Divorce is the final chord of complicated relationships. Anything could precede it, hence the variety of life dramas, which cannot be covered within this one article. Psychological recommendations depend on what happened before the divorce, and most importantly, on how the former spouses feel in such a post-traumatic situation.
It happens, of course, that people part peacefully, realizing that the relationships come undone: they kiss on the cheek, thank, shake hands, wish all best and go their separate ways. But it happens very rarely. More often, divorce turns into a drama, and sometimes, for one of the spouses, a real challenge, which may feel like a life collapse.
Indeed, in long-term relationships, partners often disappear into a relationship, they link their lives, habits, attitudes, and goals together (which usually is a real problem leading to divorce, but that’s another story). In general, it is not surprising that, after a divorce, for many, loneliness seems something frightening. In such a situation, a person begins to seek reliance and support desperately. This goal is true, but unfortunately, many people in a depressed emotional state understand support as pity. And although crying a little after a divorce is a natural emotional let-out, self-pity does not really help to cope with divorce and loneliness.
Pity is something that allows you to fully transfer responsibility for the situation to someone else from your ex up to astrological stuff. This approach is as tempting as it is detrimental. Fear of being responsible for yourself and your actions immediately prompt a person to a new relationship, usually more and more unsuccessful, so the person gets used playing the victim. What happiness can we talk now?!
Statistics confirm this fact. It is the swift remarriages after a divorce determines the divorce statistics in the second and third marriages. It would seem that having the experience of marriage, people can take a more responsible approach to the following relationships. However, according to the data collected by onlinedivorce.com in Georgia, where 46% of first marriages end in divorce, the divorce rate for second and third marriages is even higher – 64% and 71% respectively. Divorce specialists explain that a lot of people really remarry very soon after the first divorce, “on the rebound” of it.
Divorce is not easy, but loneliness is not a tragedy. Moreover, you need not “coping with” but enjoying loneliness. Enjoying loneliness means to be at peace with yourself, to be self-sufficient, and to let the whole thing go. Besides, this is the first step to be happy in the next relationship. People say: “Love yourself first, and you will be loved by others.” So, don’t rush, and have a break to know yourself better, and to become really free. And here are some tips on how to learn to enjoy loneliness after a divorce.
1. Accept the fact of divorce as neutral
Not so good, not so bad. Everything has changed. This is a fact, so let it be. Any situation has good sides. When the time passes, you will be able to look at the situation from the outside, to analyze and draw conclusions. But this will be later.
2. Stop blaming
First of all, stop blaming yourself and sorting out what you did wrong. For some reason, this is the hardest thing, especially for a woman abandoned by her husband. Everything that happens in a relationship is the responsibility of both. Realize what your mistake is, but do not exhaust yourself with an infinite sense of guilt – the most useless of all. All feelings are needed for something, but guilt causes psychosomatics, and that’s all. It is equally important to stop blaming your ex-spouse – this will destroy you and you only, but he/she doesn’t care. Besides, do not speak negatively about ex-spouse in front of the child.
By the way, how to explain divorce to children?
- For the psychological health of your child, it is essential that you do not feel guilty before the child.
- If your son or daughter is old enough, explain what you see fit, but avoid judgments. Remember, your ex-husband(or ex-wife) remains the parent of the child forever.
- Arrange that the visits of the second parent become part of the everyday life of the baby so that the child does not perceive the meet with the parent as a unique, extraordinary event.
- And make of this visit neither a holiday nor a day of mourning for the broken marriage.
3. If divorce is the final decision, do not delay the inevitable
The pain of loss usually passes through two phases: protest and despair. Be aware of this and take care of yourself. Remember: everything that you do in a post-traumatic situation can be aimed only at yourself, and not at all at your ex-partner. Often, if the feelings have not faded away, in the protest phase, the mind clouded with loss will try to fix something. It will offer to meet “for the last time,” to talk/write and explain everything, to watch ex-spouse’s every move, go to the fortuneteller, to improve the image and suddenly(?) to catch his/her eye… In the first days (weeks, months) after a breakup, deserted wives and husbands dream of returning their loved ones, sometimes doing strange and ridiculous things. Their condition is close to paranoia, and to achieve the goal, they spend a vast amount of energy, turning life into a “return-and-farewell” swing.
Why is intimacy during a break more sweet than intimacy in a stable relationship? An unexpected result or an unwarranted gain raises the level of dopamine – the hormone of happiness – higher than the expected prize. That is, a meeting with ex-spouse for a cup of coffee, conversation, or sex will raise the dopamine in the body significantly.
A person may become addicted to these meetings like a drug. As a rule, this leads to nothing but only emotional exhaustion.
4. Give yourself time and opportunity to feel sad
After the protest phase, the despair phase begins: divorced people, having tried all the methods and tricks, still has to accept the breakup. Life loses its meaning. Colors fade. Nothing pleases. What to do?
There are very thoughtful recommendations for working with grief:
- Do not to be alone if you have a period of depression;
- Do not hold back tears if you want to be sad and grieving (but at the same time, sobs from morning to night for months are a direct indication for a visit to a therapist);
- Do not restrain anger (not gossiping about “this jerk,” but getting the aggression out in more healthy ways, like shouting, singing loudly, or punching a boxing bag.)
- Do not give up on yourself so easily. Remember! A crisis is the best period to review your life, focus on yourself, and become happy!
- Do not immediately try to fix up your love life. At this stage, it will be unsuccessful, and, in case of failure, your self-esteem can suffer greatly. Studies say it takes at least a year to break free from old relationships and be ready for new ones.
5. Come up with your life, create your own world
This is easier said than done. It is much easier for people who believe that they have a whole life ahead of them, who stand firmly on their feet and live fully, than those who have dedicated themselves to someone. The only thing that such people (both men and women) are very rarely dumped.
So, what does it mean to live following your own new rules?
- Find new meanings, learn to understand yourself, and build a life “without him/her.”
- Go to a psychologist or therapist and work through the conflict, significant childhood experiences, and so on.
- Read books and look for the light at the end of the tunnel in someone else’s experience. Don’t try to console or justify yourself with this. Just analyze, try to look at the situation from the outside.
- Discover the joy and depth of loneliness, the truth that you are your own holiday, and the world is preparing you many more surprises.
- Distract from depressive thoughts with kind of “occupational therapy.”
- Work out, go sports, make a repairment, sign up for volunteer work. Such activities help to find the reason for being and improve your self-esteem better than endless reflections and rationalization. Along with it, upgrade your image and take your health more seriously. You need strength, youth, and energy for your new life.
From now on, you live in the present, and not in your illusions. It is difficult to accept (therefore you have been clinging to the illusion for so long), but if you take the divorce as insight and a valuable lesson, the mess that reigns now in your life will end and teach you a lot.
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