Facing divorce isn’t easy. This is an article I wrote for my sorority sisters.
It’s been over 30 years since I attended an Alpha Chi candlelight ceremony for a mystery sister who was either getting lavaliered, pinned, or engaged, but I can still vividly remember the excitement I felt waiting to see which one of my dear friends had found true love.
A romantic-at-heart from a young age, who eventually met her Prince Charming and had two babies, the last thing I ever expected was ending up divorced. When my now ex-husband and I split up, I had two toddlers, didn’t know anyone who was divorced and had no family living nearby.
Shocked, confused, devastated, lonely, and scared as hell, that first year of being separated felt like I was in a dodgeball game, balls being thrown at me right and left while I tried to avoid getting hit. I’m talking about things like finding out my ex was dating my neighbor two minutes after he moved out, opening an attorney’s bill for $7,000, watching my young kids act out and cry because they didn’t understand why Dad wasn’t living with us anymore, worrying that I would never be able to get a job and fearing that I would end up alone.
Back then, I wish I would have known more of what to expect and how to survive the complicated rollercoaster ride of divorce. So, for my Alpha Chi sisters who are facing divorce, here are 12 survival tips I hope will help you.
Allow yourself to grieve. Cry, be angry, be sentimental, miss your ex, etc. Let yourself have fits and punch your pillow and scream and yell to your friends and family at times. Get it all out because what happened is awful and tragic and unfair! BUT PLEASE don’t let your kids see any of this.
Acknowledge that you are scared. Everyone is.
Don’t stop living because you are going through a divorce. It may seem like your divorce is the center of the universe, but there are so many things for which to have gratitude: health, kids, friends, family, pets, nature and the hope of a better, brighter future.
Talk to God, if you are religious or spiritual. He is listening and He is there for you.
Work out. Even if it’s for 15 minutes. Exercising your body is scientifically proven to help your emotional wellbeing.
Remember that getting dumped isn’t personal. Some women who you think are your friends will dump you. They don’t want to be friends with a divorced woman, either because they are scared it will happen to them or they are afraid you will hit on their spouse. It is beyond hurtful and mean, but realize that it’s not you; accept their decision and move on. The friends who stick by you will be your friends forever.
Connect with other divorced women. They will become your best friends.
Stop looking back. Try not to think, “If only I would have done this…” or “I wish I would have been a better wife” or “I wish I wouldn’t have nagged so much” or “If only they had never met…” It’s done. You cannot change what happened. But you can change what happens from this point moving forward, and that’s a beautiful thing!
Rediscover your passion. What did you do before you were married? What were you good at? What made you happy? This could lead to volunteer work, hobbies or a job. This is the time to figure out and shape what your life is going to be like moving forward. It takes time. Talking to a career counselor, divorce coach or job coach can help you figure things out.
Eat well. Feed your body with greens and berries and other nutrients that will benefit you and maximize the way you feel. Avoid sugar and alcohol as much as possible.
Laugh. It’s the best medicine for sadness. Laugh at things around you, at the cute things your kids say and do, and at yourself. Problems become more manageable with laughter.
Remember that there are certain things you can control and certain things you can’t. Know the difference and be wise enough to focus on what you CAN control. I recently read this quote in a prayer book at my synagogue and it really made me think about a lot of things in my life: “Pray as if everything depended on God. Act as if everything depended on you.”
In closing, despite the fact that facing divorce is brutally painful and difficult, there are some really surprising, beautiful and empowering moments that occur. Examples include: When you do something that makes you really, really proud of yourself, when you look in the mirror and realize that what happened is for the best, and when you catch a glimpse of someone who gives you hope that love and romance are definitely in your future. Because as the Alpha Chi Sweetheart Song goes, “Down deep in the heart of each Alpha Chi girl is a dream of a love that is true!”
This article was originally published on the website of Worthy.com.