Divorced women have needs, don’t ignore yours.
If, like countless other wonderful women before you, you have found yourself going through the journey of divorce – welcome! Armed with the right tools you will not only survive as a divorced woman – you will thrive.
Here is a list of ten things EVERY divorced woman needs:
1. Acceptance of what has happened
This is, of course, easier said than done, especially if the divorce was unwanted by you. But gaining acceptance of your situation is one of the BEST things you can do for yourself – even a grudging acceptance is better than none. Life may not have turned out exactly as you had planned BUT if you can allow yourself to let go of the idea of how it all ‘should be’, you may just create a life more beautiful, and more profound than the one that was taken from you. I did.
2. Your own source of income and your own bank account
Super important. If you don’t already have one, open a new account in your name only, and have your salary/wages paid into this account. If you’re not currently working – and haven’t in a long time – the thought of getting back out into the market will understandably be frightening. DO IT anyway – start somewhere. Both your bank balance and self-esteem will be rewarded if you do.
3. A support network
Girlfriends, sisters, cousins, work colleagues – you know who has your back.
If you’re having trouble finding anyone you can relate to – or who really understands what you’re going through – jump online and find a divorce support group – Facebook is a good option here. DON’T underestimate the importance of a support network to help with the feelings of isolation that will probably arise at some stage of the journey.
4. At least one person you can call at ANY time (day or night)
If you can find someone you can unreservedly lean on in this way – you are a lucky woman! The most obvious choice is here is your sister or best girlfriend – someone who knows and loves you, warts and all. Someone who won’t bat an eyelid listening to a sobbing, desperate mess of a woman at 6 am (that was me). Someone you can trust. Someone who is NOT your ex!
5. A new bed (or at least new bedding)
I bought a new mattress after my husband left – and it was heavenly (not to mention expensive)! But even if you don’t invest in a whole new set-up, it is truly a LOVELY thing to get your hands on some new bedding and sheets – not to mention girly cushions, pillows, and throws. All the stuff you didn’t bother having whilst married.
6. Regular nights out
I found this hard to do at first – even though everybody told me I should be doing it. The first few times I went out I felt like an outsider – I didn’t enjoy myself because I didn’t want to enjoy myself, I wanted to be a married woman at home with my husband. Then one night I went out with a single girlfriend and had a BALL, despite myself. After that night I realized my marital status should have no bearing on my ability to have fun and feel good. I made the decision to feel good, and I did.
7. A journal
When there’s nobody else to turn to, your journal can be your friend and therapist.
Write down what you are feeling – whatever you’re feeling. One thing you can be sure of is that you will be feeling a LOT. Some days bad, some days good. One of the truly great things about journaling? Looking back on what was passing through your head whilst grieving, and realizing (celebrating) just how far you’ve come.
8. A new wardrobe and/or hairstyle
A few weeks after my husband left I did both – not to extremes (money wouldn’t allow it) – but I did invest in a few new items AND had my hair cut into a different style. I would never have done both whilst married, but it somehow felt needed as a new and very suddenly single woman. Without wanting to sound frivolous or shallow – the impact it had on my psyche and wellbeing was significant.
9. Some time away from the kids
As a newly separated woman, I clung to my kids like a neurotic banshee. I wanted to be a martyr and do it all with no outside help, including (and especially) from my ex – their father. Once I started to come through the grief and venture into the big bad world on my own, I realized I was doing nobody – least of all myself – any favors. So I slowly but surely started letting them go and worked on getting a life of my own. Today, we’re closer than ever. In ensuring they spend some time away from me, I not only freed myself – I freed THEM.
10. Some goals
Last, but by no means least – think of some things you would have LOVED to have accomplished whilst married, but somehow never found the time, opportunity or courage to do. Something simple such as committing to an online course or joining a gym – or something bigger, such as going for your dream job or planning a trip abroad. This may all sound cliché, but it needn’t. Get the pen and paper out and start goal setting! This is your life now – make it how you want it to be.