Preparing for life after divorce
Going through a divorce is often mentally and emotionally difficult. Divorce can have a significant psychological impact on people even if the divorce is relatively amicable.
A couple of factors could make this worse. The divorce process in New York, like most states, is not typically short. New York law requires you to be separated from your spouse for one year and sign a written separation agreement before you can get divorced.
Once the divorce process is underway, property division and/or child custody issues usually become the focus. Figuring out these issues can be mentally draining and once your divorce is final, rather than feeling a sense of relief, you might be exhausted, depressed and worried about your future.
There are many strategies you can use to prevent this from happening to you.
Embrace new things, but not too much
Many people cope with loss or a stressful life event by trying to redefine themselves. While trying a new hobby, developing some new healthy habits or making lifestyle changes can be a positive thing, do not make major changes immediately after your divorce.
Remember that even though you are divorced, your marriage still happened and it will always be a part of your past. If you do try new things, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons and not to distract yourself from processing your feelings and healing.
The key is to strike a balance between acknowledging your past while focusing on your future.
Counseling and therapy have many benefits
Consider counseling or therapy even if you do not believe that you need it. Perhaps you are convinced that you can handle your emotions on your own and keep up with your responsibilities while going through a challenging time.
While you may be strong and resilient, everyone can benefit from talking with a counselor in a safe, confidential setting that allows you to talk through your emotions. It also gives you an opportunity to discuss your marriage and how to cultivate healthy relationships in the future.
Another benefit to counseling is it increases your chance of being able to maintain a respectful relationship with your former spouse. If you do not have children together, you can likely cut them out of your life entirely if that is what you want.
However, if you share children, you are probably always going to have to be part of each other’s lives. Counseling can help you learn how to do that.
Know when you need to be alone and when you need support
Finally, take advantage of your support system. You might want nothing more than to isolate yourself until you feel normal again, but too much alone time could do more harm than good.
Talk with friends or family who are there to support you when you need it, but do not feel obligated to say yes to every social invitation. Sometimes alone time is better.
Divorce marks the end of a chapter of your life. This is something that cannot be changed, but by taking time to grieve, heal and focus on your needs, you can create a better future.