Once the divorce papers are signed, the issues and challenges of divorce don’t magically disappear (as much as we wish they would). There’s no on-and-off switch to the emotional and logistical baggage that comes along with such a drastic life change, and everyone’s journey will look different as they navigate new waters and start the next chapter.
The good news is that you’re not the only one facing these challenges. Newly divorced individuals often deal with the same patterns and roadblocks as they try to get on with their lives, which means there are lessons you can take from those who have gone before you that you can apply to your life to help overcome them.
Learn about 9 common life challenges post-divorce and tips to work through them and come out on the other side.
Finding a “New Normal”
Your life as you previously knew it is gone, and facing that reality can be a difficult hurdle. Resisting the reality of the situation is a method of avoidance, and it won’t help you get back to a good place. Instead, try to process the situation and welcome the feelings that come up. Then, begin looking for new routines and “normals” you can utilize to create a new way of life that feels true to you so you can rewrite a future you’re excited about.
Supporting Your Children
Regardless of what you do, your kids will still feel the effects of your divorce. Giving them the space to have these feelings and work through them will do them a world of good. You can also be mindful of the way you speak to your ex, about your ex, and to your children about the nature of the divorce itself. If you’re not sure how to communicate things, a therapist may be able to help. Likewise, your kids may benefit from seeing a professional who can help them work through these major life changes with support from an objective and removed third party.
Reworking Friend Groups
With a divorce, you may lose some friends as people feel the need to take sides or may feel uncomfortable sustaining a friendship with both of you post-divorce. This can add to the feelings of grief and loss that often accompany a divorce. Leaning on the people who are in your corner, such as family members and close friends, can help you overcome these gaps. Additionally, putting yourself out there to meet new friends can introduce you to new people who can add incredible value to your new life.
Making a House a Home
Whether you’re in the same home, but it’s empty, or you’ve moved into a new space following the divorce, it can have a way of feeling like a foreign space. Without the people and routines that used to make it a home, you may feel unmoored and stalled in your ability to turn it into a home. Rather than race to the finish line of furnishing or re-furnishing a place, take your time and choose each item with care and great intention so you can curate a space that feels like home in every way.
A big struggle for many people post-divorce is the sense of loss of control. The reality is that we never really could control things, to begin with, but it’s a hard truth to face. Rather than fight the things in your life that may not be going as planned, try to embrace the uncertainty.
Getting Comfortable Being Alone
Without your kids in the house every day or a partner, you’ll likely have to do more things alone, which can feel uncomfortable. Yet, there’s something freeing about embracing your independence and being your own best friend. Start small, with a trip to a coffee shop or a solo meal at the bar of your favorite restaurant, and then try a trip by yourself, until you realize there’s no better company than your own.
New Financial Hardships
After divorce, many people face a drastically different financial situation than they were in previously. Whether you’re now paying a steep alimony payment every month or have lost half of the assets you had before, it can be hard to adjust. Eliminating unnecessary spending is an easy way to cut back without taking the joy out of life. You may also need to ask friends or family for financial help as you get on your feet. There’s no shame in that – and this stage won’t last forever.
Rewriting Your Story Post-Divorce
Your story is yours to write once you close the chapter of divorce. There’s all the potential in the world, and while there might be some fears or obstacles holding you back, you can steer your journey in any way you wish.
Find more guidance and insight on the divorce process and life after divorce on our Natalie Baird Mediations blog, or get in touch if you’re just starting the divorce process and are interested in a more amicable and affordable option, like divorce mediation.