On average, 1 Million Americans each year manage to survive the divorce process, and yet these numbers are somehow not particularly reassuring to those going through the process, who feel like they are free falling into the bottomless pit of hell. Am I being overly melodramatic? Not even close– for those of us that have survived the free fall where you see the security of a life partner, your finances, your identity, your social life, and even your health all slip away.
When you are going through a divorce, you will undoubtedly feel out of control at times, perhaps even helpless at moments, and with each new insult that hits you it will become abundantly clear why so many experience a period of anxiety or depression while going through this miserable situation. In your darkest moments in fact, you may even ask yourself whether it would be better to drink poison or administer it. And hopefully that is when you wake up, and realize it is time to take back control of your life and climb out of the abyss.
Here are some tips on how you do that:
1. Get Control of Your Finances– make sure you have a sufficient income to meet your own expenses without relying on someone else. Balance your own budget so you don’t have to borrow from others or beg your ex for money.
2. Create a Stable Home– Set up your own daily routine that brings you comfort and joy. Get rid of clutter, decorate your own way, and establish a place you are proud to call your own.
3. Rebuild Your Own Life– Connect with your co-workers and neighbors, and try to make new single friends. Set new goals for yourself– take a class, travel, join a gym and rediscover parts of yourself that fell by the wayside during your marriage.
4. Forgive Yourself– Hindsight is 20/20, but sadly none of us have figured out a way to go back in time. If you ignored red flags, let things go too far, said or did things you shouldn’t have, compromised too much or not enough, okay let it go. Hopefully, you learned some valuable life lessons that you can not only apply in future relationships but that may help you help others you meet going through a similar experience.
This all takes time, so be patient. It took me almost a decade to get over my divorce. With lots of help from others, I learned to manage my own budget, create a stable home for my son and I built a life for myself that I am proud of, but the forgiveness piece took quite a long time. At 21, I was too young and naive to see that extreme opposites are bound to fail, especially when you don’t accept each other for the way you are and instead you stupidly keep hoping you will change one another.
You will get out of the divorce abyss, and life will move on, some wounds just take longer to heal than others so be patient– above all with yourself.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.