As you process your divorce and attempt to move on with your life, it’s important that you surround yourself with people who make the transition easier. The whole process can be a long, drawn-out whirlwind, and having emotional and moral support—whatever that looks like for you—can make it bearable on the days when you don’t think you can push through any longer.
Here are 6 ways to build that solid support network after your divorce
1. Remember you are Not Alone
It seems cliché to say, and while you may feel like it, you’re not alone. Considering 70 percent of divorces are initiated by the woman, there are likely thousands of other people who have been in the exact same shoes as you and felt what you’re feeling.
It might take some effort on your part, but you can seek out these people, at work and through friends. This will likely happen naturally as you bring it up with people you’re close with, whether they went through it or have another close friend or did.
2. Your Circle of Friends Will Change
In a divorce, friends and family are naturally your first-choice safety net. Unfortunately, divorce impacts everyone around you and your circle of friends will likely change. For example, some friends you and your spouse made together probably won’t stick around. People don’t want to choose sides and many will want to stay out of it—and that’s ok.
Try not to hold hard feelings against those people and remember that your true friends will stay. If you have no friends outside the ones you both made together, your family will be your next closest support group. Hold tight to these people who stick around to support you, they’re not going anywhere.
3. Understand Your Family is Involved
Whenever a couple divorces, two families are no long joined together. As sad as it may be for you, it’s important to consider that your families might be hurting too or even feel some resentment. Everyone will deal with it differently and even your own family may be having trouble providing you with support, especially if they’re close with your children who are going through a significant challenge as well.
4. Positive Support is Out There
Professional counseling or religious counseling is a great way to pursue positive support. Don’t be ashamed if you need additional help, as sometimes friends and family members aren’t always the most helpful and perhaps don’t know how to provide the support that you need right now. Not to mention, you may not want to get into details with people who were close to you and your former spouse.
Talking through your feelings, stresses, anxieties and future plans with someone who is unbiased and trained to help you cope might be the best thing for you. If you seek religious help, get involved in small groups, support networks or even mentor programs—it’s a great way to meet others who truly understand how divorce impacts someone.
5. Get Moving—Literally
A great place to build a support group through a local gym or fitness studio. You can channel all of your emotions and negative energy into something productive like strength training, running on the treadmill or, better yet, a class where you’ll also meet new people.
Exercising releases endorphins, which promotes mental clarity, relieves stress and improves overall physical wellness—necessary for your happiness.
6. Look Ahead
One of the last things on your mind when you get divorced is going out and meeting new people. Once you feel ready, going out into the community can be refreshing. You’ll likely find a friend or two—from your local bartender to your barista—that can give you the support you didn’t know you needed.
If you’ve been out of work, consider getting back to your passions, pursuing your dream career or going back to school. This is a great way to find people who will carry you into the future, not hold you back in your past.