Do not fear because before during, and after the D-word, you may feel like your life is in a rut, and you're unsure how to shake it off. Being in a weird place is part of it all, the downfall after the relief, grief, whatever you're feeling, that your marriage is truly over, and it sucks!
I recently joined a few Facebook Groups focusing on separation, divorce, and guidance. It's heart-wrenching at times to read and hear others' heartbreaking stories about how they're coping (or not), but on the flip side, sometimes their experiences are filled with joy and success. One man the other day said, “I just feel like dying; it hurts so bad.” Or the woman who just found out that her husband had been cheating on her for the past ten years while she thought she had the perfect marriage. Soul-crushing to hear, yet thousands and thousands of women and men feel the same way. What do you say to that, and how does that make you feel? Not great, I'm here to tell you. Then there is the debate over divorce: Could I? Should I?
The situations are endless and personalized; however, I've pulled together five tips from my own experience, and other reliable sources, for pulling oneself out of the infinite rut divorce can cause:
When you feel hopeless and cannot stop crying, PLEASE ask anyone to come over and let you feel the feelings and settle down. I can no longer count how often I called in friends when I felt the pain, slightly embarrassed but knowing it was for the best.
Get out of your house. You may not feel like it, and I don't mean hitting the bars to socialize; go for a peaceful walk, preferably somewhere with nature surrounding you, not city/neighborhood noise. Find a place to sit and take in the beauty. Being with nature will decrease anxiety by leaps and bounds, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by how you feel once you get out.
Start a new hobby that keeps your mind busy...but not so busy that you're not coping with reality. Some people get hyper about anything new to avoid the feelings, but guess what? That's a recipe for disappointment, so be realistic and go easy with hobbies, whether pickleball, knitting, crossword puzzles, or reading new books in your newfound time. Find something you can get into. Don't become manic about it.
Be easy on yourself. You have been through one of the most traumatic events in your life, and no matter how you got there, be gentle with y-o-u. It's perfectly OK to want to practice self-care and not do anything for a day, and you should plan those days. E.g., this Saturday, I will do whatever I want, when I want, even if it's nothing. Fine to do.
Journal your feelings, join groups and share your story. You will be surprised by learning about and learning from strangers. Hearing their stories will make you feel connected and that others have your back. There are an array of support groups, and when you find one that clicks for you, you'll realize, hey, that’s what happened to my marriage too. Maybe make a new friend in the local group and meet for coffee. It will make you feel less alone because you are NOT alone.
Getting out of a divorce rut takes time, but remember that when you’re finally feeling better, you may hit another one. Very common and won't last forever because just one day, though it seems dark, is not forever, and you'll feel the sunshine again and become that new version of yourself you've wanted since your permanent separation from your ex-partner. Have faith in yourself; you are stronger than you think.
'Til next time,
Questions to ask yourself when you're feeling in a rut:
What is one thing I can do for myself today?
What interests me the most?
Did I journal today?
Did I join an online group?