanted to try. Enroll in a class, join a special interest club, volunteer as a political or social activist, volunteer at a church or school or travel. Keep busy with activity that genuinely interests you to avoid obsessive thinking patterns and also to create a new social network.

Begin a diet, nutrition, exercise regimen, if you aren't already engaged in one. Relieve stress and release endorphins through physical exercise such as weight lifting, jogging, biking, swimming, rock climbing and recreational sports. Pamper yourself afterward with a long soak in a hot bath, a massage or a soothing meditation session.

Keep a journal of the things and people in your life that you appreciate. Write in a gratitude journal during your darker or more fearful moments when you may be experiencing overwhelming remorse and melancholy. Each entry need not be completely different from the next. You may go through a very difficult period of time when the entries in your gratitude journal remain distressingly similar with no new additions. This will change.

Keep as much physical and emotional distance as possible from your ex-partner. Preserve ties with your ex-partner only to the extent necessary to resolve issues of settlements and child custody. Avoid spending any time with your ex-partner outside of picking up and dropping off children for visitation, and don't engage in potentially upsetting small talk about each others' current lives.

Tip

  • Avoid the temptation to indulge in drugs, alcohol, overeating and casual sex to relieve painful feelings. Emotional difficulties that arise after divorce will most likely be exacerbated by indulging in unstable behavior.

About the Author

Juan Ramirez has been a writer for over 14 years and worked for two years as an assistant editor with an internationally circulated journal. Ramirez holds a Bachelor of Arts in English writing from Potsdam State University and a Master of Arts in individualized study from New York University.

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