The New “Single Me”
In the midst of a difficult marital relationship, sometimes the fear of what life will be like post-divorce can seem worse than staying in an unhealthy relationship. Fear of the unknown is one reason people tend to stay in marriages too long. From a social aspect, you may be losing the person who has been your best friend, your roommate, and your social companion. You may now be coming home to an empty house, spending more time alone, and going to more places by yourself. It is normal to feel lonely.
As you work through the transition to being single again, it is important to slow down, to allow yourself time to think and heal, and to take care of yourself. Use this experience as an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and become your own best friend. You may feel like you lost your identity during the marriage or are losing your identity during the divorce process.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who am I?
- What are my greatest strengths?
- What do I want to do with my life?
- What activities make me happy?
- What do I like to do for fun?
- Are there things I always wanted to do, but my spouse would never agree to do them with me?
- Are there classes I would like to take to learn new things?
- Are there groups related to hobbies or sports or common interests that I would like to join?
- Do I want to get more involved in charitable activities or religious organizations?
This is a time to create a new, full and rewarding life for yourself. Identify friends and family members who are positive and supportive, but also be open to making new friends. Join a support group of others who are going through a similar situation. The most important thing to remember is not to isolate yourself.
Be open to new activities and new people, but don’t rush into any new commitments. Although people have a natural tendency to want to begin a new relationship immediately and eliminate the uncomfortable feelings of loneliness, force yourself to stay single and uncommitted for a period of time.
The New Single Parent
The life of parenting as you know it is going to change. You will not only be managing the new single you, but you will be managing the new jobs of single parenting and co-parenting. There will be more responsibilities, scheduling challenges, a new household to set up and maintain, and conversations with the children about their grief and healing.
Time with your children will need to be focused on them. The first year will be challenging. Just know that the first year is not indicative of how the future will be. You will eventually settle into a schedule and rhythm that works for all of you. Find other single parents who have made it through the first year and ask them to share their experiences with you. Remember, finding a positive support network will help life transition in a smoother manner.
For The Children
Social life for the children is going to change as well. Identifying themselves as children of divorce may be difficult. Ideally, you and your children’s other parent will choose to live close enough to each other so that the children’s lives can maintain as much normalcy as possible. It is our hope that you will support your children by allowing them to participate in the same activities that they have in the past.
Should the two of you, as parents, choose not to live close to each other, the children’s lives will be impacted more substantially. The further the distance between their two homes, the more challenges your children will face. Distance will add the challenges of having a different set of friends at Mom’s house and at Dad’s house. It may also impact the children’s ability to participate in their regular activities, or in any activities if the driving distance is unreasonable.
It is our belief that if you choose to relocate to an area that is not close to the children’s other home, you should remain committed to helping the children stay connected to all of their friends and to continue to participate in all of the activities they are involved in.