How to Get Back on Track Following a Divorce

It’s estimated that radio reaches more than 240 million Americans each week, according to Pew Research. If you listen to the radio on a regular basis—on your way into work, on your lunch break, during long drives, etc—then chances are good you’ve heard quite a lot about divorce.

A wedding day is supposed to be one of the happiest days in a couple’s lives; a day where two people say their vows and commit to each other for a lifetime. But the reality is that more and more marriages don’t end happily ever after. Odds are you’ve heard the statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce and depending on the source, that’s still very true today.

No one gets married with the intent of getting divorced, but marriages fail for a variety of reasons:

  • Lack of identity as individuals
  • A lack of shared visions
  • A lack of intimacy
  • Finances
  • Unmet or unrealistic expectations
  • Different interests and different priorities
  • Fighting or an inability to resolve conflicts
  • A lack of physical contact (not including intimacy)
  • Getting lost in roles i.e. Mom and Dad rather than husband and wife

Whatever the reason for divorce, there’s a lot that happens when a couple makes the decision. For one thing, they’re not living together anymore, so one person has to move out. For another thing, both people have to examine their lives as single folks again.

Assuming the divorce is mutual and won’t require the interference of a law firm or a divorce attorney, let’s examine a few key areas to focus on after a divorce:

  • Moving Out/Home Repairs
  • Reinventing yourself
  • Dating

Home Repairs

Moving out and moving on is never easy after a divorce. Even if you’re a homeowner, you may just want to sell your house and start fresh somewhere else. But before you can do that, you need to make sure you take some time to make your home look its best. That means doing some home repairs.

There’s nothing that says you need to make a costly roof repair to deal or need to hire a commercial contractor to help restore your home to pristine condition, but there are a lot of basic and necessary repairs you can make. If you put the time in, buyers will notice and they’ll be more interested in making an offer on your house.

So what can you do? For starters, you can patch any holes you find in the walls. Some spackling and some spot painting should do the trick. Another thing you might consider is adding a fresh coat of paint to rooms that have colors that are either too loud or too outdated. If you’re unsure what color to pick, neutral tones like tan or gray often work best and if a buyer doesn’t like the color choice, they can paint over it.

Depending on what kind of flooring you’ve got, you’re either going to want to clean your carpet or clean your hardwood floors. For carpets, you can put down some cleaning products before giving them a thorough vacuum. Wood floors are easier to keep clean, but you need to be sure you use the right kind of cleaning solution as they are not all created equal on this kind of flooring.

What else can you do? Take time to replace any old outlet wall plates and either refresh or replace any simple hardware such as pulls and knobs. Believe it or not, these little touch-ups can make a world of difference.

Moving Out

Even if you’re going through a low cost divorce, someone has to move out. If it’s you, that can be a tough, emotional thing. Thankfully, you can make it easier by taking some simple steps.

One of the best things you can do is plan ahead. Pack up your boxes, divide things that need to be divided up and make a plan for any movers or utility companies that need to show up so there aren’t any surprises. It’s a tough time for both parties involved and the last thing you want is to set off arguments due to surprises. Planning ahead means also forwarding your mail to your new address.

Another thing you’ll likely want to do is enlist the help of some friends or family if you’re moving. Let’s say for instance that you’ve got a fishing boat or a pontoon. If a friend knows how to tow safely, have them tow your boat to your new place. Getting help can also help you better stay organized as you pack. Make sure you’ve got all the important documents in a folder or an envelope for safekeeping. Make sure that essentials such as chargers, toiletries, utensils, and even medications can be easily found if they are packed away. These are the things you’re likely going to need first.

You can make things even easier by asking for empty boxes from local stores and packing in such a way where you can easily unpack items. For example, you can leave clothes on hangers, tie them together and then easily unpack them into your new closet. It would also help to label your boxes and keep a master list so you know exactly where everything is.

On moving day, assuming you have the help of family and friends, try to move your larger items into your new place first. That will help you set rooms up much easier and then you can easily unpack the boxes that go in the appropriate rooms.

In the long run, don’t be afraid to make your new place your own. There’s no doubt the transition to single life and a new place can be difficult, you fill it with things that are comfortable and can help you adjust to your new life.

Reinventing Yourself

One of the biggest questions you probably have after a divorce is what happens now? Everyone’s divorce is different and whether you’re thrilled by it or heartbroken, there’s no doubt that you’ve got some adapting to do.

