You Never Imagined You Would Be Divorced - Now What?

From getting swept off your feet to being swept out of the way, an unforeseen divorce can be the most destabilizing and traumatizing experience you’ve ever had. It changes everything.

Here are some things to consider, avoid, and do, in order to come out of it stronger and taller.

SUPPORT. Being self-reliant and confident is important in every aspect of life, but support is crucial. From friends, family, support groups, and therapists, there is an infinite source of help out there, ready to guide you through the tough times.

Divorce will raise all types of emotions and fears you might not have been prepared for, but with the proper loving support, you will be able to face these challenges, deal with them, and move forward.

REFRAIN from the “I’ll show you this was a mistake” attitude. Whether tactics to win him back, or resentment and grudges, the games often played during and after divorce rarely lead to happy endings.

The best thing you can do, even if this feels like a heart-wrenching injustice, is to accept the situation, and re-focus all that energy toward taking care of yourself and planning your new future.

WHAT IFs. It might take years for you to stop rehashing all the details of what went wrong, or how you could have saved your marriage. But these thoughts are not reality — they are holding you back. Revisit the past only to learn about yourself and your mistakes, nothing else.

Stay in the moment, as best you can.

DON’T BE A VICTIM. Even if it feels like you are being victimized, your mindset while facing this life-changing event will greatly determine your success at getting back on your feet.

Feeling sorry for yourself might help you prove a point to a friend, or get a good cry on someone’s shoulder, but it would be best to empower yourself instead and focus on moving forward.

FIND YOURSELF. See this as an opportunity to reinvent yourself. Find new hobbies and activities. Find your strengths, your core values, and beliefs. Revisit everything you might have shoved to the side or neglected while married.

IMPULSIVE DECISIONS. If you feel a sudden rush to do something eccentric or out of character, do yourself a favor and sit on it for a day or two.

When emotions are running high, you need to slow down and create space in your thoughts and actions in order to live your emotions fully and move slowly in the right direction.

DANGEROUS BAND-AIDS. Alcohol, drugs, sleeping pills, many of these could at first seem perfect to help you cope. The reality is that any of these substances will numb your pain temporarily, only to bring it back with a boost once sober, creating a dangerous cycle of dependence.

While one drink can be pleasant, remember you are more vulnerable than usual at this time.

EMPTINESS. The routine, noises, and activities suddenly stop. You can even find yourself missing the very things that used to bother you the most.

Humans have a tendency to thrive on familiarity. Try to accept that these feelings are part of the process and they will pass.

CHILDREN. Raising children is a lifetime contract. Married or not, you will have to interact and raise your children together.

Avoid putting your children in a situation of having to choose one parent over another, or feel guilty to love you both. Children should be able to continue a healthy relationship with both parents.

You will teach your children the invaluable life lesson that even if the world crumbles around them unexpectedly, they can resolve it peacefully.

Most importantly take care of yourself. Life as you knew it came and went, but therein lies your opportunity to grow stronger and healthier and slowly build a better tomorrow. Every step counts, even the occasional setback.

The one person you should always be able to count on is yourself.