If you’re currently going through a divorce, you might feel like your entire world has unraveled. You always thought that you and your spouse would be together for life. After all, that was the promise you made to each other on your wedding day.
But perhaps you discovered you had completely different values, or maybe you grew apart over time. You might have realized that you deserved better treatment than what your spouse could give.
No matter the reason, the two of you have chosen to go your separate ways, and the entire process has been painful. Letting go of your future with your spouse is heartbreaking, even if you’ve come to see that the two of you weren’t right for each other.
However, you can still navigate your divorce with dignity and grace while still allowing yourself to express your complicated emotions. Here are a few tips to help you make it through this transitional phase.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
First, it’s important to recognize that divorce and grief go hand in hand. Even though your spouse hasn’t died, you have suffered an immense loss. You’re trying to accept that your life will look very different from what you once imagined.
You may even be trying to get used to the fact that your spouse was not the person you thought they were when you married them. It’s no surprise if you feel similarly to what you might experience when a loved one dies. You may have days when you’re unable to stop crying, or you might find yourself in denial about the possibility of getting back together with your spouse.
Give yourself time to grieve the loss of your marriage. Even if your grief looks “messy,” it’s important that you don’t try to suppress these emotions.
However, it’s all too easy to fall into certain destructive behavioral patterns when you’re grieving, like substance abuse or pursuing unhealthy relationships. Try to avoid these habits – they will only stunt your healing process.
Find Healthy Emotional Outlets
How can you process your grief without engaging in self-destructive behaviors? Finding healthy emotional outlets is the key!
For instance, you could start exercising in order to blow off steam and de-stress. Working out releases endorphins, which boost your mood. You could also try a creative hobby, like painting, playing an instrument, or baking. Perhaps you travel to a place you’ve never been before.
Pouring your energy into something productive that gives you a result you’re proud of can be very empowering. You could make time for a hobby that allows you to escape for a while, like reading or going camping to get off the grid for a few days. Finally, writing in a journal can be very cathartic.
Look to Your Support System
When you’re going through a divorce, you feel you lost the person who you would go to first when you were dealing with a difficult time. That’s why it’s so crucial to look to other people in your support system during this transition.
You may want to open up to close friends or family members who will be patient and compassionate with you. But if most of the people in your life are still close with your spouse as well, you may feel awkward talking to them about the divorce.
In this case, you might want to look for a therapist who can give you guidance. You’ll be able to share your feelings in a confidential space and say whatever is on your mind.