Divorce sucks. It’s one of a few events in life that is the best and worst at the same time. Every high comes with a low and the up and down emotions unless you are going through it. The truth is you will heal, but you have to stop doing some dumb things to help you do so.
Healing After Divorce Means You Have to Stop Doing These 8 Dumb Things
1. Quit thinking everyone is staring at you. They aren’t and if they are, screw them anyway. First of all, “everyone” is a big group of people that care the least about you. If friends you shared with your ex pre-divorce stare and judge when you are around them, hold your head high and smile. Responding to people who stare at you or cause you to feel uncomfortable because you're divorced with kindness and a smile is the best way to get them to stare for all the right reasons.
2. The voice in your head must stop saying “I won’t make it on my own. In the mess of your divorce, you will tell yourself “I can’t do this. There is no way I’ll make it.” Quit doing this! Divorce is hard. Period. You will have to change some habits and behaviors, but whatever “it” is, you will figure it out. You can worry and cry, but quit doubting whether or not you'll make it because you will. Believe it.
3. You're not the first person to ever divorce. You are not the only person to go through it. It’s true every divorce situation is a different story and a unique experience. Sharing your story is part of the healing process, but it’s silly to think no one can relate to how you're feeling. Beating yourself up and self-loathing that you’re the only one who’s ever been sad about being divorced is getting you nowhere. You have friends who want to help and hear your story. Ditch the poor-me syndrome once and for all.
4. Quit creating awkward “are we still friends” situations. Divorce brings a level of friendship awkwardness you can’t imitate unless you’re in the situation. You go through "those are his friends, these are mine, and some of them were ours" thoughts in your head. Quit worrying about trying to please the "everyone" group. All you’re doing is creating an awkward situation for yourself. Get brave and enter his territory – which is likely a public place anyway so not really anybody’s territory. Do so with a confident smile, a friendly hello and looking smoking hot. You create your own environment.
5. Stop thinking your kids hate you. This one is putting weight on your shoulders, especially if you’re in a situation where your kids were surprised by your divorce. You feel like you ruined their family unit and you’ve forced two households on them. Even on your worst days, your kids don’t hate you. It will take time and work to keep believing that, but they love you. And they need to believe you love them now more than ever.
6. One-upping instead of co-parenting. Your kids come home talking about something fun they did at their dad’s. They have pictures, they giggle and they talk about people you don’t even know. Your mind goes directly to “what can I do to one-up that?” You are wasting so much energy on this. Whether you like it or not, and most days you honestly won’t, your kids making memories with their dad is important. They need to see the value of a two-household family. The quicker you openly listen about their fun, the quicker you can move on to your time together.
7. Waiting for another guy to give you what you need. You’re independent and you’re teaching your kids this is a requirement of adulthood. You’ve learned – or you’re learning – a lot about what you want in your next relationship. Maybe you want to be a bigger priority or you want to be more open instead of bottling things up. Guess what? You can be all you want to be without a man. Quit searching in all the wrong places for a “him” to give you what you need or rushing to find it. Quit worrying you won’t be happy without “him.” Someday it will be great if you find him. But if not, you will be ok giving yourself what you need.
8. Answer why did you get divorced” simply and quickly. Like newlyweds hearing “when are you going to have kids” immediately after their honeymoon, you'll hear “what happened” after your divorce. There probably isn’t just one reason you got divorced. Depending on your situation, it may have taken 5, 10 or 20 years to build up the reasons it ended. There is no way you can explain it in a few minutes, but not everyone needs to hear your novel either. Come to peace with simply telling people it just didn’t work out.