6 SUPER Important Do's And Don'ts Of Post-Divorce Recovery

6 SUPER Important Do's And Don'ts Of Post-Divorce Recovery

Recovering from your divorce the healthy way will make ALL the difference.

Going through a divorce is typically a very painful and vulnerable time in a person's life. Even if your spouse was a complete scoundrel and you welcomed the divorce with open arms, there's still a lot of emotional fallout that one goes through. The following is a list of a few do's and don'ts to help you navigate the waters of trying to get through this tumultuous time.

1. Do take time to grieve the loss of the relationship. 

Going through a divorce is one of the most painful experiences you'll ever go through in your adult life. It's supposed to hurt. Perhaps this is why most churches preach against divorce. We weren't meant to go through all of that pain if we can help it.

It's painful to break up the life you had with someone. Whether you spent two or twenty years with someone, when you've intertwined your life with them your hopes, dreams, life plans, and then try to disconnect all of that, it's painful.

In general, there are 5 stages of grief; just as if you were grieving a death, grieving a relationship and former life goes through a similar grief pattern. And, in a way, it is a death. So during this time take the time thoroughly heal, and don't let your friends or anyone else tell you to "just get over it" or try to force you to move on too soon. Friends and family mean well, but sometimes they give us the worst advice. Be strong enough to say, "I'm not over it yet."

There's no rush and no magic formula for how long it will take. Some have said 1 month for every year to get over it. I've found this isn't true. It really depends on how strong the relationship was before it ended and how it ended. I dated someone for 2 years once, and it was a very tumultuous, rollercoaster kind of relationship. It took me 9 months before I was fully over it. Don't force yourself, however, if it's been years and you're not making progress in moving on; you may need to consider seeing a good therapist.

2. Don't start dating before you're ready. 

Don't fall for the lie "the fastest way to over one person is to get under another." This is the biggest trap and will make the process worse. I know you're hurting and you just want the pain to stop, but jumping into bed or a relationship before you're fully over your failed marriage sets you up for more hurt and heartache.

You're in a lot of pain and you want it to stop, so every day can require a huge effort to get through at first. It's common to feel like jumping into a new relationship, or even into bed with someone will ease that pain of being alone and feeling rejected. While it helps temporarily, in the morning, the hurt will come back. If you jump into a relationship too soon, you're not only stopping yourself from thoroughly healing and getting to know your new self, but you are also hurting any chance you have of the new relationship really surviving.

When you're newly divorced you're also very vulnerable, and many times you end up getting used and taken advantage of. Users seem to have a homing beacon for the very vulnerable, and while you may see the signs that this person is playing you, secretly you're hoping they're playing everyone else but you and ignore the signs. In the end you're not only dealing with the wounds from your divorce, but now the fallout of being used by someone who wasn't good for you. This is a danger you can avoid if you wait until you're fully over your divorce and not so vulnerable.

3. Do learn to let go.

It feels like the pain will never go away, but believe me, eventually, it will. Slowly but surely, little pieces of yourself will starting coming back to life. Do not hang on to a life that has ended. Learn to accept that the relationship has ended. This is especially difficult if you didn't want the divorce, but for whatever reason, the marriage/relationship ended, and you must learn to accept it.

Appreciate the good parts of the relationship and learn from the bad. Figure out what led to the relationship ending, what didn't work in the relationship, and learn the lessons. This can help you learn from it and make better choices going forward. Part of letting go is accepting your new life as a single person/parent, and getting to know yourself all over again. Learn what you're willing to tolerate and what your deal breakers are. Figure out what the worst parts of you were in the relationship and fix them. Make a new and better version of yourself for you to go on and have successful, healthier relationships.

4. Don't use your kids to control or get back at your ex-spouse.

Unfortunately, this is all too common, especially when one spouse didn't want the divorce and is bitter or resentful to their ex. Some ex-spouses also try to turn their children against their ex or control their ex if they feel they didn't get enough financial support out of the divorce. Bashing your ex to your children is not healthy for you, and it's certainly not healthy for the kids. As angry and hurt as you are, that's still the other parent to your children, and they have a right to have a healthy relationship with their children. It's called parental alienation, and it's not good. Do not poison them against your ex spouse, ever.

5. Do see a good therapist.

If you really want to heal your wounds and get over your divorce with the least amount of baggage, enlist the help of a good therapist. A good therapist can help you find emotional healing, help you sort out mixed feelings and own your part for the end of the relationship, and help with any roadblocks you might have to moving through the pain and starting over. A good therapist can also help you deal with pain and find healthy ways of coping with it.

6. Don't let a nasty divorce spoil you against finding love or marriage again.

This marriage didn't work, but that doesn't mean that all marriages won't. Some people who get divorced vow they'll never get married again, like Skinny Girl creator Bethenny Frankel. Bethenny is going through a bitter divorce resulting in battles over custody and her Skinny Girl fortune. Recently, she did an interview where she said that she will never get married again, and that she may have committed relationships later but the law doesn't ever have to enter into it. Of course she feels this way! She's going through a nasty divorce!

In today's society in America, the laws around marriage really have to do with dividing assets, finances and children. The basic commitment of marriage isn't a contract like most people think. It's a bond, not a contract, and it's very common for people to swear off marriage forever after going through an ugly divorce. Of course you'd feel this way when you're coming from a place of hurt, anger and resentment. Many people feel that if they get into a serious relationship but avoid making it legal through marriage, if that relationship doesn't work out, somehow it will hurt less. Believe me, whether legally married or simply living together in a committed relationship for years, if the relationship ends, it hurts just the same. The only thing you're protecting yourself from is truly bonding and sharing authentic happiness with someone.

Major Signs You're Not Over It Yet:

  • Your posts on Facebook talk about how broken or depressed you are: If you're still lamenting on Facebook about being alone, being sad or what your life was like when you were married, you're not ready to move on.
  • You can't hang out with your friends or coworkers without talking about the split or your ex: If you can't make it through one social gathering without talking about the divorce, the pain or your ex, you're not ready. The biggest turn off to a new relationship or partner is hearing all about the ex, and when we haven't fully gotten over it, it's very common to do nothing but talk about them, even if all you do is bash them. If you can't make it through a night without talking about it to your friends, you won't be able to make it through a date without talking about it either.