Adjusting to the Single Life Post-Divorce
Navigating through a divorce can be very challenging, especially if it has been a long-term relationship. Although length of relationship sometimes does not matter, it’s the intensity of the relationship and how invested you were that does. Oftentimes we linger on in a marriage even knowing that it no longer serves us. When children are involved, we may feel that we are the cause for breaking up the family, and do not want to hurt our children any further than what they have already experienced. We become preoccupied with worry and wonder how our actions will affect our children and how our children will adjust after the divorce.
Adjusting to single-life once again is not easy. For some, it may be a relief to be single again and removed from all the conflict. Others may have not been the one who initiated the divorce, making it even more difficult to adjust. Whatever the case may be, learning to live alone again requires patience and time. Balancing your needs and those of your children’s can be overwhelming. At a time when you need respite, you are faced with caring for the emotional and physical needs of your children.
Single parenting is difficult. It can feel strange to be a parent without the safety net of a two-parent home (that is, comfort in knowing that someone else is there to help). However, children can develop and thrive just as well within two separate loving and supportive homes.
Family change hurts and it involves painful adjustments for parents, children, and others. The idea of cooperating with your former partner in any area may seem like an impossible job; however, when you have children, it is necessary to aim at making this possible.
Reconnecting with friends after a divorce is not always so easy either. Everyone is established with their families and/or significant others and you may feel like you are intruding or a third wheel. Ask for the support that you need and reach out not only to friends but also to family members.
Be patient with yourself and allow yourself all the time you need to heal. If you believe that you are hurting too much, it’s best to talk to someone. You could be grieving the relationship for so many reasons including fear of being alone, fear of dating again, low self esteem, feelings of rejection, and abandonment.
Do not rush into making any major decisions during this time. Holmes-Rahe developed a questionnaire called the Social Readjustment Rating Scale for identifying major stressful life events. This life stress scale lists the number one stressor as death of a spouse and the second as divorce. During a time of stress and turmoil it is best that you take your time and not rush into any major decisions such as moving (if you can avoid this), changing jobs, or buying new and expensive items. Give yourself the time you need to heal. Being impulsive at this time can come very easily. It is best to be mindful that everyone in the family is hurting.
Take the time you need for yourself and ask for help. There are many support groups for single and divorced parents. It may be helpful to join a support group or to speak with a professional. During this time of transition, it may be helpful to consider family therapy so that all family members have an opportunity to share what they are experiencing without feeling judged.
At the Hellenic Therapy Center, located at 567 Park Avenue in Scotch Plains, NJ, we have a team of licensed professionals available day, evening, and weekend hours. Visit us at www.hellenictherapy.com or on Facebook, or call us at 908-322-0112.