6 Ways to Survive Divorce (Especially If It’s Not What You Want)
Are you trying to survive a divorce that you didn’t want? Even if there were problems in the relationship, it can be heartbreaking to lose your marriage and the one you loved. After all you had a lifetime of hopes and dreams intertwined in your relationship and future. But life has handed you this instead. We’re here to tell you something that you may not believe right now … but we believe it for you: You can handle this. In fact, you can do more than survive, you can come out better as a woman. Start by pinpointing the areas that are causing you the most pain, such as dealing with divorce as an older person, a senior, or a young person — who has no one in your circles who is divorced. Maybe you do know people, but you are struggling to stay positive. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions that can ensure you survive divorce, no matter how you landed here.
1. Survive divorce with a mantra
Have you heard of mantras? A mantra is a statement or slogan, which can be a single word or phrase that means something to you personally. You repeat your mantra while meditating or when you are feeling out of control. The ancient healing practice comes from Buddhism and Hinduism, but you don’t have to tie a religious context to your mantra. It’s about bringing you back to NOW and calming your nervous system. For example, you can start your mornings by saying your mantra out loud while watching yourself in a mirror. Repeat the mantra a few times each day and then throughout the day when you need to rebalance your mind. Mind Body Green lists the ancient mantras from Sanskrit texts, if you are interested in using a sacred language. Want to stick to English? Here are some inspirational mantras to get you started:
- Even if I’m alone I refuse to be lonely
- New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings (Lao Tzu)
- I am grateful for me
- I put myself first, last and always
- I am always true to myself
- Be free, be me!
- I will change my life by changing my mindset
- I am confident, I am beautiful, I am worthy
- I love and accept me for me
Use these mantras as your own or as kickoff points for mantras that matter to you. Change your mantra when it starts to lose meaning for you.
2. Surviving divorce as a senior
If you are older than the age of 50 and have been married for the last, say, 20 years, the notion of divorce, which is coined as a “silver divorce” or “the graying of divorce” is emotionally jarring. Rather than focusing on what was lost, reframe your story as getting a new and fresh start to the rest of your life. We recommend you start by moving out from your family home (yes, we know that is hard!) and finding yourself a new fresh place of your own. This will help you transition from married to single life, while reducing the burden of maintaining a larger home. Just as older individuals are finding new careers in their fifties, you can find new love, meaning and a happy life for yourself but you must start by making shifts.
3. Surviving divorce as a young or middle-aged woman
If you don’t know anyone divorced in your circles, it could make you feel ashamed, like there is something wrong with you. We assure you, it’s just a matter of time before you start seeing other women in your circumstances. But you cannot wait for them. Instead reach out to an older woman who’s been through it. Or find a divorce coach who can compassionately give you insight and perspective and help you take the next steps you so vitally need to move forward in your life. You need a mentor or guide: someone who knows what you are going through and who can help you avoid wasting time; someone who can show you where’s the good going forward. And mark our words, there is good!
4. Surviving at work
When you are dealing with a major life event, such as divorce, it affects all aspects of your life including your job. Your mind is elsewhere as you try and tackle the daily to-do lists. How do you stay focused and remain positive during this trying time? Business Insider suggests the following:
- Avoid communications with your divorce lawyer or ex while on the clock. Filter emails and silent texts when at work.
- Don’t feel obligated to explain your divorce to anyone whom you don’t want to. (Come up with a pithy statement: “He’s done. I am not.”)
- Or, if you are asked if there’s something going on or something wrong, explain in broad terms that it’s personal, while being friendly, and leave it at that.
- Clear out any family photos or keepsakes that remind you of your ex.
- Find ways to boost your mood, such as listening to upbeat music using headphones or reading a lightweight novel on your lunch hour.
Also, maintain your workload as usual during the divorce. By keeping busy and staying active with your work group you are less likely to sit and dwell on the divorce.
5. Surviving the weekends
While working is important for helping you move on after a divorce, all work and no play makes Jane a dull, and angry, divorceée. Fortunately for most women the weekends are free of the 9-to-5 duties. However, the weekends can open up the mind and heart to plenty of free time to sit and think. But it doesn’t have to! Take the weekends as your new self-improvement time. Here are some ideas:
- Join a book club and go bookstore browsing on the weekends. Then spend the rest of the weekend nose-deep in a favorite read.
- Organize a monthly brunch with your best friends. (Make a commitment to see your clan regularly. You are probably overdue.)
- Start a craft activity, such as painting, lettering, gardening in miniature, or knitting.
- Travel! You can take overnight trips on the weekends that will give you a new perspective on life and life your spirit.
- Take care of the grandkids, nieces, nephews or neighbor’s kids. Nothing will wear you out, while also healing your heart, faster than the busyness of children.
Kindling passions and finding new loves (and not male-focused loves) are the greatest strength for a woman going through a divorce.
6. Surviving with a divorce support group
All across the country there are divorce support groups that bring women together. You can find these groups, which meet in person, through a local house of worship and via Meetup. If you want to stay behind the computer screen there are also online, divorce support groups and support forums. Find a group that you feel is most comforting and run with it. (But don’t settle for a group that complains. Look for one that moves forward and does things!)
Surviving a divorce can be shattering and sometimes feel impossible on certain days, but you can do this. One step at a time, one day after the next, and you will pass through this phase in your life and on to the next. The key is taking small yet powerful steps like these, moving the needle every so slightly, just a little bit every single day.
What small step will you take now? Write it down and JUST DO IT.
Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oft times complicated experience of divorce and rebuilding their lives afterward. Schedule your FREE 15-minute consultation with SAS. Tell us confidentially what’s going on, and we’ll give you black & white feedback, resources and suggestions for your next steps.