Whether or not we’re in agreement with the divorce starting out on our own again can be tough.
We may have become immune to the situation at home, the long periods of silence, the bickering, the disappearing acts and even though the eventual split often comes as a relief it can still be distressing.
Divorce recovery or starting out on our own often causes significant upheaval. It can require finding a new home, adapting our existing home, reorganising our finances, sourcing a job, arranging childcare.
Many things may need to be dealt with at a time when we’re already feeling quite low.
Here are a few tips to help if in your journey through divorce recovery and when you’re starting out on your own again:
- Introduce your personality, some personal touches and put your mark on your home. Even if you’re renting or sharing with friends be sure you have somewhere you can call your own. Introduce colour, pictures, bright fabrics so that you have your own oasis of peace and calm. These things don’t need to cost a lot of money; throws, cushions, lovely textures and scented candles can be sourced at local markets and thrift stores but can add important touches of cosy comfort.
- If you’re remaining in the family home consider rearranging the furniture, altering your bedroom so that the place has a rather different feel. You may have let some possessions go due to the divorce settlement so use this as an opportunity to change things around and add your own flair and personal style. If you’re moving with children try to include them in the process by letting them discuss some of the decisions that affect them.
- There may be times when you find yourself on your own, lonely and wondering what to do. It may be tempting to bury yourself in work, domestic chores or hibernate at home for a while, but try to introduce good habits from the start. Invite friends to your place so that it starts to feel more homely. Friends will be happy to help out and contribute food or a bottle of wine if that’s a consideration for you. Have a pamper evening on your own with a pleasant supper, a leisurely bath or
time with a film or a good book. Plan to enjoy your alone times.
- You may find that you have a lot more responsibility now that you’re on your own. If you have children ask them to start helping a little. Even young children can help a little with chores, setting the table, tidying up and it can be important for them to feel that they’re contributing to the new family dynamic.
- Provide children with regular opportunities to talk. Let them know that it’s okay to contact their absent parent whenever they wish and provide times when you’re available to listen, answer any questions they may have and provide reassurance. Grandparents can be a valuable resource at these times, often able to provide children with loving support, wisdom, and plenty of time.
- You may need to make an effort to bring new friends of either gender or new interests into your life. Consider the value of going to places on a regular basis. Walking the dog, going to the gym, attending a weekly class, even shopping at the supermarket may provide opportunities for you to smile as you recognise regular faces, then gradually say hello, begin a conversation and perhaps agree to meet for coffee.
- Accept invitations that you know are safe. Even unlikely invitations can open new doors for you and introduce you to people and activities you may not have previously thought about. If you have to consider childcare make the effort to befriend other parents so that you can share the responsibility and alternate lifts, sleepovers and after school care.
- Be gentle with yourself. There may well be times, even when you’re with family or friends, that you feel lonely and alone. Avoid the temptation to make rash, hasty decisions and bide your time, letting yourself grieve, heal and work through your issues. Some people find that therapy can offer valuable support at this time, enabling lessons to be learned from the breakup, but whatever you decide to do, take your time, be gentle with yourself and begin to look forward to starting out on
your own again.
Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples experiencing relationship difficulties to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.
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