How to move on after a divorce
Moving on after a divorce sounds so much easier in theory than it is in practice. Even if your marriage was relatively short it’s unlikely that you’ll emerge as the same person after the event having picked up some baggage, lost a bit of money and possibly gained a few kids.
Give yourself time
If you’ve had a while to get used to your separation you might find yourself itching to get out there and make your new life happen. If however the separation was either not your choice or a bolt from the blue it’s not that easy. The breakdown of any relationship is bound to entail a period of grief and the feelings that normally accompany it such as anger, sadness and disbelief, so don’t be afraid to give yourself as much time as you feel you need – one person’s 6 month shakedown is another person’s two year long pyjama and pity party.
Just because you have more time, not everyone else does
When you’re ready to come out fighting, you may find the landscape of friendships has changed (see How many friends will I lose after the divorce?) However your family and those who love you will still be there at the end of the day. They stuck by you and will probably continue to do so but don’t forget they also still have the lives they have always had even though yours has changed, so if you only saw them once a week back then it’s probably unwise to expect that their patterns will shift to suit yours.
If you find there are friend gaps to fill, then there’s nothing else for it, you’re going to have to put on your coat, leave the house and make yourself some new friends.
Who do you want in your life? Go where they go…
Getting out there and meeting people isn’t always that easy. If you have left your partying days behind, the confidence to strike up conversation with a stranger may not be what it was. Plus divorce can be a massive confidence drain, which may impede your ability to put yourself out there. Your life may already be hectic enough with work, kids and domestic life keeping you busy; joining a hobby class or a may feel like the last thing you need to add to the mix.
But don’t discount the life drawing class, the 5-a-side club, the walking group or even just finding a chat room or catching up with people on Facebook. Have a think about the kind of people you’d like to have in your life now and work out where to find them. Moving on after divorce might not be just a question of meeting people who share a hobby. Now could be the right time in your life to fulfil a dream or ambition and you could kill two birds with one stone by meeting people who share the same dream at the same time. Investigate things like networking lunches for entrepreneurs, writing groups for would-be novelists or retrain for the dream career in your spare time.
Dipping your toe in the dating water
If you’re feeling ready for it, putting yourself out there could mean more than finding a friend. It might be time to find a date. There are different ways of getting to know people – Twitter flirting has led to marriages! Then there’s social networking, speed dating, online dating, traditional dating, blind dating and probably plenty of other novelty variations on boy meets girl (or boy meets boy/ girl meets girl). Give yourself time to get to know the game a little before you jump in with both feet. The less energetic dater may prefer to stick with more grown up dating options like Guardian SoulMates or meeting people through friends. For more info about dating see our dating articles.
However daunting this stage may seem to you, if you are here you have already come such a long way from those first days of realising your marriage was over. If you can survive that, you are capable of coming through great changes in your life and have plenty of resources to draw on when it comes to moving on. So good luck!
For more divorce advice go here.
Lucy Davis is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and a TV Producer. She divorced 6 years ago. She is a passionate advocate for exploring the potential for change and creativity that can result from the trauma of divorce.