Healing Your Heart and Soul; Life After Divorce

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By Susan Heckler

A marriage is much like a fingerprint. Each one is different with subtle vari- ations. And, like a fingerprint, a marriage leaves a lasting impression on you. When the marriage has run its course and the time has come to part ways, raw emotions come into play regardless of who initiated the divorce. We each feel the loss, not just of the relationship, but also of mutual dreams and commitments.

No two divorces are the same; they are as unique as the individuals that comprised the marriage. There are, however, certain constants that run through everyone involved.

Your divorce launched you into unfamiliar territory. Everything in your life
has been disrupted. This includes your routine, responsibilities, your living arrangements, as well as your relationships with family and friends. You are no longer someone’s significant other; your identity needs to be redefined. Life goes on, just on a different course.

It is very normal to be overwhelmed emotionally. Expect feelings of sadness, anger, exhaustion, frustration, confu- sion, anxiety, elation and any other emotion you can think of. They can slap you in the face at any time, and that is nor- mal. You are in for an adjustment period of indefinite time; we all cope in our own way at our own speed. Give yourself time to stay at your Pity Party, but understand the longer you stay, the more entrenched you are in the negative. Your ultimate goal is to move on and be happy.

One of the most important things that will help you heal is your support system. Hopefully you had a good safety net to catch you during your rocky marriage and turbulent divorce. Let your friends and family be there for you; talk to them. Venting is good. Be with the people you love; being alone is okay, just not all of the time. Feeling the love and support of those around you will remind you of just how loved you are.

If you find your support system lacking or not local, you may want to join a support group of people in like circumstances. Meeting new people, especially singles, is great. Your married friends are of tremendous value in your life but sometimes being the only non-couple at the party can be depressing.

The strain and upset of your divorce can leave you not only psychologically vulnerable but also physically. Give your- self some relaxation and pampering time. Regular exercise is a great stress reliever and works as an antidepressant. Eat healthy; don’t take your mood out on your body. Now is a great time to pursue those hobbies and interests you always thought about. Rediscover yourself as an individual.

Remember, you are not the only one who got divorced. Your children are reeling and need their parent’s uncon- ditional love and support. Try not to involve them in the minutia and mind games. Avoid impulsive decisions when your emotions are on hyper-drive. What sounds like a good idea may be disastrous. Try to keep your sense of humor, it is much better to laugh at a situation than to cry and be depressed. Go have some fun and remember how to smile.

My rule of thumb…the best revenge is to live happily ever after. It is not The End.