7 Ways Divorce Makes You a Better, Stronger Person

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By Benna Strober, Psy.D., Guest Author - September 05, 2016

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Most people usually don’t get married with the intention of then getting divorced. That being said, making the decision to get divorced (or having it made for you) can be one of the most stressful, upsetting and scary times in a person’s life. The Social Readjustment Rating Scale, better known as the Holmes And Rahe Stress Scale, lists the top 10 most stressful events that can then cause illness in an adult. The number one most stressful event in an adult’s life is the death of a spouse with the second most stressful event being marital separation. When the scale was modified for non-adults, the divorce of parents was the third highest scoring stressful event (death of a parent was number 1).

With divorce being one of the most stressful life events a person goes through, there are two main end results on the other side; you can fall apart or you can become stronger.

How You Will Become a Better, Stronger Person After Divorce

1. You learn to be more independent. After being married for a number of years, you each have certain roles you play in the family; one is usually more involved in the childcare while the other might manage the bills and other finances. One might always be on top of when the boiler needs maintenance, when the dog needs to go to the vet or when the kids need to get their school supplies. After a divorce, you now have to be the one to do all of those things on your own. If you were not working while you were married and are now back out in the working world, you learn you can find a way to support yourself and your kids. If you were already working, you know you need to make sure you keep earning the best living you can while also taking care of your other responsibilities at home and with your kids.

2. You learn that you need to follow your heart and mind and do the right thing for yourself and your children, even if it’s a really hard decision to make. Getting to the point of actually divorcing is not an easy path. It might be more difficult at the start, and not get easy for awhile, but if you are true to yourself and know that it is the right thing for you and your kids it will make you stronger when you follow through with it. This also helps you with future relationships and knowing what you want and don’t want the next time around.

3. You become better at prioritizing. When you have to do it all on your own and you don’t have as much time as you did before, you need to set a certain order to what you are doing in your day to day life as well as in your overall view of life. Is it more important to switch over the next load of laundry or kick a soccer ball around with your daughter?

4. You become more economical. Budgeting is something you might not have been responsible for before your divorce. Do you know what you spend every month? How often do you run to the grocery store? How many short rides are you taking in the car that aren't necessary? Yes, you want to book a nice vacation away with your kids over the winter break but can you afford it? If it is important to you to get away with them, do your research, book early and start saving a little each week so you have spending money when there. budgeting your money will become a priority after your divorce.

5. You learn who your real friends are. Many people tell me they lose some friends when they get divorced. Whether it’s because they took “his side” or they don’t seem as comfortable around the new “single” mom, they just don’t know how to handle it or you just don’t seem to have as much in common with them as you previously thought, the true friends you have will be there to support you all the way. They will help you with your kids when they can, invite you out, even if you are no longer part of a couple, and reach out to you to check in if they haven’t heard from you.

6. You seek help for yourself and your kids. Going to therapy is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your kids when you are going through a divorce (or even when you are not!) Self-reflection is one of the best tools you will have to get you through this whole ordeal as a stronger, better person.

7. You learn that you can go through the most difficult time of your life and come out on the other side, not only still standing, but standing tall and proud of all you accomplished. No one ever said divorce was easy; if it was, a lot more people would probably do it. Knowing that you can survive and also thrive afterward is a pretty good indicator that you are now a better and stronger person.

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