June 2022 Newsletter

The “Fresh Start” issue – Ending a relationship is difficult and sad, but it’s also an opportunity for a fresh start. This issue opens with A Fresh Start: 5 Ways to Reclaim Your Life After Divorce, followed by How To Let Go Of Bitterness After Divorce, and concludes with New Relationship: Are Your Expectations High Enough?

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A Fresh Start: 5 Ways to Reclaim Your Life After Divorce

By Charlie Fletcher, April 20, 2022, posted on www.divorcedmoms.com

Going through a divorce can leave you feeling emotionally drained, financially insecure, and even worried about your future. No matter how long you were married or how the relationship ended, divorce is never easy. It can cause you to feel like you’ve lost part of your identity, and you might not know which direction your life is headed.

Take a deep breath. Those thoughts and feelings are perfectly normal, but they don’t have to be permanent.

Reclaim Your Life after Divorce

Now that you’re done dealing with judges and lawyers, you can start writing the next chapter of your life and reclaim your identity after a divorce. If you’re not sure how to get started, we’ve got a few suggestions on how to give yourself the fresh start you deserve.

1. Consider a Move

Typically, one person will remain in the marital home after a divorce, especially if kids are involved. Or, a couple might choose to sell the home and split the profits. Whatever the case, it can be beneficial to move to a different home or new location entirely if you have the ability.

There can be countless memories attached to a house, a town, and even specific buildings. Any place that reminds you of the negative aspects of your relationship can be detrimental to your healing process.

If you have the freedom and the finances, consider moving to a place that offers a good social and entertainment scene. Doing so will encourage you to “get out there” and jumpstart the next phase of your journey.

2. Take Care of Your Body

It can be hard to find the motivation to work out and eat healthy after going through a stressful divorce. All of us have seen the stereotypes of women in movies and TV shows sitting in bed eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and watching romantic comedies.

There’s nothing wrong with that – in moderation. It’s okay to grieve the loss of your marriage and find comfort in the things you love.

However, it’s not a long-term solution, and won’t get you started on a fresh path in life.

Instead, try to focus on taking care of your body. It’s a wonderful form of self-care, and regular exercise has countless benefits, including

  • It can improve your mood
  • It boosts your energy
  • It reduces stress
  • You’ll boost your cardiovascular health
  • You’ll increase your stamina
  • You’ll sleep better

It’s okay to start small. Go for a walk around the neighborhood or commit to jogging every morning. Join a dance class or a sports team. Find what works for you and makes you feel happy. Playing a sport or joining a class can be especially effective for your mental health as they’ll allow you to meet new people and not feel so alone.

3. Manage Your Mental Health

Speaking of your mental well-being, it’s crucial to make it a priority after a divorce. According to a study done by AARP, 28% of people over the age of 40 experience depression after going through a divorce. If you’re truly struggling with your mental wellness, one of the best things you can do is consider seeking professional help. A therapist can work with you to overcome those feelings and start you on a healthier path forward.

However, there are also things you can incorporate into your daily routine to prioritize your mental health and reclaim your thoughts and your life, including

Self-care is hugely important when it comes to your mental health. Try to do something each day that reduces your stress and makes you feel good about yourself. By finding more activities that boost your mental wellness, bit by bit, you’ll start to feel more like yourself than you have in years, and you’ll have more confidence in yourself that you can “start over” and enjoy a new life.

4. Reclaim Your Finances

A divorce can be financially draining. Between attorney fees and potentially owing your former spouse, you might be worried about your financial situation while you’re trying to start over on your own.

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to reclaim your finances and start building a better nest egg.

Start by reevaluating your job. Maybe your spouse was the “breadwinner” in your marriage and you’re looking for a job for the first time. Choose a career path that you can see yourself in for a long time. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to work from home or work as a freelancer. Do you have a specific skill that you can advertise to others? You might be able to start a side-hustle or full-time job by putting it to good use.

If you already have a job but you’re looking for more ways to build wealth and secure your finances, consider looking into different investments. Even if you’re on a budget, you can build wealth through various savings accounts, or by looking into nontraditional investment types. Investing is a great way to secure your retirement and provide for your kids in the future.

