I’ll never find anyone ever again! Where do I even start? And how can I cope with it all, on top of my child? These questions are all perfectly understandable after a divorce or separation! It’s totally normal to initially feel overwhelmed after a divorce or separation and not really know what you’re doing with your life. After all, a divorce or separation is a life-changing event: it turns your life upside down from one day to the next. Especially if you’ve been in your partnership or marriage for a long time, your mind might be left ruminating on all kinds of questions about life, your partner and love in general. And if you had children with your partner, there’s another challenge to consider.
But we can promise you one thing: no matter how hard it might seem to start with, it’s 100% possible to make a fresh start after a divorce or separation! Here, we’ve put together a few tips to help you get through the separation or divorce phase and start your life anew. Ready for a fresh start? Let’s go!
1. Learn to leave the past in the past
In the wake of your divorce or separation, is your head constantly filled with memories of your ex-partner? With thoughts of the cosy blanket she loved, the one you snuggled up under on the settee in the evening, just the two of you? Or that one jumper, the one that was far too big but that you loved borrowing from him – especially when it was rainy and miserable outside? That’s all well and good, but the first tip to bear in mind is: leave the past in the past! That’s crucial. It goes without saying that a long-term partnership or marriage will shape you and your partner for life. You spent many happy years together until you or your partner reached the point where things simply couldn’t go on. No matter how your separation or divorce came about, there’ll always be a connection between you and your partner. That said, a divorce or separation means that this connection between you, once so special, will no longer exist in the same form. You need to get used to this idea after a divorce or separation. And one thing, above all else, helps with this: time. Our tip? See this divorce or separation as a fresh start, an opportunity to open yourself up to something new. Just think about the saying “April showers bring May flowers”. Imagine what kinds of wonderful things might be waiting for you once you’ve got through the hardest phase! Let your imagination run wild.
2. How to involve your children?
So, you’re finally ready for a fresh start after your divorce or separation and you’ve recently met someone nice too. As a mother or father, there’s doubtless one fundamental question playing on your mind: how am I supposed to explain this to my children? After all, a fresh start for you also means a fresh start for your children. Following a divorce or separation, what’s the best way to tell them that an important relationship has come to an end and that a new one might well be starting up? Ultimately, they will have formed a close connection to your now-ex-partner as time went on.
Our tip? Ideally, your children shouldn’t be told everything about your separation or divorce. That’s critical in this phase. It can make perfect sense to shield them from certain topics, but it depends hugely on how old the children are. If they’re old enough to engage in shared conversations with your former partner about the separation or divorce and the feelings of everyone involved, this can be a valuable learning process (in the ideal scenario). It teaches them that conflicts and even separation/divorce can be overcome and that people can remain in contact, despite their difficulties. This kind of process can also benefit your own divorce or separation by helping to clarify how you want to handle things as separated parents moving forward.
3. Be brave enough to make a fresh start
A fresh start sounds so poetic and full of hope, like an ocean brimming with possibilities. But if you yourself are facing a fresh start, things look rather different. What am I going to do with my life? And where does my fresh start, well, start? We understand it’s not easy to separate and say goodbye. At the end of the day, a divorce or separation also forces you to let a part of yourself go. Of course, it makes a difference if you were broken up with, if you ended the relationship, or if it was a mutual decision to call it a day. Ultimately, it’s not just about making space for challenging feelings after a divorce or separation; it’s also about having the courage to open yourself up to life and daring to make a fresh start.
4. Activities and friendships
So you and your ex have now decided to go your separate ways. You may feel as if the rug has been pulled out from underneath you. This isn’t an easy phase, at all. During and after a separation or divorce, people normally need a special kind of support: a long-standing part of their life has fallen away. When it’s time to make a fresh start, friends and acquaintances are crucially important for singles. After all, friendship is a form of love, too, and that is exactly what singles are yearning for the most after the end of a partnership: love. That’s the very reason why it’s so important for singles not to cloister themselves away after a divorce or separation and instead to let their friends take care of them. Even if you don’t feel like having any social contact again in the early days, this can often be the first step to starting a new chapter in your life. We’ll be honest: most activities, be it sports, hiking or cinema trips, are more fun as a pair or in a group. Luckily, your loved ones are just a phone call away.
5. Enjoy being single
Being single might feel strange after a long-term relationship or marriage. Everything feels new in the early days of a separation. Ultimately, it’s a fresh start in many respects. Following a long relationship, it’s completely OK to focus on yourself for a while, rather than jumping straight into your next relationship.
Our tip? Take your time and start by enjoying being single! After all, the single life has so many benefits. You can finally do what YOU want, without having to justify yourself to anyone! In other words, you’re the only person in charge of what you do in your free time. What do you fancy? A lie-in? Bouldering with friends? Or a cosy trip to the cinema?
6. Dating – here’s to a new partner!
New love brings new happiness? If only it were that easy! For lots of people, dating after a separation is a big step, with the mere thought of a new relationship giving newly minted singles the creeps. When’s the right time to start a new relationship? When am I over my old relationship and ready for a new one? When will I know that I feel brave enough to make a fresh start? What’s the best way to include my children in my search for a new partner? Do I want my new partner to have any children of their own? These are all questions that might apply to people after a separation, and there’s no one right answer to them. In this phase, we recommend taking the time to talk to your own children and also to talk to friends who’ve had similar experiences. Seeking advice and a listening ear can help you during this process.
7. A new partnership – during or after your separation
A new partnership goes hand-in-hand with new love – and new challenges. For some, one relationship flows into the next or is even a factor that contributes to the separation. For others, it takes time until they can devote themselves fully to a loving partnership. No matter which scenario applies to you, the question of a shared foundation is something everyone needs to think about. Is my new partner ready to get involved with my own children? Are my children able to accept a new partner? It takes time, and lots of reflection, to answer these and similar questions.
In short, our helpful tips mean there’s nothing stopping you getting a fresh start after a separation
You can have a successful fresh start after the end of a long-term relationship. However, there’s no doubt that it first takes a little bit of time to get used to being single after a divorce or separation. Take time to find your feet in your new situation and the single life. It’s totally normal to feel a bit helpless and stuck to start with. But we’re sure our tips will get you used to your new single life in a flash: you’ll soon acquire a taste for your new-found freedom and flexibility. Throwing yourself into the single life usually goes hand-in-hand with new experiences, adventures and, not least, a new, inspiring and happy relationship. So, stand up, straighten your crown, and keep going. After all, rain is always followed by sunshine – and plenty of it!