Divorce sucks. It’s one of the most horrible experiences you’ll ever go through. And instead of allowing you the time and space to deal with it all, life demands that you keep going and meet the obligations you had before your marriage ended AND deal with a whole lot of other crap just because it’s just part of divorce.
Somehow you’ve got to find a way to cope with the end of your marriage and still keep functioning on a daily basis. It’s not easy – especially when all you want to do is curl up in a ball, pull the covers over your head and cry.
But just because it’s not easy, that doesn’t mean that coping with divorce is impossible. You just need to make some adjustments to what you’re doing now.
Don’t let that word “adjustments” scare you. These aren’t super huge changes. They’re relatively simple things that you can do bit by bit to ease your way into dealing better with your divorce.
Here are the 8 most important tips for coping with divorce:
1. Start each day with a plan. Now a plan doesn’t mean that you have to account for every moment of your day. A plan simply means that you’ve got a reason to get up and moving every day. Knowing what you’re going to focus on when you get out of bed will give you a reason to get up instead of drowning in your grief.
2. Be patient with yourself. As much as I wish I could provide you a guarantee of when you’ll stop hurting so much, I can’t. Getting through divorce is a process that you can’t go around or over or ignore. You must go through it. So being patient with yourself as you continue coping with divorce will enable you to get through the process as gracefully and easily as possible.
3. Don’t get sucked into social media. At best, social media is a distraction. At worst, it’s a means of cyberstalking your ex which only results in you feeling more miserable because they have moved on with their life while you’re still feeling lost and alone.
4. Focus on what you can control. The truth is the only person you have control over is you. With careful consideration, you can start to take back control of your thoughts, your reactions and your emotions. Coping with divorce isn’t about controlling everything about you, it’s about letting go of what you can’t control – your ex, the legal system, etc. – and learning to better manage what you can.
5. Surround yourself with people who support you getting through your divorce. It’s funny how often people change once they find out you’re getting divorced. Some will start avoiding you and others will surprise you by stepping up and totally supporting you as you deal with every last piece of your divorce. These are the people you want to surround yourself with and forget the others.
6. Find your own closure. Chances are that your ex will never give you a concrete reason why your marriage failed. And the longer you expect them to, the longer you’re prolonging your grief. Instead, create your own reason for the end of your marriage and make sure you’ve got some skin in the game for the ending to. If you do, you’ll find that you’ll feel empowered instead of victimized.
7. Ignore your ex’s antics. You’re not married to them anymore so their behavior (outside of things that directly impact co-parenting) have nothing to do with you unless you pay attention to them. Successfully coping with divorce is about successfully changing the relationship you have with your ex (and with yourself).
8. Take care of you. Going through divorce is emotionally draining and exhausting. You need to rebuild your strength so you can continue on and create a new life for yourself (and your children if you have them) that supports you in being happy again. So take the time to feed yourself well, take breaks to have fun, exercise, and get enough rest. The better you take care of yourself as you’re coping with divorce the more quickly you’ll be able to make it through your healing after divorce.
Each of these 8 tips will take some work for you to fully implement. But please don’t think that you have to master all of them before you’ll start feeling like you’re making progress coping with your divorce.
The truth is that as you start to work on each one of them you’ll begin feeling better. That’s because knowing that you have a way out of the soul-sucking grief will do wonders for you. You’ll have hope that the pain will end and that you just might find your way back to feeling happy again no matter what life expects of (or throws at) you.
Looking for more help coping with the end of your marriage? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Dealing With Grief.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and advisor helping people just like you who are wondering how they’ll make it through their divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice or schedule a FREE 30-minute conversation with me directly in my Time Trade calendar.
This article originally appeared on Dr. Karen Finn
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