Divorce is more than just the end of a legal marriage arrangement. It’s a life-altering event with consequences that ripple across all areas of life.
The biggest upheavals are not only emotional, but also financial, social and logistical. Divorce may mean a drastic change in your standard of living, with income and resources stretched thin. If you’ve been a homemaker, you may have to consider reentering the workforce. You’ll have to navigate tricky social relationships involving mutual friends – which may mean losing friends. You may also be struggling with finding a new place to live, spending time apart from your kids and coming to terms with your new identity as a single person.
It’s no wonder that adjusting to post-divorce life can be difficult.
However, according to one study, some spouses are in a better position to move on than others. You’re more likely to have a swift and relatively easy adjustment if the following apply.
1. You initiated the divorce.
If you sought out the divorce, you were probably ready to let go by the time you first filed the paperwork. You were likely mentally prepared for the changes ahead. Perhaps you had a vision for the future, and now you’re ready to make that vision a reality.
Your spouse, by contrast, may have been caught totally off guard. Even if your spouse saw it coming, they may have been in denial, or may not have been ready to throw in the towel. Their time to mourn the relationship has just begun.
2. You have fewer qualms about divorce in general.
Married couples have wide-ranging views on divorce. Some are more accepting of it than others. Your upbringing, values, religious beliefs, relationship history, life experiences and countless other factors play a role in shaping your perspective.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with having deep-seated convictions about marriage and divorce. However, those who hold more conservative views on divorce tend to have a harder time adjusting. They’re more likely to see divorce as a personal (and perhaps moral) failure. Their identity may be strongly rooted in their marriage. As a result, it’s not something they can just “get over.”
3. You‘re dating, remarried or in a long-term relationship.
Forming new romantic relationships – if and when you’re ready – is a good indication that you’ve emotionally detached from your ex, and you’re entering a new phase of life. Even casual dating is a confidence-booster. Those who are able to take this next step have accepted their status as a single person. They’re beginning to move on.
Long-term relationships and remarriage also help provide the stability that was lost during divorce. Once you reach this milestone, life is probably far more settled than it was during the turmoil of separation.
One thing to keep in mind
Every marriage – and every divorce – is different. Your own ability to cope with divorce in a healthy manner can’t be boiled down to a few factors or a formula. What’s more, there’s no set timetable for moving on. Everyone adjusts at their own pace and in their own way.