People will no longer see you as so-and-so’s husband or wife.  You are no longer the married man or married woman you may have identified yourself as being.  You are no longer one-half of a married couple. Like it or not, you are a changed person in a different place in life.

It matters not if it’s a good change or a bad change; all change creates stress in our lives.  It is important that you don’t ignore this. Recognize that you have gone through what may have been a long, stressful, and painful process.  Be kind to yourself, and be patient with yourself. Recognize and work towards accepting your life’s new direction, and allow yourself to heal fully.

It’s understandable if you’re feeling a bit weary post-divorce, but keep an eye on yourself.  Feeling down or sad is not uncommon. You should expect that you’ll have some tough moments ahead.  You’ll likely be surprised by the impact that seemingly insignificant thoughts and memories of happier times can have on you.  There will be quiet times when you are alone, feeling more lonely than ever before.  

For me, coming home after work to an empty, kid-less home, was terrifying.  I hated it. By early afternoon, I would already start to dread going home from work.  I remember sitting alone at the kitchen table feeling devastated, wondering how the hell I got there.  It was shocking and brutally painful to have my identity as a husband and father erased. Since I wasn’t married anymore, and my children were gone, who was I?  I had to find peace with some lousy thoughts and emotions after divorce.  

The good news about the dark, dreary crud that can settle in after divorce is that it’s normal, and it’s only temporary.  How you treat yourself during this time will have a huge impact on both the severity and the duration of your visit to this dark place.  I absolutely believe that a visit to this place is necessary; it is part of dealing and healing. However, I advise you to make your visit here short.  There is no need to linger. Your life and your children are worth far more than getting stuck in a perpetual pity party. Stand up and choose not to stay any longer.  Show your children an example of strength, perseverance, and determination.

Continue Reading – Chapter 1: Coping & Getting Support