People move on after divorce in all kinds of ways. Ending a marriage is a big deal and a major milestone. It’s a time to examine what you have and where you are. Perhaps even more important, it’s a time to look at what you want and where you want to go.
Some people throw parties when they sign their divorce papers. Others plan epic trips to places they’ve always wanted to go. Still more wallow and mope. Actor Russell Crowe is embracing his divorce. The Academy Award-winning star of Gladiator, The Nice Guys, and A Beautiful Mind plans to sell all his stuff.
Not all of his stuff, but a fair amount. According to reports, he intends to auction off 227 different items. This includes jewelry, art, guitars, movie souvenirs, a car, and two motorcycles, among others.
The 53-year-old Australian says he looked around one day, saw the things that surrounded him, and took stock. He examined what mattered and what didn’t. Citing the “spirit of moving forward,” he decided to unload a bunch.
That’s certainly one way to move forward after divorce. Many people take a similar path, removing painful reminders of a relationship that didn’t work.
That’s not the only way, however. Every divorce is as different as the people involved. How a person responds depends on their unique makeup.
That said, there are some common ways to help move on after divorce.
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Don’t Ignore It
You’ve been through tough, traumatic time. After divorce, you’re bound to feel a wide variety of emotions. It’s often tough. You’re basically mourning the loss of a spouse, home, children, and way of life. All at once. You may feel anxious, depressed, angry, sad, and more.
Many men try to push these feelings down and ignore them. But that’s not healthy. Don’t pretend everything is fine; it’s not. Acknowledge your feelings. Talk about them. You can do this with friends or therapists. Support groups and online communities exist to help. In the end, by accepting what you’ve gone through, you can learn a great deal.
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But Don’t Cling to It
Don’t ignore your feelings after divorce, but also, don’t cling to the past. Admittedly, it’s often tough to let things go and move forward. Bitterness, regret, and other feelings linger and can be hard to shake. And that’s totally normal, for a while.
But you just went through a life-changing event. It’s important to accept that things will never be the same. Moving forward looks different to everyone. Maybe, like Russell Crowe, it involves getting rid of unpleasant reminders. Perhaps you can do something you’ve always wanted to, but couldn’t. It may be as basic as acknowledging that things are different and learning from the past.
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Don’t Compare Yourself to Your Ex
Don’t compare yourself to your ex after divorce. It’s a bad idea to lurk on her Facebook wall or keep tabs on her Instagram account. Not only does this hinder you moving on, if she’s out there doing great, it can be a huge bummer.
For that matter, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone has different coping mechanisms. Everyone moves forward at their own pace and in their own way. Don’t look at how quickly your brother, friend, or co-worker got over their divorce. They’re not you and you’re not them.
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There’s No Timeline After Divorce
There’s no timeline or step by step process for moving on after divorce. It would be so much easier if there was. As mentioned, everyone processes this in their own way, at their own speed. You’ll likely have days where you feel wonderful and days when you don’t.
Take as much time as you need. Don’t force anything. If you’re honest with yourself and ready to move ahead, great. But you don’t need to hit bars or dating websites just because. Go at your own tempo. Figure out what you want and need. The only person who can truly tell you you’re ready is you.
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Take Care of Yourself
All too often, men fall into bad habits after divorce. This means everything from eating McDonald’s too often to engaging in self-destructive behaviors. The divorce process takes a lot of time. And it’s easy to put off things like eating right or exercising. It’s often difficult to go to the gym after you work all day, meet with your lawyer, and combat a wave of emotion.
But men face a number of health issues after divorce. Weight gain, heart disease, and anxiety are common. Chronic stress can lead to weakened immune systems or insomnia. Instances of depression, substance abuse, and even suicide rise in men after ending a marriage. While there’s definitely a spectrum, it’s vital to take care of yourself.
There’s a nearly endless supply of advice for how to move on after divorce. These are just a few ideas and suggestions. Every case involves unique people, so every case plays out differently. What helps one person doesn’t always help someone else. You have to find what works best for you. But be active, find what makes you happy and do that, and look after yourself.
If you have questions about divorce, contact Goldberg Jones at our Portland office.
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