Divorce brings a lot of uncertainty and many questions, not least of which is “What happens now?” Beyond the practicalities of day-to-day living, many divorced moms are left wondering, “Can I be happy with a life that doesn’t look anything like what I thought it would?”
The short answer to that second question is YES. It is possible to create a life you love after divorce. It may not happen overnight, but it is possible.
How do I know that?
From both personal experience and information gathered from other divorced, breadwinner moms.
As I drove back from the airport one cold January morning, after dropping my daughter off to return to college, I wondered if life would ever be easy. A particularly demanding project had consumed almost all of my time during the kids’ winter break. I was tired, frustrated and resentful. More than two years after the divorce I thought life would better but, I still found myself repeating patterns of too much work, not enough time, too little money, and very little joy.
“Was it possible for a divorced breadwinner mom to have fun and balance and a life she could love at least sometimes, or was that just wishful thinking?”
That question gave rise to an idea. Why not research the answer, using myself as the primary participant? I could find out what other divorced moms had done to become happy in their lives after divorce and experiment with those ideas in my own life. Then I could share what I learned to benefit other divorced moms, too.
That’s just what I did.
I started a blog (www.thedivorcedbreadwinnermom.com), and I used a non-scientific approach to interview other divorced moms who rated themselves as very happy (9 or 10 on a 10-point scale). Along the way, I discovered the fun, balance and happiness I had long desired and seen in others. You can read more about me in some of my previous articles here on divorcedmoms.com, such as this one on how divorce transformed my life for the better.
I distilled the information I gathered, along with my own experiences, into four key points that make up the framework for a life you love. The four guidelines you can use to assemble the pieces of your post-divorce life are:
1. A spiritual foundation is essential; toughing it out on your own makes things harder than they need to be.
2. See your life as having purpose and meaning, not just getting by.
3. Let go of how you thought your life would look to make room for the new possibilities that unfold.
4. A shift in perspective is all that is required to start turning things around; your challenges are also opportunities for growth.
You can apply these points wherever you are in your divorce process; they are relevant no matter if you are just thinking about divorce or have been divorced for many years. You can apply this framework as you continue to grow over time.
Don’t be discouraged if you are just starting out and everything isn’t suddenly, magically wonderful. Some women make the transition to a life they love in just a few months after divorce, but for most, it takes at least a year or two.
I was married for 20 years and was ready to make changes right away, but it took me over a year before I began to feel joy once the initial rush of freedom passed. It took several more years to experience life as joyful most of the time, but after five years I’ve found that I love my life most of the time. And life keeps getting better and more joyful as I continue to apply the four points listed above to the changing circumstances of my life.
My book Create a Life You Love after Divorce expands upon the four points outlined above to incorporate the tools, tips, and practices that helped me and the women I interviewed transform our lives from stressed-out single moms to happily divorced breadwinner moms in just a few short years. Stories and examples from the divorced moms I interviewed illustrate and expand on each of the four points. The book also includes exercises and tips you can apply to your own circumstances and comes with bonus resources, including a downloadable workbook for your personal use.
I described an earlier version of these points in this article I wrote for divorcedmoms.com, available on the site at no charge. If you want more depth on the four points, you can find the book on amazon.com.
Why not start now to create your own best life after divorce in 2016?
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