5. Let Go of Your Past

This is perhaps the most important tip for reclaiming your life after divorce.

You’re never going to be able to truly move ahead unless you let go of the pain and frustration caused by your marriage and the divorce process. No matter how things ended, you have to be able to forgive yourself and your former spouse.

Don’t hold grudges. Be willing to co-parent if you share kids. Focus on moving forward in life, rather than holding on to the things that caused so much turmoil. You don’t control what happens to you, but you do control how you react to it. While it will take time and effort to fully heal from your divorce, choosing to “let go” is a good place to start. The longer you hold onto the pain, the longer it will take for you to reclaim your life.

You’ve been given a clean slate. It might not feel like it right now, but this is a chance to start fresh and not only write the rest of your story but reclaim your identity while you’re at it. Use this opportunity to rediscover who you are and who you want to be, and use these tips to help you get started on that road of discovery.

How To Let Go Of Bitterness After Divorce

By Martha Bodyfelt, April 25, 2022, posted on www.divorcedmoms.com

If the bitterness after divorce is still holding you prisoner, remember that you don’t have to get stuck in it alone.

 When we are experiencing or recovering from divorce, remembering to find joy in everyday things during any season can be difficult. One of the reasons that we can find it impossible to move on is when we are still held prisoner to one of the nastiest feelings of all.

Bitterness After Divorce

Bitterness after divorce is nasty. Unlike feelings of guilt and shame, what makes it so ugly is that it has a tendency to turn you into someone who is angry at their own life situation that it is impossible to plan for the future. But what you need to remember is you don’t need to live with it, it doesn’t need to become a part of you, and you certainly don’t have to resign yourself to a life of feeling like crap.

Remaining bitter means that you are a prisoner of your past when you should be focusing on your future instead.

Bitterness after divorce is a combination of anger, disappointment, and resentment at being treated unfairly. Did you notice that? The verb treated is in the past tense, and it deals with things that happened that you cannot change and cannot control. And the more you continue to look in the past, the harder and harder it becomes to plan for the things you can control. Such as your future. And your happiness.

So, knock it off. Every time you feel yourself getting bitter for something that happened in your marriage, nip that thought in the bud. And instead, start channeling those feelings and that energy into planning your new life.

Being bitter means that you are letting your ex continue to hurt you, and you deserve better than that craziness.

Feeling resentful because of being treated unfairly during your marriage sucks. It’s completely not fair and not right that your ex did not treat you with the love and respect that you deserved.

But remember, that the longer you allow yourself to angry, the longer and easier it is for them to have control over you.

Remember that your marriage with this person has ended, and you do not owe them ANY of your emotional energy. Divorce gave you the chance to start over. So why let your ex have any more control over you? This is your chance to define who you are, what it is that you want, and where it is that you want to be. And that has nothing to do with your ex being able to dictate how you feel, which is exactly what happens when you’re bitter.

You can let it go. You deserve to let it go. Because it does not serve you.

Exercise: How to get rid of the bitterness

Need some help shaking feelings of resentment? This exercise will get you started!

Write down the things that make you bitter. But don’t spend a whole lot of time reflecting on that type of stuff for a number of reasons. One, because the factors leading up to you feeling that way are in your past, which you can’t change. And two, because the only way you can overcome those feeling is to reframe how you think of it and focus on the future instead. Need some examples?

“I feel bitter because I got screwed over with money in the settlement.”

After you have written down what you feel bitter about, now is the time to reframe that state of mind. The problem with being bitter is that it forces us to look at something in the negative light, when, in fact, what we feel to be something negative may actually be a blessing in disguise. Like this;

I’m feeling like I got screwed over.

What does that mean exactly? Do I feel like I now have to be more careful with my finances? Well, doesn’t that actually mean that I now have the freedom to watch my own budget and prioritize what’s important for me, instead of having to ask for their permission or having someone watch what I’m doing all the time? Heck yes! Now I get to manage my own finances—it may be difficult because I may not be as comfortable as I once was, but what I have and what I control is mine and mine alone.

If the bitterness is still holding you, prisoner, remember that you don’t have to get stuck in it alone.

