If there’s one thing that my divorced friends and acquaintances have repeatedly told me – and Emma did the same over our bottle of wine – it’s that divorce can actually be an opportunity. It’s a rare chance for self-exploration, to redefine and ‘find’ ourselves.
Yes, it’s also often horrid, heart-breaking and messy, but the aftermath doesn’t have to be dismal. Divorce offers you the chance to, as Emma says, find ‘me’ again. Ignore the stereotypes of divorced women – the bitter divorcee, the sad lonely cat lady – and think of divorce as the next phase of your life. It’s unchartered territory and as such it can be exciting and full of promise.
The first thing you will need to do, of course, is to reimagine your goals and dreams. Up until now, your dreams and ambitions have been for the two of you, for your family; you can either spend months or years aching for those dreams you lost or, better yet, find new dreams.
Think big. The only limits to opportunity are those you place on yourself. Use this chance to reconnect with things that you used to love doing or to focus on your self-development. Decide to take up a new challenge – it could be to learn a new language, master a new skill, even to open your own business – or go back to those things you neglected during your marriage.
It could be pottery, art, crafts, writing, even gardening… whatever used to bring you joy. All of these things are the best antidote to depression, poor self-esteem and anxiety after divorce.
Add new talents to your repertoire as well. Take up dancing, become a wine connoisseur, take advantage of your innate flair with an interior design course… choose to do something proactive and take control of your life.
Aim to feel just a little bit better every single day.
While you’re at it, watch the language you use. The biggest common mistake women make is to use negative language; we’re often highly critical of ourselves aren’t we? Be aware that our negative thoughts influence our mood, mind-set and actions so allow positive ones only. If you must rant, rave or cry, be firm and restrict yourself to a set period a day. The rest of the time, work on being positive and on reinventing yourself.
Emma’s post-divorce reinvention was to take up French, the language she had always loved but told herself she was never any good at (and which was all too easy to drop without encouragement). The plan is that she will become fluent enough to holiday there regularly before potentially moving there in her later years.
In the meantime, she is having great fun learning the language and meeting new people; she is the happiest I have seen her in a long, long time, even pre-split.
Her divorce – while unwanted and painful – really did open up new avenues. All you have to do is open your mind to the possibilities… and don’t be tempted to buy any cats!Last modified: June 10, 2021