Living with Divorce

Living with Divorce

07/14/14 James Winston

Divorce is considered one of the most stressful life experiences.  It is both the emotional stress and physical stress that many people find difficult to manage.  However, with a little patience and self-care, you can survive and eventually thrive following a divorce.

Emotional Stress:  Even if the divorce is a relief, you will most likely experience grief and loss at having to separate from the person that you had hoped would be your life partner.  People often report feeling like a failure.  Fear is another common feeling.  You may be afraid of living alone, giving up a certain financial security, or living without an intimate relationship.

If you have children, many of these feelings are compounded.  If you have primary responsibility for the children, you may feel resentful about having less time for yourself; especially if you’ve had to return to work.  You may feel guilty about not having as much time with your children as you would like.

If your children do not live with you, you may feel lonely or resentful.  You may also feel guilty for not having enough time with your kids.

Physical Stress:  Anytime you experience emotional stress, your body is affected.  Ongoing stress can cause headaches, back or neck aches, ulcers and can make you more prone to catching colds and flus.  Even if the divorce has been a positive change in your life, you may still experience some of these physical symptoms.

Take Care:  Remind yourself on a daily basis that many have gone through divorce and survived and you will too.  Some of the suggestions below may help.

  • Identify your feelings and express them. If you are angry, pound on a bed, or yell while you are alone. If you are sad, call a friend and tell him/her that you are feeling sad.
  • Reach out to friends and family for support. There are also many support groups specifically for divorce. Having others to talk to or getting a hug can make a big difference.
  • Be good to your body! Get plenty of exercise and rest and eat healthy foods. Find a yoga class or get a massage. Avoid using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.
  • Try a new activity; something you’ve always wanted to do. Not only will you learn something about yourself, you may meet new people.
  • Consult a professional therapist. This can help you sort through your feelings as well as look at why the relationship failed.
  • Give yourself some time before entering another romantic or sexual relationship; a minimum of six months is generally a good guide.

Experts say that it can take years to recover from a divorce.  Be patient, both with yourself and with the process, but trust that you will survive and return to a happy you.

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