What Happened To My Happily Ever After?

Why do some women seem to do very well after a divorce and others seem to get stuck? Surely there has to have been some sadness, some grief at the loss. The death of your marriage is a devastating occurrence, isn’t it? Although that’s not how you thought your life would be, unfortunately, that’s how it is. So, it’s up to you how you deal with the reality of your life.

Every divorce story is different. You could have been married for decades or just a few years. There may be children, pets or maybe not. Was it your idea, his, or a joint decision? Are you relieved, heartbroken or a combination of both? Whatever your situation, the question now is how do you go on from here? The older we get the idea of starting over becomes less and less appealing!

But starting over is not an option. Life goes on and we must adapt to our present reality. We have to create a new norm. How do you figure out who you are and what you want as a newly single person, again? What is your new life going to look like? Where do you begin?

1 – Give yourself time to mourn. No one entered into a marriage with the thought of divorce. Even if the divorce is your idea, it still represents a death of something that was once good.

Whatever your marriage and divorce experience has been, there will be emotions that have to do with grief, says psychotherapist Florence Falk, Ph.D., MSW, author of  On My Own: The Art of Being a Woman Alone.

“You may feel remorse for what you did or didn’t do, or wonder what you did wrong. Don’t dwell on those feelings, but make room for them,” Falk says, “Loss is a loss. There is an empty space where something once filled it up, even if that something may not have been desirable.”

2 – Learn to like yourself. It’s natural to feel that there might be something wrong with you, especially if your spouse left you for another person. You have to re-build your confidence in yourself and your ability to have faith in yourself. You cannot get stuck in your pity party.

This is a process. Your feelings of self-pity didn’t suddenly appear and your ability to replace those negative feelings will also take time. But you have to be willing to be accountable for your part in success and failure of your marriage. Accepting the truth about who and what you are goes a long way in your acceptance of yourself- the good, the bad and the ugly!

3 – It’s time to rediscover who you used to be. As nurturers, we often put our wants, desires, and our needs on the back burner to accommodate others. What were your hobbies and passions before you got married? What did you sacrifice for the sake of your spouse?

Everyone was born with a purpose and trust me, your purpose is greater than just being a wife. Your purpose lies in your passion and you discover your passion by determining what you would do even if you weren’t getting paid to do it.

Now that the reality has set in and you’ve left the pity party, it’s time to make some definite plans. Life just doesn’t happen; you have to make it happen. We’re taught that “faith without works is dead.” This means you have to take some action. Women who successfully navigate through the unpleasantly of divorce have some things in common.

1 – Concentrate on what you’ve gained and not on what you’ve lost – Remember those egg shells that you used to have to walk on, they’re gone. I remember hearing my ex-pull in the driveway and I’d tense up because I didn’t know what kind of a mood he was going to be in. Unfortunately, his mood dictated the kind of evening we’d have as a family.

You get to please yourself, for a change. After hearing, “what are we having for dinner” every day for however long, it will be refreshing to be able to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner, if you want!

You’ve gained your freedom. When was the last time you went out to have some drinks with your friends or go to a spa or even go to the salon to have your hair done? When married, all you think about is your family and on how to save money, so your family does not lack anything.

2 – Focus on the Future, Commit to Growth and Introspection, And Build a Relationship with Yourself. Happily divorced women channel their energies post-divorce into examining their life, their goals, their mistakes and how they can learn from the past. They don’t make the mistake of jumping into another serious relationship (or spending their time complaining about their ex).

These women focus on their own life issues. They redefine their priorities and discover what’s meaningful to them. They mature fully into themselves as women whose identity is not tied to the role of mother or wife.

3 – Accept the economic realities of divorce and develop a personal financial plan. Successfully divorced women come to terms with the reduced lifestyle they have after divorce. They rediscover and reaffirm their priorities. If this means changing their lifestyle, they commit to doing that. You cannot be happily divorced if you rely on your ex-husband as your long-term financial solution. Nor can you see “finding another man” as the solution.

Smart women take charge of their finances during and after divorce. They hire a financial planner or an accountant to review and organize their finances and map out spending goals for the next decade. If you can’t afford an accountant, sit down and review your finances. What do you have coming in and how much does it cost you to live? Although daunting at first, this step is immensely empowering.

“The thing with life during and after divorce, in my opinion, is that it is what you make of it. You choose whether you wallow in it or rise above it. You choose how much you carry with you on a daily basis. You choose if you learn and grow or keep looking behind you. No one else has that power, not the attorneys, not your friends or family, you, and only you, get to decide that.” ~kintsukuroisparrow

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