Divorce Survival Guide: Tips for Resilient Living

  1. Allow yourself time to grieve.

    Divorce is a loss. And as in other losses, everyone recovers differently. Even if you are the partner that initiated the process, there will still be feelings of grief. And grief has no time frame. Remember that there will be manageable days and then some days where the grief may be quite profound.

  2. Stop second guessing yourself.

    Many of my divorcing/divorced clients have shared that at times during the process they question whether the relationship was really that bad. Perhaps staying in a unhealthy relationship would have been better than dealing with the pain. Perhaps they feel that they should have tried harder, even though there was nothing more they could do. I haven't met any client who gets married thinking that they will one day divorce or makes the decision to divorce without serious thought.

  3. Learn from your mistakes.

    It takes two people to make a successful relationship or to break it in two. Your responsibility is to figure out and own what mistakes you made, what you would have liked to do different and what you will do differently in your next relationship. Remember that there is still life after divorce.

  4. Take care of yourself.

    Emotionally, physically, spiritually. In order to heal, you need to protect yourself and learn to like and appreciate who you are. In addition, when you take care of your needs, you will be better able to take care of those who depend on you. Children should never feel as if they must take care of either parent. However, they will try if you aren't doing a great job of caring for yourself.

  5. Reframe the negative self-talk

    While the weight and stress of divorce might make you feel as if everything in your life is out of control, it really isn't. while it will take time, changing the way you talk to yourself (and yes you do wind up talking to yourself) could allow the 'everything is out of control' reality, to shift towards 'I have an opportunity to control new challenges'. 'Never finding love' changes to 'Finding love that is different from what I've allowed in the past'.

  6. Talk to your children.

    Let them know that they are loved by both of you and that you will take care of their needs, not the other way around. Make sure they feel secure and safe by making stable the things that you can. Things like: Family rituals, time together, dinners that you would eat as a family, private time with each child, etc'There will be so much change that anything that can be kept stable will help children adjust more easily to the divorce.

  7. Co-parent with your ex if at all possible.

    Regardless of your feelings of discomfort, attempt to be together at the children's activities and events, school conferences and other joint activities. If at all possible, attempt to stabilize similar rules at both homes. The more that you and your ex can act as a team, even after divorce, the better the children will fare.

  8. Discover and rediscover a new you.

    There are activities and lifestyle changes that could help you create a new perspective. Take some risks, do some things that you gave up when you were married.

  9. Create a needs list.

    In your net relationship, and there will be another relationship, you want to make sure that you are getting the love you want and deserve. Don't settle on important traits and issues. It is not only the things that went wrong in the past relationship that you want to avoid, but things that you want that you never demanded or received that are important to get the next time around.