One thing you need to do is let yourself mourn. Whatever the reason for the divorce and however you’re feeling, it’s still a loss that needs to be grieved. You need to examine how you’re feeling and walk through all your feelings. Doing this will allow you to sort out any lingering feelings and allow you to move on with your life and eventually onto other relationships.

You also need to take time to rediscover who you are as an individual. It’s easy to feel after a divorce that it’s your fault that it happened or that you have some flaws. While you may not be perfect, it could just be that you’ve lost your sense of self after being married for so long. In that time, you may have given up some things you enjoyed doing either because you didn’t have time or because it didn’t fit in with your lifestyle as a couple. By reintroducing yourself to activities like exercise or theater or even bird watching, you’ll rediscover your passions and you can also introduce yourself to new activities as well.

Divorces are hard, but you might want to consider being alone for a while. There’s nothing wrong with taking time to be single, figure things out and just enjoy life. You may decide there are certain things you want to want to accomplish in life as a single person before you decide to seek out companionship. It may also give you some time to figure out what you’re looking for in a relationship before you get back into the dating game.

Focusing On Your Health

On the subject of rediscovering yourself, one thing you might consider doing in the aftermath of divorce is to focus on your health. As divorce can be taxing on many levels—namely physically, emotionally and mentally—exercise can be a great healing activity on all those levels.

Exercise and focusing on your health can be a great way to have some social contact. Whether you go for a jog around the neighborhood or join a local gym, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to improve your health and meet new people, especially people you don’t work within a coop work space. Heck, you might even find some new friends. On the flip side, working out and getting healthy doesn’t have to be social. You can put on some headphones and go for a walk or you can get some exercise equipment to set up at home.

Another benefit of exercise is that it releases endorphins also known as the happy chemicals in your brain that can help you get through tough times like divorce. Endorphins can make you feel better, help you battle depression and help stabilize your mood. If you’re a runner and you go for a jog, the “runners high” that you get at the end of a long run is due to the release of endorphins in your body.

When it comes to your health, sometimes there can be nothing worse than stress. Emotions run high during a divorce and when you feel like you’re getting close to your breaking point, exercise can be the great stress reliever in your life (and a healthy one at that). If you’re feeling angry, you can take that anger out at the gym, especially one with a punching bag. If going to the gym isn’t your idea of exercise, you might consider other healthy activities such as sports.

In addition to being a stress reliever, exercise can also make you healthier by boosting your self-esteem. Whether you’re trying to transform your body to get back into dating or stay strong for friends and family, you can work on your health, tone your muscles, look better and feel better. Ultimately, its all about your health and what makes you feel good.

Getting Back To Dating

In the aftermath of divorce, dating might be the last thing on your mind. But getting a divorce doesn’t have to mean the end of your romantic life. Nothing says you need a girlfriend or boyfriend two weeks after a divorce, but you certainly shouldn’t think that a divorce is the end of the world.

Before you jump back into the dating pool, it’s best to wait until your divorce is final. You’ll want to give yourself the necessary time and space so that when you are ready to date again, you’re doing so for all the right reasons and aren’t vulnerable emotionally.

When you are ready to date, you’ll want to set reasonable expectations. It’s best to use dating as an experience to learn about yourself. You don’t want to compare any new people you date to your ex and you don’t want to date again thinking everything is going to be perfect. There are likely going to ups-and-downs that you’ll have to address.

If you do find someone you like and enjoy spending time with, don’t immediately rush out and buy an engagement ring. Take things slow and be honest about your experiences. By taking things slow, you’ll get a chance to know one another better and share experiences without making serious commitments. If you’re discussing your past (and even your present and future), be honest about who you are, what you’re looking for and what you want. Hiding the person you really are is likely going to set things into a tailspin.

Whether you meet someone at the movies or an anti aging clinic or at a sporting event or elsewhere, it’s a good idea to let your emotions come through. If you’re happy or sad or nervous, don’t be afraid to show your emotions. Even if you think you’re bombing on a date, chances are the other person is nervous too and you’re probably not doing that bad. Just remember that dating is a process, so have fun, enjoy the time spent with the other person and see where things go. Even if you’re not looking for love, it can find you in some unexpected places at unexpected times.

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