Following your divorce you need to go through a ‘grieving’ process. Your ex may not have died but the marriage has and you need some time to adjust. Several of the people I spoke to found it hard to adjust to being single again.
The following are some tips for helping you to adjust and move on.
Work out what went wrong in your previous marriage. The break up of a marriage is rarely completely one-sided. Be completely honest with yourself and own up to the mistakes you made. You can learn from these mistakes and ensure you don’t repeat them when you embark on a new relationship.
Don’t rush into another relationship. ‘Rebound’ relationships are almost always doomed to failure. Before you can love another person you need to learn to love yourself.
Start with the outside – how you feel reflects in the way you look. Pamper yourself with a new hairstyle and/or colour (most hairdressers will spend time discussing styles if you let them know you want this when you book), get your colours done, buy a new outfit (use a personal shopper to experiment with new looks – many large stores offer this as a free service).
Learn something new. Take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, continue your education. You will meet new people with whom you automatically have something in common.
Don’t develop a ‘victim’ mentality. Feelings of anger and bitterness are not helpful to you. Let them go. Writing your feelings down can help. Sonia, whose marriage broke up after seven years together, kept a journal; she found that writing her feelings down and reading them back later helped her deal with her emotions. Ros found that writing letters to her ex, expressing her feelings helped. She never sent the letters but they helped her to get her feelings off her chest.
Read positive/self-help books. My clients and people I spoke to in my research have said that the following books helped them. Feel the Fear and do it anyway – Susan Jeffers, Growing through Divorce – Jim Smoke, Coming Apart – Daphne Rose Kingman, Positive Affirmations – Louise Hay, Women who love too much – Robin Norwood, Men who hate women and the women who love them – Dr Susan Forward.
All the people I spoke to agreed it took time before they were ready to start dating again. The average seems to be two years. Two of the people I spoke to said that since their divorces they have met their ‘soul mate’ but this did not happen in either case until they had learnt to love themselves.
Nicolas was 31 when her marriage broke down after eight years, she met her new partner 18 months later. Although she was ‘mad about him’ she had difficulty committing to a relationship because she met him just as she was starting to enjoy being single. She says I remember thinking “why now – I’m just beginning to have a life I own”.
This just goes to prove that when we are enjoying our lives we attract people to us. People like people who are confident, positive and happy.
For those of you who have only recently separated/divorced then please believe that things do get better. Life does go on and, in fact, often gets better. The biggest hurdle is learning to look after and love yourself. Start today by setting yourself one small goal – something that you can achieve easily and within a week. When you have achieved it celebrate and set yourself another goal. Before you know it you will be living a life you love.