Wondering how to start over after divorce? Moving on in life after separation or the divorce process?
Most often, divorce and its challenging moments make even the strongest people feel small, helpless, and hopeless. But it didn’t start out that way, did it?
When getting married, you probably dreamt of being married to a loving partner, raising children together, and then playing with your grandchildren, right? But considering that your relationship is over, you should get used to solo life.
It’s easier said than done, but the truth is you should take a brave step forward on your journey and move on from your divorce to a healthy new life. Here’s a list of the best tips on how to start a new life after divorce and deal with all the issues that go along with this period.
The Most Effective Tips on How to Start Over After Divorce
By following the recommendations listed below, you can significantly reduce the stress associated with the post-divorce period and learn valuable lessons from the past.
#1. Honor This Time to Grieve Your Loss
Has your breakup left you feeling overwhelmed with anger, sadness, and anxiety? Experiencing these emotions is completely normal, especially after many years of being married.
The thing is, divorce is often compared to death, so it can feel like you’re not only losing your ex but also a part of your identity. If you ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing, it will most likely lead to more complications in the long run. But if you let yourself grieve – whether it is by talking things out with a psychologist or crying while watching romantic movies – you will be able to heal sooner.
Remember that there’s no right or wrong way to feel after divorce. It takes time to adjust to a divorce, but make sure grieving does not last for so long.
#2. Lean on Family and Friends
Starting again after divorce can be challenging because of the heartbreak. But who can support you during this life-changing event better than your family and friends?
For example, if you need a shoulder to cry on, do not miss the chance to reach out and get emotional support from trusted family and lifelong friends. Turning to these people for support can help you feel less lonely and isolated. But avoid any group friendships or relationships that may put your ex-spouse on edge, e.g., parents of children at the same school, neighbors, and couple friends.
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#3. Engage in Self-Care
Another essential recommendation on how to start over after divorce is engaging in self-care. Most people going through marriage termination ignore basic physical needs, such as healthy food, regular exercise, and decent sleep, let alone their psychological needs. In turn, it can contribute to an increase in stress levels and depression.
If you want to recover as soon as possible and take your power back after divorce, pay attention to:
- Physical self-care: healthy diet, physical activity, adequate sleep
- Mental self-care: reading books, listening to music, practicing mindfulness
- Spiritual/social self-care: mediation, engagement in self-reflection, connection with nature
This isn’t just a tip for women, men too should pamper themselves during this time.
#4. Don’t Rush Into a New Relationship
One of the most popular “coping strategies” used by divorcing people is getting into new romantic relationships after barely finishing previous ones. To make the post-divorce process a tiny bit easier, they try to focus their attention on someone new. But can this method be considered useful for getting your life back together?
Considering that every person grieves and heals at their own pace, there’s no specific formula for figuring out how long you should wait to begin new relationships. At the same time, if you don’t spend enough time grieving the breakup and learning lessons from past relationships, you might end up in another toxic relationship.
Before jumping into new relationships, you should:
- Adopt a positive mindset
- Make sure you are mentally stable enough to handle the potential ups and downs of dating
- Reflect on what you do and don’t want in a new partner
- Analyze personal relationship mistakes and fix them
Otherwise, you will simply cover up a wound without cleaning it out first.
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#5. Connect with Your Passions
Whether you’re at the start of it all, mid-divorce and having to deal with divorce-related issues, or reaching the end, it’s always a good idea to connect with your passions or pick up new hobbies (if you don’t have any).
In fact, it can help you to cope a bit better, use up your spare time, and get acquainted with new people in some cases. For example, the list of hobbies for recently divorced people includes but is not limited to:
- Getting fit: gym, pilates, and a dance class
- Trying yoga that combines stress-reducing techniques
- Signing up for painting, quilting, ceramics, or photography classes
- Playing musical instruments or singing
- Learning to cook
- Solo traveling
No matter what hobby you choose, you will be able to take your mind off divorce-related concerns, reduce stress levels, and create a bond with others, which is extremely important for single people.
#6. Use Self-Help Resources
Currently, divorcing people have the opportunity to use a variety of self-help resources, including books, online resources, church programs, or support groups for like-minded people.
