Achieving happiness after divorce is possible. But, like most things in life with a positive outcome, it requires hard work. There are things that you can do as you move through the divorce process to prepare and enable you to move forward with focus, hope and confidence; upon closing your divorce file.
Please click on the link to read more about tips and strategies as to how to accomplish postdivorce happiness.
I wrote this article for More magazine’s online edition. More magazine is a publication that celebrates women over 40. Men should also feel comfortable reading this article as it offers great insight into moving on – post-divorce; tips that apply to both men and women.
Life is like a book: some chapters are more difficult to get through than others. When I started living on my own again, I thought about how the new chapters of my own life were going to be written. I began to ask myself many questions. Can people actually be single and happy post-divorce? If they can, how do they achieve this? What is their secret? Is it like one of those new fad diets–just follow these few simple steps and, poof, a new you, easily transformed while you sleep? Or can you only reach that elusive goal of happiness when you find that perfect mate–your knight in shining armour or damsel in distress?
Think about how you would like your life to look post-divorce and start doing some of those things now. You have choices and control. It’s up to you as to how this new chapter in your life is going to be written
happiness after divorce is a process rather than a reaction
I learned that surrounding yourself with helpful professionals, getting a grip on your finances and finding ways to heal your fragile emotional state is critical in the long term. Divorce is a process, not a crisis and it is important to move out of crisis mode. I also found that lawyers were not the only professionals helpful to working through the divorce process effectively.
Here are the top 5 things you need to do so that you can achieve happiness after divorce and keep the emotional baggage from undermining you after divorce.
- Acknowledge that you are grieving and deal with the emotions.
- Put your children’s best interests first.
- Learn about your finances – develop a monthly budget, understand
your assets and liabilities.
- Think about how you would like your life to look like after divorce
and start doing some of those things now, to help you get there.
- Prepare for the friend dynamics. It’s not about you, but how friends
react to divorce itself.
Here’s how I addressed each area:
It is better to manage your emotions than be managed by emotional baggage, which is why I sought the help of a therapist. Although I knew I had much work ahead, meeting with a therapist made me aware that I had choices. Gradually the emotional weight which bogged me down lifted and enabled me to gain control.
Putting my children’s best interests first was a priority. I consulted with a parenting expert who guided me through this confusing time and advised me how to tell my children about my divorce. A child psychiatrist was helpful in understanding behaviour — what was a result of divorce and what was a consequence of where they were in their own development. Both professionals strongly advised that I let my children know how much I loved them, that the divorce was not their fault and to give them a sense of security.
Taking control and managing my finances was empowering. It felt great to make all of the financial decisions and know what was happening with the little budget I had. I knew that I couldn’t go through life feeling like a victim or a divorcee who needed to be rescued. I wanted a rich and fulfilling life, and to be a good role model for my children. I went out of my comfort zone, enjoyed new pursuits and began to achieve my goals.
Not only did I learn a lot about myself, but about my friends too. There are no rituals around divorce and people can say the most hurtful things. While feeling emotionally vulnerable and alone, I confided in a friend about my divorce. I expected comfort and understanding.
Instead, I got a very different reaction. She said, “I understand why you want to leave, but you won’t be part of a couple any longer.” Aha, she would not be inviting me anywhere, let alone be my friend anymore. The phantom lines were drawn.
People were taking sides. But I also realized that some people feel uncomfortable with divorce- it was their problem, not mine. It’s been over twelve years since I made that life-altering decision to divorce. I’ve created a very good life for myself and one quite frankly I would never have predicted.
How did I finally leave the emotional baggage behind but recognize that smaller emotional issues can and will come up that I am capable of dealing with for my children and myself? By going through a process of hard work and determination. It was certainly worth it because I live life happy and content, and suffer no regrets.
Update: Finding your Authentic Self
Happiness and Moving On
A new show from The Smart Divorce has just been posted. Tune in to hear our guest Hanna McDonough.
Our guest, Hanna McDonough, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Psychotherapist (www.hannatherapy.com). Ms. McDonough shares her wisdom on finding the best in yourself, and delves into relationships and what’s important – is it sex, money? And, what are the differences between men and women and they way each values a relationship. We explore the gamut in topics and – learn about living your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.
Topics in this Podcast include:
- The value of a therapist: how to find a good therapist, when to stay and when to go
- Understanding a verbally abusive relationship
- Exploring transformative therapy
- How to keep your marriage HOT
- Putting children first
Click to listen to the podcast
Our guest, Hanna McDonough, is Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Psychotherapist (www.hannatherapy.com). Ms. McDonough shares her wisdom on finding the best in yourself, and delves into relationships and what’s important – is it sex, money? And, what are the differences between men and women and they way each values a relationship.
Isn’t it time you find your happiness?
Our guest, Susan Pease Gadoua is the founder and Executive Director of the Transition Institute of Marin, specializing in meeting the needs of separating and divorcing men and women. We explore the importance of understanding your own needs, how to find your happiness, and the meaning of loving yourself. It’s an enlightening and engaging conversation, tune in to learn how to find the power of happiness.
- The meaning of happiness
- What it means to love yourself, to be open to loving and healthy relationships
- Preparing yourself emotionally for a great relationship
- Why people get stuck in relationship traps – and being with the same personality type
- Avoiding the relationship trap mistakes and downfalls
- The risk of a rebound relationship
Click arrow to play Podcast::
Is it possible to remain happy as you face one of the most challenging times in your life? Our guest, Susan Pease Gadoua is the founder and Executive Director of the Transition Institute of Marin, specializing in meeting the needs of separating and divorcing men and women.
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