With the beginning of a new year, our thoughts naturally turn to beginnings and big changes that can help create a happier, healthier life. However, when you’re experiencing something as life changing as a divorce, simple resolutions aren’t the first thing on your mind. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use the ringing in of the new year to help you refocus and begin to take steps towards rebuilding, both practically and emotionally. With a collaborative divorce, you will work with your partner and collaborative team to reach agreements surrounding your separation as peaceably as possible. This method, as opposed to a more traditional, combative approach, can leave time and energy for you to consider the possibilities of life after divorce.
So where to begin? Here are a few simple suggestions to get you started on the road to a new life and new you:
First, and perhaps most importantly, let yourself grieve. Even if the divorce was agreed upon by both individuals, it is important to give yourself plenty of time and patience to feel whatever you need to feel about the split. Everyone’s experience is different, so listening to yourself is very important. Find support where you need it, either professionally, with friends, or both. It’s ok to not be “normal” for a while.
Get to know yourself. Our roles as spouses become a big part of our identity. What does it mean to be you when you are no longer someone’s husband or wife? Using a journal can be helpful to get reaquainted with who you are on your own. Try making a list of all of the things you already like about yourself and another list of things you’d like to work on and develop.
Once you’re ready, make new friends. Oftentimes your social circle can be disrupted by a divorce. While your real friends will stand with you no matter what, you may find that people who you thought would be there for you aren’t picking up the phone. This is a great time to start meeting new people with similar interests as you. Look for activities you enjoy and you’ll naturally find yourself amongst like minded people.
Celebrate being single. Once you have made your way through the darker side of divorce, start focusing on the positives of being single. This can look like taking a trip you’ve always wanted, going out on dates, or sleeping in on a Sunday. Don’t feel like there is a right or wrong way to do this; everyone has their own timeline and way of doing things when it comes to processing a divorce. By embracing the change and looking for the positives, you can encourage growth as
No matter what, divorce will be challenging. Know that there will be low moments, but also look forward to, and never feel guilty about, the unexpected happiness and excitement that can come from rebuilding. Collaborative divorce provides a supportive and thoughtful environment where the practical issues can be worked out with a commitment to peace and resolution from both parties. This can set the tone for a positive and productive start to a new life.