When you’re married, you share everything. It’s right to consider the other person in major decisions that involve your money, time, health and family. When your marriage falls apart and you’re starting over, part of surviving divorce involves regaining your independence. You’re suddenly managing your career and family responsibilities on your own. A relationship coach can help you develop a growth mindset by recommending steps to regain your independence.
Transition to Survivor
Right after divorce, it’s appropriate to grieve, to be angry. During the legal process and the aftermath, you might feel like all you can do is try to hold yourself together. Give yourself time, usually about a year, to experience the pain of divorce. Seek support from friends, family members, life coaches, therapists or church groups.
As you near the one-year benchmark, set a date to move forward and focus on developing resilience and strength. After that date you will still experience negative emotions, but resolve to face them as a fighter, not a victim.
Set Financial Priorities
Divorce can be financially devastating. Not only do most couples go from two incomes to one, they have additional legal bills. Achieving financial stability will improve your feelings of strength and independence.
Analyze income and expenses and make a plan to eliminate debt. Make cuts where necessary, accepting them as necessary to reaching your goals. Seek joy in things that don’t cost money like volunteer work or time with family. If you desire greater professional achievement and an improved income, start working toward that goal.
Accept Shared Custody Realities
Shared custody likely will be a source of frustration, but you can limit your ex’s access to your mind. If he lets your kids break the rules when they’re at his house, doesn’t support your parenting expectations or fails to show up for extracurricular activities, separate your parenting from his. As a parent, you have the right to enforce rules and participate in activities when you have your children independently of what he does. Will it affect your children? It might, but getting angry won’t force him to change.
Start Something Just for You
When you were married, you poured a significant portion of yourself into meeting your spouse’s emotional needs. You did things together you both enjoyed. Now it’s time to reevaluate your own likes, dislikes and goals. Choose a hobby you have always wanted to pursue and set aside time regularly to do something that makes you happy like yoga or meditation. If you enjoy fitness, take a Pilates or spin class. If you’ve always loved art, sign up for painting or photography lessons.
Learn to Say No
After a divorce, many women pour themselves into serving others. They agree to be homeroom mom and drive the carpool. They take on extra responsibilities at work. They give their kids extra privileges and possessions because they want to make up for the hurt. Eventually many find they’ve taken on too much.
Just because you always said yes before doesn’t mean you can’t start saying no. Take time to evaluate the areas in which you’re willing to commit and let someone else take over the others. When people ask, be honest about how you’ve over-committed in the past and let them know you’re focusing on being the best at just a few things.