It is tough when a long-term marriage breaks up but harbouring feelings of bitterness does not serve you well. These negative feelings prolong the agony and hold you back from rebuilding your life. Instead, why not redesign your life? Remember that it will take time to ‘get over’ your partner leaving but also believe that you will recover.
The Road to Recovery
Work through the negative emotions – it is natural to be angry at first. It is almost a grieving process, although your partner might not be dead he/she has gone and it will take time to adjust. However, don’t hang on to those feelings of anger and bitterness – let them go. Jane says: “Once I had got over the shock of him leaving I gained a new lease of life. At first I was resentful that he had left me and I began to think that I had wasted thirty years of my life with my ‘traitorous’ husband. Fortunately, my Divorce Coach asked me to list the good things about my marriage and once I had the list I realised that they had not been wasted years. My marriage had given me two wonderful children, we had travelled extensively, and we had made some great friends, several of who supported me through the darkest days of the divorce. I slowly took up new hobbies and through them met new people. I suddenly realised after three years that I was doing what I wanted to do and that I was happier than I had been when I was married”.
Let your friends support you. Chris says “Don’t be shy about relying on friends – good friends don’t mind”. Diane agrees, she says she could not have got through without her friends. In fact both lived with friends after the break up of their marriages. Diane says that she realised that on the whole “people are very generous and kind”
Make the divorce process as painless as possible. Try to pick a lawyer who offers a mediation service and collaborative divorce. It is important to keep the communication channels open. Sonia says that she found it hard to adjust to being single but she kept a journal of her feelings and found that this helped. She was scared of being on her own at first but she worked through the fear, she started meeting new people and, after about three years, she began dating again. Other people take longer to start dating again. I recently met a lady who had been divorced for eight years and was only just starting to feel comfortable with the idea of dating.
The most important thing about redesigning your life is that you are happy with yourself, that you like yourself and the life you have made. This is why negative emotions can hold you back. Many people find that divorce makes them stronger. They are no longer prepared to tolerate things that they don’t like. If you are happy with yourself you don’t need to tolerate anyone because emotionally you are self-sufficient.
Make time to really decide what you do and don’t want and then plan the steps you need to take to redesign your life. The biggest challenge is deciding what you do want. So many people don’t know, maybe you haven’t even thought about it?
Steps to redesigning your life
Set aside a couple of hours, go somewhere you won’t be disturbed and think about what you want your life to be like. Write down all the things you would like to be, do and have. Write everything down, however crazy it may seem.
· What did you used to enjoy before you were married?
· Did you sacrifice any dreams, ambitions or hobbies during your marriage?
· Imagine that you are 90 years old, looking back over your life – what memories would you like to have?
· What would you like people to be saying about you?
Now think about what steps you could take towards achieving your perfect life. Don’t think that it’s hopeless and you can’t change anything; think about what is stopping you from being, doing and having what you want. By making small changes, going one step at a time and trying different things you can change your life.
Five secrets to creating a life you love
- Know what you want.
- Be willing to take action.
- Believe that there is no failure, only feedback.
- Be willing to try different things – if what you are doing isn’t working then do something different.
- Be positive and believe that you can create a life you love.