How do I move forward after a divorce?
The end of a relationship is always a difficult time. No matter who ended it or when it was ended, the future can look bleak and frightening. But life does continue and many people go on to have happy and fulfilling lives after divorce.
There are many things you'll need to focus on during this difficult time and at times it may feel overwhelming. But as well as that, you need to focus on yourself as an individual, decide what you need to do to help you let go of the past and look forward to the future.
Like most people, you're likely to experience a rollercoaster of emotions. Some days you may feel hopeful and maybe even relieved if your marriage had been difficult for a long time. On other days you may feel sad, angry, confused and anxious. Understanding what went wrong is an important step towards recovery.
Many people get locked into questioning: Whose fault it is? What did I do wrong? How could they do that to me? Unfortunately, all this kind of questioning traps you into the blame game, which creates more bitterness and heartache.
Sometimes, it can be more helpful to focus on what the relationship was lacking and how the relationship failed to meet your or your partner's needs, rather than blaming yourselves as individuals. Though the answers may be upsetting, the greater the understanding, the easier it will be to let go of the past and move on.
Over the coming weeks and months you need to really focus on looking after yourself. The end of a relationship can damage self-esteem and self confidence. The following tips will help you to get through this difficult time and face the future with hope.
Keep talking - Talking is the best way to prevent isolation and help maintain perspective. You're not alone and sharing your heartaches and victories with a trusted friend, family member or neighbour will help to carry you through.
Let yourself grieve - It's normal to feel shock when a relationship finally comes to an end and it can take time for this reality to settle in. You'll have good and bad days - give yourself time.
Let go of anger - Many people feel stuck with their anger. They either feel angry at themselves or angry at their partner. Holding on to this anger maintains an emotional connection between you and your ex and slows up your ability to move on. Make time to relax. Whether you prefer reading a book, going for a walk, soaking in the bath, going for a run or gardening it's completely your call. Just as long as you give your body, time to de-stress. And remember, laughter is the best medicine, so make sure you make time to see friends and have some fun too.
Set small goals - When times are feeling really tough it may feel as if you're getting nowhere. Setting yourself small achievable goals not only boosts feel good chemicals, but also boosts your confidence. Whether it's getting a chore out of the way, going out for the evening or starting a new project at work, it will help you to see and know that you're moving on.
Look after your health - Make sure you do regular exercise and maintain a healthy diet. Unfortunately, comfort eating is more likely to make you feel lower than cheering you up.
Plan ahead - Write down a list of all the things you're going to do when you get through this. When you have bad days, you can use this list to remind yourself that you still have a future ahead of you.
Get help - If each day seems to be getting harder rather than better, then you may find it helpful to seek professional help from a counsellor.