Thanks to these resources, you can educate yourself about divorce and its impact on different areas of life and meet people who have had a similar experience in their lives. Plus, you can receive expert advice on dealing with divorce and its complications.
Just search for bestselling self-help divorce books on the Internet or contact a mental health professional who can give recommendations regarding local support groups. In this way, you will have the opportunity to defeat the emptiness of divorce and start an exciting new chapter in your life.
#7. Expand Your Social Circles
It’s safe to say that friends of the formerly married spouses typically tend to feel closer to one of the partners and choose sides. As a result, divorcing people often experience feelings of social loneliness associated with higher depression, anxiety, and suicide rates. Besides, it can lead to an “increased risk of premature death from all causes,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Even though it can seem that there’s a barrier to expanding your social network after divorce, you should still do it to increase life satisfaction and psychological well-being. For example, you can make new friends by:
- Volunteering and giving back to your community.
- Inviting some coworkers to coffee, lunch, or a weekend walk.
- Using friendship and networking apps.
- Taking a class to learn a new language or improve skills in activities of interest.
- Going to public places, such as museums, zoos, aquariums, or national parks.
- Joining a post-divorce support group.
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#8. Learn to Be a Good Co-Parent
Adjusting to the challenges of being a single parent is one of the most important parts of post-divorce life. Simultaneously, by focusing on the shared goal of doing what is best for your children, you can enhance personal relationships with your ex. So, how can you be a good co-parent and make the transition process go as smoothly as possible?
- Spend quality one-on-one time with your child.
- Let your child know they will not be abandoned, physically or emotionally, by either of their parents.
- Don’t involve the child in your conflicts with your ex.
- Support the other parent’s relationships with your child.
In the end, keep in mind that your child shouldn’t carry the burden of a failed marriage, just like you shouldn’t live in fear of the future.
#9. Start Journaling
Whether you’ve journaled previously or not, consider this activity as a solution to dashing the anxiety demons during divorce recovery. Many divorcing people compare journal writing to having their own internal therapist, which is extremely important in the post-divorce period.
According to the research study published by the journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, writing about traumatic events, such as divorce, improves physical and psychological well-being. Not only does it reduce anxiety and depression, but it also strengthens the immune system.
So, feel free to take a pen and write everything that comes to your mind on the paper. Starting daily journaling can bring you great comfort when times are tough.
#10. Seek Professional Help
Recovering from a divorce is possible as long as you take your psychological well-being seriously. So, the last but not least important tip on how to start your life over after divorce is to seek psychological help.
A well-experienced divorce counselor can teach clients how to process their emotions, communicate their needs, and establish healthy boundaries with their ex-spouse. Usually, to achieve these goals, psychologists use behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). However, in some cases, additional medication may be prescribed to treat the symptoms of depression and other mental health issues.
As you continue your healing journey, you will learn to love and honor yourself as an independent and mentally stable individual.
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Age-Specific Recommendations on How to Start Over After Divorce
Whether you’re 35, 50, 65, or any age in between, starting a new chapter of life is difficult. But you can significantly simplify this process if you follow age-specific recommendations on how to start over after a divorce.
How to Start Over After Divorce When You’re 35?
If you are starting over after divorce at 35, you’re still young enough to rebuild your life fully. Simultaneously, unlike people in their 20s, you have a solid experience in family building, which plays an essential role in starting new healthy relationships. In other words, you are less likely to end up in toxic relationships that do more harm than good.
When you’re 35, you can still allow yourself to experience new things, change your place of residence, or start a new career from scratch. Simply be open to new opportunities, and the process of starting over will bring you a lot of happiness and love.
How to Start Over After Divorce When You’re 40?
If you wonder, “How do I start over in a divorce after 40?” there are many ways in which you can rebuild your life. Even though you might be feeling devastated, deeply hurt, sad, scared, and angry, you can still turn this painful experience into a new beginning.
The main recommendation for people of this age group is to focus on personal well-being. For example, think about creating your own space for living, finding new passions, improving professional skills, etc. At some point, you will notice that you are ready to open a new page in your life.
