Divorce is easily one of the most stressful and impactful life experiences you can go through. Even if you believe this is going to lead to a better situation for both you and your partner, you’re still losing a partnership you’ve developed for years. On top of that, you’ll have many messy legal steps to go through, you’ll be facing a new living situation, and your finances could change drastically—especially if you have a high net worth.
Fortunately, there are some viable coping strategies you can use to reduce the burden.
How to Cope With a Divorce
These strategies will help you mentally and emotionally cope with your divorce:
- Work with the right lawyer. First, make sure you’re working with a good lawyer. Divorces can be messy, and can put you in a tough position—but the process will be smoother and you’ll end up in a much better position with the right legal help. A good lawyer will also support you mentally and emotionally throughout the divorce proceedings; they’ll be on your side.
- Acknowledge and accept your feelings. One of the best things you can do is acknowledge and accept your feelings, rather than fighting against them. It’s completely normal to feel angry, sad, or defeated in the wake of a divorce. When you feel these negative emotions, don’t wrestle with them; instead, pay attention to them and acknowledge that you’re feeling them. They’ll pass much easier and you’ll understand yourself better in the process.
- Remain separated. For the most part, it’s better to remain separated with your ex. Live in different homes and minimize contact when possible; communicating and/or living together can make everything more stressful.
- Understand the end goal is moving on. The end goal of the divorce is moving on, and it’s important for you to understand that. Some people, in the wake of divorce, attempt to get back together with their ex, or try to continue their old life without their partner. Instead, it’s better to start fresh and move forward with your new life.
- Create new environments and new routines for yourself. One way to do this is to create new environments and new routines for yourself. Living your life the way you did while married can make you feel more isolated, or resentful. Instead, find new restaurants to try, shake up your routine with new tasks and habits, and visit some new places.
- Focus on work (or a project). You can find temporary reprieve from your negative feelings by pouring yourself into work or a personal project. Spend a few extra hours at the office or pick up a side gig; you might also start a personal project, like painting the house or fixing up a car.
- Start a new hobby. Consider picking up a new hobby. Hobbies help you spend your free time in an entertaining and/or productive way, and can help you define your life in new ways. It’s also a great way to meet new people, which is ideal for expanding your social circle and finding comfort in others.
- Talk to friends and family members. Talk openly with your friends and family members, who are likely around to support you however you need. Tell them about your feelings and what you’re struggling with, and let them know how they can help you move on. While you’re at it, consider trying to make new friends and engage with them as well.
- Join a support group. If you’re still struggling, or if you don’t have many friends or family members to turn to, consider joining a support group. These groups are designed to bring newly divorced people together, and guide them in processing their feelings. Go to a session and get to know some of the people there. If you’re comfortable, talk about your feelings. You’ll likely find value in the emotional encouragement provided by others.
- Seek therapy. If you’re struggling with depression, or if you’re just not able to process your feelings on your own, don’t hesitate to seek professional therapy. A therapist will help guide you to new conclusions, and help you process your thoughts and feelings in a clearer, healthier way.
Everyone Is Different
It’s important to realize that everyone is different, and everyone is going to handle divorce a little bit differently. For some people, the best way to recover is to go out and socialize in big groups. For others, it will be better to stay in and spend some time alone. For some people, it will be best to stop talking to their ex altogether. For others, it will be best to check in at least occasionally. Experiment to find the right approach for you.