If you’ve recently ended a marriage, you’re probably thinking one of three things: 1: “Marriage will never happen again…” 2: “For now, I just want to be alone” or 3: “Where’s the mutha-f’in party?” I am a firm believer that each thought comes with the divorce process. I’ve bounced back between one and two quite often. Transitioning from married to single has its challenges. Especially if you reach too quickly for the “pain killer” or that person who eases the symptoms associated with grief. We all need support when we’ve lost someone. However, when a grieving ex-spouse moves too soon, he or she may find themselves comparing the present with the past and ultimately make premature decisions that aren’t healthy for their growth.For those of us, (I mean, those of you 😉) who believe getting under another is the best way to get “over,” think again. Let’s say the rebound sex is horrible or dissatisfying, chances are you will remember a time it wasn’t, and want to go back to that moment. That doesn’t mean that the moment in the past was healthy for you either, it just means we find comfort in what’s easy and familiar. Both are viscous cycles that stunts true growth and healing. The best way to avoid this is to have options. Get to know you, by getting to know others. Go on many dates and be comfortable not adding sex to the category. There is joy to be had on the other side of divorce.
Here are 5 ways to find joy after a divorce…
1. Live for yourself
When a person gets married, they become one with another person which means that every belief, every habit, every idea and every movement can not, and should not be made without their spouse in mind. This is completely different from the single life. If you’re the type of person who often gives more than you receive, chances are there is guilt or shame about putting yourself first. Post divorce is the time to do it. In the event that you should ever be ready to get back out there, living for yourself makes the process of choosing the “right” mate easier. Living for yourself looks like going back to school should you choose, applying for that job you’ve always wanted, or taking that trip without consulting ONE DAMN SOUL! When you get to know you, there’s less to bargain with. For example, you may be less flexible with cooking everyday, now that you’ve realized that you actually like dining out 2-3 times a week. Time alone will afford you the strength to tell the next person who you are with confidence. Similarly, it will allow you to walk away from adversity, all the same.
2. Get a therapist!
There is no greater joy than having someone to talk to in a confidential setting who will listen, give insight and not judge you. There can be so much shame that comes with divorce, no matter who filed. Deal with it. With the right fit, one may learn that deep within lies internal healing that needs to take place for him or her to move forward. So many times people walk away from marriages pointing the finger and blaming, when in fact, a divorce takes two people.Therapy helps us step outside of ourselves and see how we contribute to the demise of our relationships. While we may not be the one who cheated or the one who neglected our spouse, we may be the one who ignored the signs or for the sake of conflict, didn’t say anything about what made us uncomfortable, or the one who thought we were perfect because our demons weren’t as loud as our spouse’s. Either way, two people played a part and therapy gives insight and clears residue.
3. Date! Date! Date!
I always say that those who are unhappy being single, are just unhappy. Being single or in a relationship shouldn’t dictate one’s state of being. Whatever lifestyle one chooses, their goal should be to be the BEST at it. According to 2018 U.S Census bureau, 45% of American adults over the age of 18 are recorded as single. Of course this number doesn’t specify people who are casually dating, or in a relationship, but lets be clear, if you aren’t married, you are SINGLE. Records also indicate that since 2018, this percentage has increased. So, my suggestion to you is, if you are single, GET OUT THERE AND DATE! There are other single people in the world. You don’t have to limit yourself to just ONE person either. I believe for a lot of people, this is where being unhappy presents itself. Many people, particularly women, find one person, put all their “love expectations” on them, then stop dating. PLEASE DO NOT DO THAT! There is fun in variety. Date more than one person. Get to know people before committing. Be safe and be honest with potential prospects that they aren’t the only ones you’re seeing. Don’t allow single life to be a reason you’re unhappy. Let it be a reason you feel good about yourself.
4. Set boundaries with people
Going through a divorce can be emotionally draining. You will feel alone at times and want to talk to someone who isn’t so formal. Remember this: As you move on from your marriage, people will become very nosy. People you’ve never spoken to before; people who never prayed for your marriage before, or never supported you or your ex-spouse will find themselves asking you, “what happened? Who did what?” And my favorite, “Oh you guys looked so happy, how could this be?” No matter how important it is for you to be heard or get your side of the story out there, DON’T! Not with those kind anyway. Some people can be “messy” and more often than not, just want to be in the “know” of everything. Their new found concern, has very little to do with giving a damn. Trust me. These are the same people who all of a sudden will remember seeing your spouse out on a date with someone else during the marriage, or held on to some pertinent information that they just couldn’t share while you two were married because they didn’t want to get “involved.” Let them stay uninvolved, please. Add them to the “you look familiar manual.” You don’t have to share any information you aren’t ready to share and furthermore, you definitely don’t want to share with “fake support.”
5. Develop multiple streams of revenue
No better time to “Boss Up” than post divorce. If your marriage ended like mine with you having to cover major debts, developing multiple streams of income is a for sure way to find joy after a divorce. Not only does this keep your mind and body occupied, it keeps you financially secure and gets you out of debt faster. Not everyone is designed to be “entrepreneurs” and that’s fine. However, I do think we are all designed to take control of our finances and are born with talents that make it easier to do so. If you are great at baking, have a small bakery or catering service, outside of your 9-5. If you are talented at drawing, showcase your art somewhere on the weekends. The world is full of ideas and platforms. Tap into them.
This post was written to decrease symptoms of depression by teaching others how to find joy while dealing with the loss of a marriage.
Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, speaker and adjunct instructor in Behavioral Health and Sciences. To learn more, check out her website, nya-b.com. Follow her blog here, and follow her on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b. On Facebook, find her under Nya B or @94thRacine