You can try online dating. Did you know that more than a third of new marriages begin with an online meeting? Also, people who get to know each other online have higher marriage satisfaction rates than those who meet offline. So, finding love after 40 is a dream that can easily come true.
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How to Start Over After Divorce When You’re 45?
Many experts believe that 45 is a perfect age to start a new chapter of life after divorce, as you are an independent person who can finally put yourself in the first place. Unlike people in their 30s who can be conflicted about going out with friends or on a date instead of staying home with your kids, you can do whatever you want.
If you have kids, they are probably old enough to take care of themselves. In the context of your career, you probably have already achieved most of your professional goals. So, what is a better way to take care of yourself? Go on dates, spend time with friends, travel, take new classes, and engage in physical activities! You have a perfect opportunity to break the stereotypes surrounding divorced people at 45.
How to Start Over After Divorce When You’re 50?
Starting over after divorce at 50 can be more emotionally draining than moving on in your 30s or 40s. But it is more than possible to live a full life again step by step.
First, give yourself time to grieve and accept the situation. Second, learn to rely on yourself from both a financial and psychological perspective. Then, you will be able to discover yourself again, find simple ways to enjoy life, connect with old friends, and finally find love again.
If you can’t handle divorce-related issues with the help of friends, family, work, and hobbies, make sure to contact a therapist. This person will give you constructive advice on what to do and how to survive this time.
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How to Start Over After Divorce When You’re 60 and Beyond?
Starting over after divorce when you’re 60 or older can be one of the most challenging experiences of your life. But instead of wasting time with regrets, fill your life with positive experiences:
Even if you don’t want to enter the dating world for some time, do not refuse to enjoy the company of others, including men. You only live once, so what is the point of living in fear and shame? Consider divorce as an event that provides a new beginning for a happier, healthier life.
If you cannot deal with the rollercoaster of different emotions associated with divorce, do not be afraid to ask for professional help. Counseling with experts through a one-on-one coaching session can help you develop emotional strength and enjoy life again.
How to Start Over After Divorce with No Money Behind You?
It’s not easy to find inspiration after divorce, especially if you’re starting over alone with no money behind you. But you can still successfully rebuild your life without considerable financial savings. Here’s what you can do in this case:
#1. Find a Job
If you’ve been a housewife or househusband in previous relationships, it’s time for you to start looking for work to support yourself financially. It might be difficult to find a well-paid job with little to no professional experience, but there are still many options for people at the beginning of building their careers. For example, in addition to waitressing or tending bar, you can apply for the position of personal assistant, security guard, chef, or even sales consultant.
#2. Take Professional Classes to Build Qualifications
With the help of professional classes, you can quickly get a certain skill for a high-paying job. On average, it takes 3-6 months to build appropriate qualifications for working as a web designer, tour guide marketing specialist, massage therapist, or pharmacy technician.
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#3. Move-In with Family or Friends for Some Time
If you don’t have your own place, you can move in with your family or friends for several months after divorce. Of course, you probably dislike this idea, but it’s often necessary. You can save enough money to rent an apartment or room and start over as an independent person during this period.
#4. Enquire About Financial Support From the Local Government
If you haven’t found a job yet, you can receive some financial support from the government. This support is unlikely to be significant, but it can be a good starting point for starting over after a divorce with no money. Whether it is council tax discount, food stamps, or housing assistance, any help can be useful in your case.
Final Thoughts on How to Start Over After Divorce
So, is life better after divorce?
If you manage to start over in a healthy way, it definitely is!
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Although marriage termination is often portrayed as an awful period that seems to last forever, it is actually an opportunity for a new beginning where you can become a more confident and courageous person than ever.Want to start over after divorcing your wife or husband? Click here for how to start over at divorce at any age and the steps to rebuilding your life after divorce. #RelationshipAdvice #Single #NewBeginnings #Divorced
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More About Guest Contributor
Natalie Maximets is a certified life transformation & relationship coach and a freelance writer at OnlineDivorce.com with expertise in mindfulness, sustainability, and building healthy relationships. She is a published author focused on the most progressive solutions in the field of Psychology. Natalie is proficient in CBT, REBT, Trauma Recovery, Mindfulness Meditation, Storytelling, and Wilderness Therapy.
Last Updated on August 25, 2022