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How to Move Forward After a Difficult Divorce

We all know the statistics. Roughly one-half of marriages will end in divorce.  While many people divorce amicably, for others, divorce will prove to be an extremely difficult experience, no matter who you are.

Reese Witherspoon for example, spoke for millions, when she said of her divorce from Ryan Phillipe, “When people get in your face and say, “This will pass,’ you think, Are they crazy? I’m never gonna feel any better than I feel right this minute and nothing’s ever gonna make sense again.”

Feeling lost, confused, and often bewildered is extremely common. While those feelings are valid, understandable, and normal, they are not especially helpful, when it comes to moving forward. Fortunately, there are concrete steps you can take, bit by bit to move forward after a difficult divorce. Here are five smart, simple, but effective steps that can help you transition into a healthier, clear-headed, and empowered place.

  1. Surround Yourself with Experienced Support

Professionals are essential to have on your side when going through a divorce. But, equally vital allies are those who have been through a divorce themselves. Fortunately, there is no shortage of resources to call on. There are online communities where you may find extraordinary support from virtual strangers. A divorce coach may become the missing piece to the puzzle that you’ve been searching for. A cousin or coworker you aren’t especially close with may suddenly become your favorite shoulder to lean on. Likewise, podcasts, YouTube channels, and divorce websites may provide a kinship that you’re not finding elsewhere.  

  1. Make Sure the Kids are OK

If minor children are involved, it is crucial to ensure their health and well-being as they navigate their new normal. To that end, even if you’re moving on from a dreadful divorce, it is important to try to keep the acrimony between you and your ex, private. It definitely won’t help children to hear their parents disparage one another. So, to the best of your ability, keep the gory details of the divorce, and negative feelings about their other parent to yourself.  Consider as well, that it’s never a bad idea to consider family or individual therapy for yourself and your children. 

  1. Partner with Professionals

In the wake of a divorce, you may find that you need new advisors and professionals. So, begin looking for new partners to help you with financial advice/money management, estate planning, insurance, etc. Notice the keyword is “partner.”  

While professional trust and estate attorneys, Financial Advisors, or insurance agents will be responsible for executing your wishes, you can and should be an active partner in making all decisions. If your attorney seems to be pushing you in a direction you don’t want to go, find an attorney who values your input and insights. If your Financial Advisor is recommending investments that you don’t feel comfortable with, speak up. Becoming a bonafide partner in your personal affairs can be extraordinarily empowering after a difficult divorce.

  1. Lean Into Self-Love and Self-Care

There is rarely a better time to focus on health and wellbeing, than in the wake of a difficult divorce. Even if you have sole custody of minor children, taking good, intentional care of yourself after a difficult divorce is a must. 

Ask a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor to watch your children while you go to the gym, or take a fitness class. Spend your evenings after the kids are in bed, doing something that is both enjoyable and nourishing, such as reading, taking a hot bath/shower, stretching, painting, journaling, or whatever else you love to do. Making time to nurture yourself is invaluable as you move forward after a difficult divorce.  

  1. Start Dreaming

As you move into your new life post-divorce, it’s more than OK to dream again. In fact, beginning to dream about your future is a huge step in a positive direction after a difficult divorce. Dreaming is far from just a way to kill time. Dreaming is empowering. It draws out creativity, which is helpful in problem-solving. It utilizes and activates diverse areas of the brain and provides mental and physical health benefits such as reducing stress and anxiety. Far from being a waste of time, daydreaming about your new life is one of the best ways you can spend time after a difficult divorce.

 Thoughts for the Future

In the aftermath of a difficult divorce, taking these simple steps can help you not only survive a difficult divorce but also help you lay a solid foundation to thrive. Rome wasn’t built in a day, change takes time, and all the other adages continue to hold. But, the process can be a lot quicker, healthier, and even enjoyable, if you have a simple, but effective plan for moving forward. 

exEXPERTS is a trust-worthy online divorce resource that was created with the intent of empowering and educating people touched by divorce so they can make educated decisions that will have a positive impact on themselves and their families. The exEXPERTS community consists of veteran divorce coaches, spiritual guides, licensed therapists, attorneys, mediators, financial advisors, co-parenting experts, and many others.