Don't lose heart after an early divorce
Divashri Sinha,MUMBAI MIRROR,Mar 7, 2011, 11.51am IST
Life doesn't come to an end if you get divorced in your 30s. Here's how you can pull yourself together
Find yourself at the end of a marriage, single and emotionally-stranded in your late 30s? While at some ages it's easier to bounce back from upheavals, the late 30s and early 40s are not the easiest in these matters. The silver lining, however, is that it's a lifealtering event which, if played well, can lead you to a happier place ultimately. The trick is to put one foot in front of the other and move on to making a full recovery. Marriage counsellor and therapist, Manju Jain debriefs you on things you must get in order, if you find yourself at this difficult crossroad.
The death of a relationship, no matter how long its duration, is always intense and difficult. In your 20s and early 30s, it is easier to wrap up an intimate relationship. For a middle-aged adult with multiple responsibilities, this process magnifies manifold.
- Take the time to grieve, heal and restore. However, there will come a time when you'll have to accept facts and just get on with life. If you have children, they will force you to keep your focus in check.
- While it is an immensely overwhelming feeling, terms like "my life is over" or "I've lost everything" are very powerful and have a strong impact on how you feel. Recognise that this isn't factually true and work on it from there.
- Your emotional vulnerability and insecurities need to be addressed. To begin with, get a good listener. Create a support squad of your closest friends and family who won't mind providing you with emotional support, professional guidance and ongoing inspiration. Realise that you're not the first person to go through this.
- Avoid discussing your issues with or in front of your children. They have their own issues to deal with.
In the end, it doesn't matter whose fault it was. Don't fester over revenge and orchestrate devious plans of ruining your ex's life. Negative energy needs to be dispelled even though forgetting and forgiving may sound like a tall order. Concentrate your energy on clearing your mind space. Don't focus on anger, focus on yourself. De-clutter.
- While you may no longer be the one half of a couple any longer, you are still 100 per cent the same person you were. Go back and rediscover yourself. Make a trip, preferably alone. After a long spell of marriage, finding the courage and independence to travel alone will give you the confidence to survive as a singleton.
- Do what you loved to do before you got married. Many people, especially by the time they reach their middle age, have put themselves aside for the sake of their families and given up on things they used to love. If you once loved to dance or paint or ride a motorcycle, do it again.
- Focus on your professional graph to ensure you don't get sucked into a downward depression cycle.
- Get counselling if you need it. Divorce is traumatic so if you find that you are having problems sleeping, are depressed or have feelings of low self-esteem, get help. While these are common things to go through after, they can become a serious matter if they begin to interfere with your life.
Get back in the game
Getting back into the dating game can be rough because you have been out of it for a while. It can feel daunting. The thing with going into long droughts after a divorce is that, the more you prolong getting back in the game, the tougher you are making it for yourself.
- Do things that make you feel beautiful and don't bother trying to compete with younger men and their trimmer behinds. Embrace your beauty and wear your accomplishments proudly.
- Having been through a marriage, you will be very clear about what you are looking for. Don't rush into anything for the fear of being alone. So whether it is a meaningful long relationship or a short term casual association, you will have to make the effort of starting off, even if the first few turn out to be bumpy. Get a group of friends together and slowly start getting yourself out there.
Over the years, people can let their body image slide and become sloppy. Feeling good is a lot about looking good.
- Hit the gym. Don't try to achieve miracles for your body. But it will keep you physically active and release the healthy feel good endorphins. Get a manicure, pedicure, and a snazzy new wardrobe.
- Don't let age, work, stress and children be the excuse for you to neglect your health. It's common for people going through a divorce to eat too much or too little. Eat a well-balanced diet and get at least 30 minutes of exercise for three to five days a week.
- Wear make up to work, do your hair well. Tone down the scruff and create a positive body image.
After all the legalities are done away with, ensure you have a grip on your financial condition and assets. After years of shared bank accounts and joint ownership of assets, this process is particularly painful. But make sure you don't feel cheated of your rightful share.
- Get your household finances in order. If your spouse took care of balancing the cheque book and paying the bills when you were married, now you need to be able to run your own finances successfully.
- Keep a record of when certain bills, such as credit card bills and utility bills, are due, so that you won't be lagging behind in making payments.
- Keep all important finance-related paperwork, such as bank statements and insurance policies together in a drawer, where they can easily be found. Following a divorce, being able to manage your money wisely is pivotal to getting your life in order.