In the year 2011, 877,000 divorces and annulments took place in the U.S. alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you are part of the annual divorce statistics, understanding how to successfully move on afterwards is key to your psychological well-being. Instead of making your way through this tough time by yourself, friends, family members and professionals can all help you to pick yourself up and get back to the business of living.
Let go of any regrets, and don't continue to focus on them. Even though it's normal to have regrets over the downfall of your marriage, these negative thoughts aren't helping you feel better or move on, reports psychiatrist Mark Banschick, in "Seven Ways to Thrive After Divorce" on the Psychology Today website. If you're constantly going back over how you could have changed your marriage by being more sensitive to your spouse's needs, stop this thinking and accept that you can't change the past.
Get your finances in order. Take stock of your overall financial situation. Start a savings account or set aside some cash for your living expenses as well as extra money that you may need to spend during the divorce process. If you don't already have your own bank account or a credit card that's only in your name, set these up. Doing so will help you prepare for your financial future while allowing you to separate your ties with your former spouse.
Enlist help from family and friends to build a support system, suggests human development specialist Nina Chen of the University of Missouri Extension. Talk to the people whom you trust most about what you're going through. Spend time with your friends or sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with a family member. For example, tell your sister that you're going through a rough time and ask her to have coffee with you so you can talk.
Join a support group. Even if you have friends and family who are willing to help you, they may not fully understand what you're going through. Talking to other divorcees offers an already-been-there perspective. Look for support groups in your community, at religious institutions, at mental health provider offices, at hospitals or even online in the form of chat communities.
Decide if you're ready to start dating again. If you are, make a list of the qualities you're looking for in a new potential mate. Doing so helps you make decisions when you decide how to meet new people and whom you want to meet, relationship author Diana Kirschner, Ph.D. tells MSN Glo. For example, if you want to a meet a man who is outgoing and outdoorsy, sign up for a white-water rafting activity or take a group skiing class.
- If your friends and family aren't fully supportive of your mental health during this challenging period, get professional help. Seek a licensed counselor who has expertise in post-divorce issues.
- Dating after divorce is often frustrating. Don't give up if your dates don't work out or some of your suitors don't call again. Keep at it, continue to meet new people, and give yourself a chance to move on romantically.
- Don't let stress take over. It's easy to let the strain of a divorce bog you down emotionally. Instead of emphasizing the negative feelings, look for the positive points in your life. For example, if you have children, concentrate on their happiness during a fun-filled day at the park.
- Avoid isolating yourself. While it's tempting to wallow in your sadness at home by yourself, it won't help you to move on. Get out there and get active. Sign up for a class at your local community college, join a book club at the library or call up an old pal and ask her out for coffee.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends
- Psychology Today: Seven Ways to Thrive After Divorce
- Forbes: Three Types of Financial Mistakes Divorcing Women Make (Ad How to Avoid Them)
- MissouriFamilies.org: Letting Go and Moving On After a Divorce
- MSN Glo: Tips for Dating After Divorce
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