Newly Divorced? Don’t make these 5 BIG Mistakes

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By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

Being newly divorced is probably the most stressful time in a person’s life. You’re mourning the loss of the most serious relationship you’ve ever had. You’re stressed to the hilt about finances. You’re watching your children’s lives in upheaval. And you’re trying to figure out your new life.

Because of these stressful factors, people getting divorced aren’t themselves. Some lack self-confidence, others feel insecure and unsure of themselves, and even those with normally healthy self-confidence can have a hard time making healthy decisions.


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When I was newly divorced several years ago, I made some not-so-great decisions, in other words, I did some really stupid things. Thankfully, nothing I did was too damaging, but still, there are many things I regret.  Looking back, I see what I did right, and I see the mistakes I made and what I could have done better.

Here are 5 big mistakes newly divorced people make:


1. They get their hair cut short or make some other change to their physical appearance that they might regret later.  

When newly divorced, many people feel like they want to start fresh, make changes, be different. Changing your hair right at the beginning is a bad way to do this. You’ll regret it. Trust me! Wait a few weeks before doing anything drastic with your hair. Do you really think you’d look good in Gwenyth Paltrow’s short hair or Pink’s bleached white, spiked do? Do you really, really, really want breast implants? Botox and other fillers? A facelift? I’m not saying any of these things are bad, but wait until you are in a more stable place to make these kinds of decision. Really think it through. Otherwise, you’ll have more to cry about!


2. They are rude and unfriendly to their soon-to-be ex in front of the kids.

I’m sure that he or she is not your favorite person on earth right now. Either he/she is leaving you or you chose to leave. Either way, there’s most likely resentment, anger, and hostility between the two of you. Whatever the circumstances, when in the presence of your children, keep your feelings to yourself!

Be polite. Be kind. You don’t have to act like best friends, but if you are rude or mean and act angry toward your spouse, it is killing your kids. Think of THEM before yourself. Keep a journal and write down everything you want to say about your spouse. But to his or her face, in front of the kids, show nothing. I know it’s hard, but do it. On a side note, there are people who have been divorced for years who are still rude to their ex in front of the kids. Not starting off being rude could establish a healthy pattern, which is just one more reason to be polite!


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3. They talk about the divorce non-stop.

The fact that you are newly divorced is what’s going on in your life right now. Therefore, when you get together with friends and they say, “What’s new?” obviously you are going to talk about it. It’s okay to vent. It’s okay to cry on your girlfriend’s shoulder, and it’s okay to have an angry outburst.

But try to keep these conversations to a minimum and remember that your friends have lives too. They might not be newly divorced, but they have other issues and problems in life, and you need to be a friend to them, too. Try not to be known as “the girl who won’t shut up about her divorce.” Instead vent and talk things through with a therapist. It really does help.


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4. They drink a lot and they drink and drive.

When I was getting divorced, my therapist told me to “watch my drinking.” She said that people going through a divorce are very susceptible to a drinking addiction. It makes sense. You’re under a tremendous amount of stress and depression. Alcohol will intensify those feelings and make you want more alcohol to try to soothe the pain. It can become a vicious cycle. Be careful! Also, don’t drink and drive! The last thing you need is a DUI or even worse, to kill someone. Those things will make your divorce seem like small potatoes!



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5. They jump into a new relationship. 

I’ve seen it a million times. By the time I hear someone is newly divorced, I’m running into them at a restaurant, arm in arm and all lovey-dovey with a new guy. I want to say, “Put on the breaks!” Can you be alone for two minutes??!!

Don’t get me wrong. I hardly think getting divorced means you have to sit home by yourself and be lonely. And yes, I do believe that when you and your ex finally split, some people might have been grieving the relationship for quite some time. So, I don’t begrudge anyone for wanting to jump into the dating scene. But don’t jump into a serious relationship and certainly don’t jump back into marriage for a long time. After divorce, when it comes to relationships, SLOW is better.

Good things to do when you are newly divorced:

1.       Work out and eat healthy

2.       Find a hobby. Figure out what you like to do for yourself.

3.       Make platonic friends, both men and women

4.       Go to therapy. (no eye rolling, please. It is very helpful for most people!)

5.       Find faith and talk to God.

6.       Focus on your children. They need more time and attention from you right now.

Like this article? Check out, “Dating After Divorce: Advice, Tips and Why This is an exciting Time”

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

    2 Responses to “Newly Divorced? Don’t make these 5 BIG Mistakes”

    1. Dor

      Number 1 is hard to believe. Newly divorced people changing their looks so quickly I’m surprised. Seems to me there are many more important things to focus on like kids, finances, emails from lawyers.
      No surprise drinking alcohol and drinking more than usual is used as a crutch. Hopefully, once time has passed the amount of alcohol won’t be needed as much.
      The Good Things To Do list is helpful and right on.


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