How to Start Life Over After Divorce

by Leslie Miller

The relationship you once valued so much is now officially dissolved, yet divorce stories differ. Maybe you have been together for decades, perhaps a year or so. Divorce might have been your idea or it was mutually agreed upon. Perhaps you have kids; maybe you don't. Whether you are relieved or heartbroken -- or a mixture of both -- you should determine how to continue with life as a newly single person.

Let Yourself Mourn

Divorce is like a death. Even if you wanted the breakup, it is natural to grieve over the lost life and lifestyle. Your tears are therapeutic. Acknowledge the pain and do whatever seems helpful. For instance, walk your dog, clean the garage, drive somewhere quiet and shout -- anything that will take away the toxic energy will be helpful. Once you release this sadness, start laying your recovery foundation and decide your own course. Believe that you will soon recover and be happy.

Learn to Let Go

Divorce means an end to your former identity as a spouse. Consider writing a goodbye letter about the things you will miss and the ones you will no longer have to deal with. Drafting this letter requires courage and acknowledgement of the prevailing circumstances. To change and begin the healing process, you must let go -- and this requires physical and psychological movement -- suggests Debra Warner, a licensed therapist specializing in anxiety and depression, in her article "7 Steps to Overcome Your Divorce" published on PBS. Once you let go, you will know what you can work on to revamp your life.

Lighten Up

It can be difficult to adjust to the single life, especially if your marriage lasted many years. When you are stressed, spend relaxing time with your children, as they can pry a smile out of you. Author Norine Dworkin-McDaniel, in her article "Life After Divorce: 12 Ways to Rebuild Your Life" on Lifescript, also stresses the importance of socializing with single friends -- it will keep you from feeling like the "odd woman out" in a world of couples. Going out and having a good time with other singles may not only boost your confidence but also help you adapt to the new lifestyle. If you don’t have single friends, join clubs or attend networking events – you never know who will say hello.

Rediscover Yourself

Losing that role as one half of a couple can make you question your existence. You might start doubting your decisions and wonder what feels right and what doesn't. Life after divorce demands that you revisit your individual identity. Learn to overcome the doubts associated with divorce. Learn to say no and avoid any hurried commitment with another person. Write a "bucket list" for inspiration. Appreciate your self-worth and enjoy the things you gave up before you were married. Go back to college, change your place of worship or try a new sport. This will be very appropriate provided the changes you make are positive.

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About the Author

Leslie Miller is an expert in parenting issues, social, family and relationship issues. Currently, she is blogging on these issues for those seeking guidance and insight for everyday challenges. Miller is the founder of www.therapyontheweb.org, which was developed for individuals who seek the convenience and privacy of telephone and the internet.

Photo Credits

  • John Lund/Marc Romanelli/Blend Images/Getty Images