It doesn't take a broken marriage to know the truth about divorce — it's incredibly difficult. Even when you know divorce is the best option, that you're better off ending a marriage than staying in it, and that nothing but good things will come from this decision, it's still hard. But instead of floundering in the aftermath, there are some things to keep in mind after a divorce so that you can navigate your new life without being too overcome with grief.
I know — you're just trying to get through each day. I've been there. But the thing about getting through each day is that you have to have a goal or a guide to follow. When something traumatic happens, especially when it turns your whole life upside down, you need to focus on being the best version of yourself in order to make it through. Greg Frank, CEO of DivorceForce.com, agrees with me. I spoke with him to hear about the incredible community he's helped build at DivorceForce and his ideas on things you need to keep in mind once you're starting your life again as a single lady. His tips are especially important if you have children, but they apply to anyone going through a divorce.
So take a deep breath, my friend. It seems like you'll never make it through, but when you keep these 13 things in mind, you'll find that you can heal faster and more efficiently without missing a beat. You'll be OK. I promise.
1. Don't Rely Solely On Your Friends' Advice
When it comes to your divorce, chances are you've reached out to others to ask for their advice about court, about custody, or just wondering how to make it through at the end of the day. "An attorney can tell you a lot of things, but it all depends on other factors," Frank says. "Do they have your best interests at heart, do they want to keep the litigation going, do they have their own motives — but you can't rely solely on your friends' advice either. Things can get personal quickly, and you don't want them to choose sides between you and your ex."
2. Seek Out A Support System
You can't make it out of a divorce alone, and often, you need a more specialized support system. "Meet other people currently in a divorce," Frank advises. "Get the support and compassion you need, compare and contrast your stories, discuss strategies, whatever you feel good doing."
3. Don't Use Your Kids As Messengers
Ever. Not even for little things like, "Why don't you ask your dad to wash your hair tonight?" or "Can you tell your mom to call me when she gets home?" Frank says everyone is guilty of it, but you have to make a conscious effort to not do it. "Your kids didn't ask for this, so keep them out of it at all costs," Frank says.
4. Get Out Of The House
"Don't hibernate," Frank says. While Netflix and your couch is OK when you need to decompress and chill, you can't make it a habit. Frank recommends getting active, making plans, and doing all of the things your ex hated.
5. Manage Your Emotions
You have to remember this or you'll never make it out of your divorce alive. "Your emotions are going to really be digging at you and that makes it tough to make the right decision," Frank says. "Bite your tongue, give up the argument, and think about if it's going to be worth it down the road." It's so true and the minute you realize that it's just your emotions making you feel crazy, the quicker you can get through those difficult days.
6. Take Control Of Your Own Attitude
Being divorced doesn't mean you have to be miserable, angry, or sad all the time. You're in control here. "Think about how you're going to handle the divorce, who you are going to be during and after this, and adjust your attitude from there," Frank says.
7. Find A Hobby
You can't let yourself get sucked into staying at home all the time, but if you're unsure of what to do, you may be at a loss. Frank suggests finding a hobby that keeps the focus away from the divorce and also acts as a stress release.
8. Utilize Your Free Time
Think about all the things you couldn't do before. Things your ex despised or the things you simply didn't have time to do because of the responsibilities of your relationship. Frank suggests making a bucket list of things you want to do now that you have the time. It's another great way to give yourself something to focus on without losing yourself in the process.
9. Don't Turn Down Professional Help
"You should seek the professionals," Frank says. "Therapists, life coaches, divorce experts — get their advice and insight." Divorce is not something everyone understands, so finding people who have no emotional attachment to you, your relationship, or your life can clear your mind and help you see the bigger picture.
10. Limit Divorce Talk
I know it's the biggest thing happening in your life, but you have to keep this in mind — you've said enough about your divorce. You don't want to be "that couple" says Frank, and you don't want your friends to get tired of hearing about your divorce. If you need to vent, obviously you can, but no one wants to hear about your divorce every time they see you. And obsessing about it? That's no good for you either.
11. Let Your Ex Live Their Life
"Don't stalk your ex on social media," Frank insists. "Just don't." And he's right. You need to let your ex live their life. If you have children together, that should be your only concern in terms of what he's doing with his life. The rest of it is none of your business and shouldn't be on your radar.
12. Keep Your Ex's Name Out Of Your Mouth
"Don't disparage your ex, especially if you have children together," Frank says. "But don't go on about your ex to your friends either. It forces them to choose sides and it can start a chain of events that leads to your kid hearing from your friend's kid about the thing your ex did." I know it's hard, trust me, but talking sh*t on your ex does absolutely no good. It won't even make you feel better.
13. Remember You're Never Fully Divorced
The biggest thing to keep in mind? If you have children, you're never fully divorced. "You can sign those papers, but you have a child," Frank says. "The vast majority of time, this person is going to be in your life. You have to figure out a way to get along. You have to." Once you keep your kids in the front of your mind and focus on a good co-parenting relationship for them, it can make all of your decisions about your divorce easier to handle.