Divorce Advice: 9 Things For Rock Bottom

divorce advice

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

Divorce is a process. It’s a roller coaster ride. But during the ride, I think there’s a point when people feel like they’ve hit rock bottom. This article addresses rock bottom, and some divorce advice if/when you feel you are there.

Rock bottom could be when the marriage is so bad that the person feels they need to separate. It might be when a spouse shocks them and says he/she wants a divorce and is in love with someone else. It might be the day the spouse moves out. It might be the day the person finds out their soon-to-be ex has a girlfriend/boyfriend. It might be when the ex sues for sole custody. It might be when the divorce is final. Or, it might be when the person finds out their spouse is cheating, which is what happened to this reader who is  seeking divorce advice:

I need some divorce advice. I am at absolute rock bottom and I don’t know how to keep moving. I found out 4 weeks ago my husband has been having a second affair – the second within 3 years. We have 2 beautiful children who are 4 and 6, I’m 44 and haven’t worked for 7 years. I feel so broken. I don’t know what to do or how to do anything.


The part of this story about not working for 7 years and feeling like she doesn’t know how to do anything is very familiar to me. I was in that spot several years ago, feeling like a frumpy housewife who didn’t know if I was capable of getting a job, let alone managing it with little kids. Feeling incapable or unqualified is a horrible feeling, and can lead to depression, anger, bitterness, fear, and sadness.


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Divorce Advice: 9 things needed for those at rock bottom:


1.  Strength. 

This is the time to get in shape both physically and mentally. A person with a strong, fit and healthy body will feel more confident and self-assured on the inside. The person will feel more empowered and powerful, and that will come off in their personality. Mental and emotional strength are even more important. The thing is, you’ve got to get really tough. That might mean working out, yoga, meditation, therapy, eating healthy. Think of yourself like a boxer in training. You are preparing for a fight and you want to win. I’m not even saying your divorce is a fight. What I’m saying is, you are fighting for a new and better life.

 2. Courage. 

Facing and coping with divorce takes guts. How do you get guts? It isn’t easy, but you would be surprised at the courage you have that you didn’t even realize you had. When you’re scared, take deep breaths.When you are unsure of a decision, believe in yourself. Also, having faith that things will all work out OK fosters courage. Lastly, surround yourself with a circle of friends and family who love and care for you. Lean on them. Go to them to gain courage. Get rid of toxic people in your life.

All these things will help you to “keep moving” as this reader writes. To keep living each day with hopes that things will get better, to be a single mom, to be the leader of your household, to go after the job you want, to do things that are scary and that aren’t always easy or comfortable, to take chances, and to protect yourself from being bullied by listening to those who put you down and make you feel badly about yourself.

 3. Self-confidence and self-worth.

If you used to be good at a job, but then you took time off because you wanted to stay home with the kids, then why on earth wouldn’t you be good at the old job now? Yes, technology has changed, and anyone out of the workforce has to play catch up, but have faith in your abilities. You got this!




 4. Wisdom. 

Wise people realize what they can and can’t control. So, they do the best with what they can control and they don’t worry so much about what is out of their control. You can’t control what your ex does. You can’t control your ex’s attorney. You can’t control your ex mother-in-law. You can’t control what happened in the past. You can control the way you choose to raise your kids, the job you decide to pursue, how hard you work, what you do with your free time, and how you want to look at things.


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 5. Friends.

Lean on them! Enjoy them! Cherish the special bond you have with them. They will be here for you. Again, get rid of the ones who are toxic, who make you feel badly about yourself, who are in competition with you, or who are no where to be found when you need them.


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 6. Your kids.

Same as #5, but not only will they be here for you, you need to be there for them. Focusing on them and making sure they are doing OK will help you have a sense of purpose and will give you strength within that you never even knew existed. Remember that you are the leader. You set the example. Your kids will grow up and model what you did and how you acted.

I hate to say it, but you have to act like you are on stage when you are around your kids. I’m not saying to be fake, but you have to keep in mind that their minds are still developing and you are making lifelong memories in their heads, so you crying in front of them, badmouthing your ex, screaming, being angry and bitter in front of them will have a negative impact. You are allowed to scream and cry and trash your ex, but don’t do it in front of your kids.


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 7. Passion. 

What do you love to do? Figure it out and then do it! Find a passion, whether it is in your professional life, volunteer work, a hobby, or a dream. Just do it as much as you can and it will start to make you high. For me, it was writing. Whenever I felt sad and depressed or scared or angry, I would sit down at my computer and write. I still do it. There is something magical that happens when you do something you love. It lifts you out of the dust and to a place that offers peace and joy.



 8. Entitlement. 

People always use this word in a negative way, but I think entitlement can be a good thing at times. You are entitled, in other words you deserve to be happy. You deserve happy times and joy and good things that come your way. Believe that. Sure, we’ve all made mistakes, and there are always things in our lives we wish we could have done differently, but don’t punish yourself. Believe that you deserve to get to a better place and you will.



 9. Self-love.

Some of the best divorce advice I can offer is that getting up from rock bottom is impossible if you don’t have self-love. Look in the mirror at all your wonderful qualities and how much potential you have. Focus not on the mistakes you made or what you could have done or your regrets, but rather on the special qualities you have that will give you the life you want moving forward. If you love who you are, there is no way to go but up.

Like this post? Check out my blog, “10 Things a Divorced Woman Should Always Carry In Her Purse.”


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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

5 Responses to “Divorce Advice: 9 Things For Rock Bottom”

  1. Ivy

    I feel for her. Just decided to divorce and 1-3 are at an all time low. Fortunately we have no children and I have 2 degrees and a job. Does that make me feel any stronger, braver or accomplished? Not at all. And our anniversary is looming – Easter Sunday. Just trying to get through each day.

  2. Ouvrielle Holmes

    Thank you. I am at rock rock bottom, and your blog prompted me to email a friend and just ask for help.

  3. Mia

    This is a very glib article that neatly fits a traumatic experience into a numbered list. All the points above are easier said than done…

  4. Karen

    I love this article. It makes me realize I am not alone and I am not crazy. I asked for the divorce and was so glad when he moved out. I was relieved and happy until I found out he got himself a new girlfriend immediately. All of a sudden I wanted him back and felt intense jealousy

    • Karin

      You are telling my story exactly. I too asked for the divorce after 20 years of marriage and three kids. He moved out and got himself a girlfriend within a month. I too feel extremely jealous and my mind constantly ruminates and imagines him with her. Funny enough I don’t want him back but him moving on that fast was extremely hurtful.


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