10 Things You Must Do In Your First Year As A Divorcée

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Everyone experiences the emotions of divorce differently, but that first year as a divorcee can be a variety of things. From transformative to stressful or perhaps both, the first year can set the stage for how you view life and love, post-marriage.

I highly recommend to all of you just getting your papers signed and official to make this year as positive as possible, even if there are quite a few sh*tstorms headed your way.

Here are 10 things you must do in your first year as a divorcée:

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1. Start a new hobby

It doesn’t matter what you choose, but pick a new hobby! If you’re broke and can’t get out of the house much, pick something you can do at home. I don’t care if it’s knitting, painting, scrapbooking, boxing, or cycling — whatever hobby you choose, make it something you do for yourself. Not a hobby to meet a new partner or make friends (although making friends is great), but it is something you can do for yourself.

It’s time you got to know yourself again. Think of yourself like a plant: after a divorce, you’re dry and thirsty for food, water, and sustenance. Feed yourself.

2. Get a physical

How healthy are you really? After an ordeal like a divorce, maybe you're not as healthy as you would like to be. Get a physical. Get yourself checked out. Assess how you feel so you can decide how to take care of yourself from here on out. Remember, you’re a dry and starving plant.

3. Travel to see a friend

Go see a faraway friend. Do it now while you’re single. If you’re a single parent, bring the kids. Reconnect with someone who brings you great joy. An old friend can really do your heart good. Think of this as “soul food.”

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4. Learn to love that one part of your body you can't stand

Do you know that one part of your body that you can’t stand? Well, you’ve got one year to make it better or make peace with it. By making it better, I don’t mean plastic surgery. I mean, if you can get fit and that will change how you feel about that “one awful body part,” get fit and change it!

If it’s not a matter of exercise, learn to embrace that one part of you that you don’t like. Stop letting it bother you and reflect on how you feel about yourself. Start to slowly love and accept it. The sexiest thing about someone is confidence. There is no replacement for a confident woman!

5. See a financial planner

See a financial planner, especially if you’re divorcing with serious debt or are a single parent. Get an idea of how good or how bad you are at saving for the future. Set some goals, whether they’re paying off credit debt or saving for a home. Get a grip on what you need to do in order to be financially stable and plan for the future.

6. Invest in a great sex toy

If you don’t own one, buy one now. Have a little fun with yourself. Decide what you like. Decide what you don’t like. Make some decisions about the kind of sex life you want to have post-divorce. Will it be raunchy and full of flings? Romantic? Will you hold out for someone special? Or will you do a combination of it all?

The reality is that many dead-end marriages experience either a lack of sex, bad sex, or sporadic sex. Reminding yourself that you get to start over this way is refreshing — and fun, too.

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7. Make lists

Make a list of the things your ex-partner did that unnerved you or you find to be incompatible with your view of love. Make a list of the things you did in your marriage that you’re proud of and not so proud of. Keep this list tucked away somewhere.

As you start to date and get romantically involved with others, peel this out sometimes as a reminder of your strengths, weaknesses, and things or situations you need to avoid in the next person.

8. Meet other divorcées

You need a network of people who just “get it.” Make this a weekly, monthly, or quarterly gathering. Get advice from people who have divorced and moved on. Most importantly, choose positive people to be around. You don’t want your first year out of a marriage to be spent surrounded by miserable people.

9. Check something unique off of your bucket list

This is the time to complete a bucket list item like no other. Even if you’re feeling hopeless, angry, down, or broken, checking off something no matter how small on that list is going to feel monumental. For the rest of your life when you think back on that first year being single after the disintegration of your marriage, you’ll remember achieving that bucket list item with pride.

10. Forgive yourself

I don't care if it's for something you did in the marriage or something that's been haunting you for years. Make this a year to start over completely. Tell yourself that what's done is done. and that going back to rehash it won't change the end result. Give yourself permission to let go of this wrongdoing and move forward by never feeling guilty again.

If you truly hurt someone, all you can do is be the best person you can be to everyone around you. No matter what, forgive yourself. It's so important to move on and have an amazing life.

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Laura Lifshitz writes about divorce, relationships, women’s issues, and parenting for The New York Times, Women’s Health, Working Mother, PopSugar, and more.