Divorce: Navigating the Emotional Aftermath
Some divorces are so amicable that the couple remains friendly, even with each other’s new spouses. Other couples are so hostile that they never speak to each other again. A lot of factors influence the fallout from a divorce. Regardless of the final outcome, however, anticipating the emotional currents you may face can help you navigate the aftermath.
Man (or Woman) Overboard
Expect to feel overwhelmed, swamped by grief, fear, or anger. You’re facing the future on your own. Decisions have to be made, yes. But give yourself the time and space to make considered choices. Make detailed lists of areas of concern: physical and mental health, finances, housing, health insurance, childcare and employment. Prioritize and enlist professional help, if needed. These first steps are important and you want to start out on the right foot.
Reach for a Life Saver
Let’s face it, going through a divorce feels as if you’ve failed. You need to hold onto something that makes you feel good about yourself. Use your talents: paint a mural on a child’s bedroom wall, organize a food drive, write a business plan, join a writers group, plant a herb garden, cater a dinner party, rock out at a karaoke bar. As often as possible, engage in any activity or pastime that never fails to bring out your best.
All Hands on Deck
Whether you’re feeling lonely, blue, anxious or angry, don’t isolate. Avail yourself of good company. You don’t necessarily have to go to holiday galas or host a dinner party —although you should if you’d enjoy doing that! Even one person—a trusted friend, a nurturing sibling, a hilarious colleague—someone who really ‘gets’ you can be enough to comfort you, talk you down from the ledge or make you laugh.
Look for the Lighthouse
Set a goal, give yourself something to work toward and look forward to. By this time next year you will have finished that novel or learned how to tango, taken your children on a camping vacation or started a business. Charting your progress, even incrementally, is proof positive that you are moving in the right direction. As on any voyage, you’ll have setbacks, you’ll occasionally lose your way but you’ll make it through and may even find yourself on an exciting new shore.