How To Survive the First Year After a Divorce
The first year after your divorce will be filled with new experiences, both good and bad. You might have a great time dating again, or you might deal with serious financial setbacks while adjusting to a single income. Whatever obstacles you face, take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone. Up to half of all marriages end in divorce, which means there are several people like you who are learning how to adjust and acclimate to life after divorce. The important thing to remember is that you have options, and you get to start this next chapter of your life on a positive note, if you choose.
To make the most of this chapter of your life, read through these helpful tips to get you through the first year after a divorce.
1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Going through a divorce can be extremely difficult, and you likely feel a complex mix of emotions now that it’s all finished. While you might want to take some time to relax and be by yourself, don’t dwell in the dark for too long. Try to get moving again after your divorce and seek out new experiences. Join groups, take fun lessons with friends or family, pursue a new educational goal, or start a new hobby. Whatever you do, explore this new phase of your life and work on taking care of yourself.
2. Find Support
There will undoubtedly be ups and downs throughout your first year after divorce. You may feel sad one day and angry the next, or you might be feeling so many different things that you simply don’t know where to start. On the other hand, some people go numb from the shock of it all. Whatever your situation, make sure you have a support group. Everyone’s support system looks a little different—you might call up a sibling, a good group of friends, your parents, or turning to a therapist might be the best option for you. Make sure you ask for help and reach out to those who you love and trust. You may feel like asking for help would make you a burden, but remember, your friends and family love you and they want to provide you with the support you need.
3. Invest in Your Kids
If you have children, value the time you get with them and help them through the first year after divorce. This new life is an adjustment for all of you, so make sure you pay attention to their needs and look out for any changes in behavior, as this may indicate some stress or emotional trouble. Try planning fun activity days, whether that means arts and crafts on the living room floor, a game at the park, or a trip to the local amusement park. Whatever you do, remember that your children still need to do fun family activities, even if your family dynamic is a little different now. If you’re worried about taking the kids on an outing solo, team up with another single parent friend, or start off with smaller, more manageable activities.
4. Date… Or Don’t
Do what feels right when it comes to dating. Getting back out there can be intimidating, and not everyone is ready to date again within the first year after your divorce. Dating someone new after your divorce can feel empowering and exciting, whether you just want to re-acquaint yourself with meeting new people or if you are looking for a new relationship. Whatever the reason, it can be a great experience.
However, being single and enjoying your independence can be just as freeing and exciting. Remember that everyone is different and there is no set path or timeline you need to follow, just make your own choices based on what you think is right for you.
5. Watch Your Finances
Divorce often results in a disruption of your finances and lifestyle. Even if the disruption for you was minor, make sure you take the time to monitor your finances during the first year after your divorce. Separating your incomes can be very challenging, especially if you are now responsible for rent payments or a mortgage on your own. Some people have to reenter the workforce after their divorce, and that can also be a huge adjustment, especially as a parent. Whatever your circumstances, make sure you plan ahead for your financial future, creating a manageable budget and taking stock of your new economic situation.
Coping with change isn’t usually easy, especially when the change you’ve gone through is as life-altering as a divorce. This first year after the end of your marriage, make sure you take the time to invest in you, value time with your kids, and mindfully adjust to your new lifestyle.
Contact McKinley Irvin at our Oregon office to discuss your divorce case with our family law attorneys.