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Divorce recovery: how to rebuild your life in healthy ways

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Some people compare the pain of divorce to the pain of losing a loved one through death.

It’s one of the most traumatic life events a person can go through.

Though the trauma of divorce seems insurmountable, it offers an opportunity to grow.

Here are 4 phases you will likely experience on your divorce recovery journey. And how to traverse them in healthy ways.

1. Emotional instability

Whether or not you initiated the divorce, you will experience extreme emotional instability.

Immediately after divorce your focus should be on stabilizing your emotions and finding support to help you through.

Immediately after divorce your focus should be on stabilizing your emotions and finding support. Click To Tweet

Seek support groups like Divorce Care, take time off work if you need to, and focus on self care.

People you assumed would support you may not. This is incredibly hurtful and shocking, but you must protect yourself.

This may mean creating distance or even saying goodbye to some relationships. If you are lucky enough to have supporters, be clear with them on what you need.

Decluttering will help you gain control and eliminate some bad feelings. Get rid of things that remind you of him or that represent the compromises you made.

Resist the urge to bash your ex. You might gain sympathy but it’s no way to gain respect from yourself or others.

Resist the urge to bash your ex. You might gain sympathy but it's no way to gain respect from yourself or others. Click To Tweet

Have the integrity to let others think what they will. That includes your children. Even if you have to bite your tongue clear off, do not disparage their father in front of them.

Try not to get caught up in how he’s raising the children when you’re not there (as long as they’re safe).

Instead, make the most of the time you have with them. Release the desire to control what happens when they’re with their father.

2. Healing

After your emotions are under control, you can begin to look at what didn’t work so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

Try not to blame everything on your ex-spouse. Remember, you had a part to play, too. Have the courage to own up to that and bring it to the Lord in repentance.

This sets you free, while blame and martyr syndrome keep you in chains and stop you from moving forward.

Forgive your ex-spouse even when it’s hard. This has the added benefit of setting an excellent example for the children. It also makes it easier to speak about their father in positive ways.

Ask yourself why you chose your spouse. I picked someone who ignored my emotional needs the same why my family had. Being treated like I didn’t matter felt like home to me.

After healing from the wounds of emotional neglect, the skin condition I’d been dealing with for years went away.

Figure out your likes and dislikes that you might have ignored while married. Have a love affair with yourself before looking for a new partner.

3. Putting yourself out there after divorce

Are you ready to begin dating again? Or perhaps you want to keep dating yourself and do some solo travel.

This phase is a learning process. As such, you should be on the look out for red flags when meeting potential partners.

divorce

You have learned from self-examination after divorce in phase 2. But you’re still vulnerable and need to protect yourself with effective boundaries.

Be realistic and guard your heart. Online dating, especially, comes with an escalating number of predators.

Be realistic and guard your heart. Online dating, especially, comes with an escalating number of predators. Click To Tweet

Do your research on the person including a Google search. Get evidence they are who they say they are. Know your deal breakers and don’t compromise to keep the person.

View dating as a weeding out process and let them weed themselves out! Do not change to please someone but keep your standards. Let them go if they don’t or won’t meet them.

4. Renewed confidence

This is the stage after divorce where you feel like yourself again. You have solid boundaries and know how to protect them.

You stand up for yourself and seek things that fulfill you rather than what pleases others. You’ve left people pleasing behind.

You have confidence that God has an amazing future in store for you. You’ve taken the steps to live an intentional life.

That means you create your reality rather than reacting to what others want from you. You are submitted to God rather than other people.

This ensures you are living in integrity, making the most of your gifts, and enjoying life to the fullest.

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