It’s normal to have some residual hard feelings after a split. However, if you find yourself not being able to shake it after time has passed, and even by changing your mindset, remember that you have options for reaching out for a little assistance. Depending on your needs, you may find that working with a divorce coach or a therapist can help you pinpoint what is holding you back and can help you move on.

You should not have to be a prisoner to feeling bitter, and there is no reason that it needs to control your life. Remember that you are better than that, and that you deserve a hell of a lot more for yourself and your future than letting those feelings of resentment and unjust treatment way you down. You have an awesome future ahead of you and you deserve to be happy.

New Relationship: Are Your Expectations High Enough?

by Karen Czuleger Strgacich, April 01, 2022, posted on www.divorcedmoms.com

Sometimes I think I was one in a million. I was raised by a father who was loving, kind, wise, and a true protector. And he encouraged me to be who I actually was, not who he wanted me to be. He allowed me to fail when I needed to so that I could also pick myself up and start over.

He did this all while watching me as I grew up, always letting me know he was on the sidelines cheering me on and also there if the fall was so bad I needed help getting up. I never received a judgment on any of my failures growing up. Even in the failure of my marriage.

I think I have measured most of the men in my life, including my former husband as assuming they were made of that kind of stuff too. How disappointed I was when I found out that they weren’t. I have had to step back and realize that it may have been too tall of an order for any man to even come close to the kind of man my father was.

Are Your Expectations High Enough?

I have been a divorced woman for many years. I have had a few relationships in the past twenty or so years. But no one has met my expectations. I had many people tell me that my standards were too high. “No one will ever be your dad”, they would say. But then I realized that it wasn’t because my standards have been too high, it was because my standards have been too low. And maybe, just maybe that is why my marriage broke up and why I haven’t met anyone who I feel could actually be “the one”.

I am now at a place in my life where my standards are where they should be. After all, my father never cheated on his wife. But my husband did. And what I have learned about myself is two things.

Being the Heavy Lifter

First, I never again want to be the entire support structure of a relationship. In my marriage and relationships following divorce, I was the one who always put someone else’s feelings and needs in front of my own. I was always the heavy lifter in my relationships. Receiving very little support back. To that, I now say, “Screw that!”

I now see how utterly blind I have been. I never for one minute exercised the standards of care that I saw in my own parents’ relationship in my marriage. And I took that ridiculous behavior into the next relationships I found myself in. Never again!

I now have expectations and standards that are just decent, loving, and kind. In other words, if it’s too hard to be all of those things to me then shove off! And if I never meet someone who I find to be all of those things and more, then I am better off being the independent woman I am who is just fine on her own.

I Complete Myself

Second, I have found out that even though I want a healthy, happy, and secure relationship, I know that a man cannot be the end all be all to my so-called completion. If I can’t be responsible for completing myself, I have no right to ask someone else to be that for me. Why in the world would anyone even want that? I don’t want to be responsible for completing anyone either.

That would put me right back into the heavy lifting spot I was in before. I cringe when I see married people having one on Facebook. Dave Mary Smith with one picture, like they cannot even try to be two people with two different lives. What I found out is that if you take on that responsibility again and help complete the person you are in a relationship with, you sacrifice your own completion. It’s not your job to make anyone whole.

I am a true believer that you have to listen to your gut at all times. I have always been a woman with strong intuition. I have also been a great suppressor of that intuition and gut feeling. On every occasion that I have done that, I have regretted it. I am sure that where I am today as a divorced woman who raised two children alone is a direct result of my suppressing my gut feelings when I had inclinations that my husband was not faithful.

On the morning of my wedding day, I was sick to my stomach. I assumed it was just my nerves about the big wedding day. But my gut was telling me something else. Maybe it was because I was about to be married to someone I wasn’t all that sure about. Maybe my gut was telling me that this was not the standard of a man that I should be hitching my wagon to.

The conclusion to all of these thoughts is that believing in yourself, your gut, and your expectations of being with a man who is already whole in his own right is the right way to go. In my opinion, there is nothing more attractive than a man who knows who he is and who doesn’t require you to be his definition. That’s not what a relationship is for. It’s a two-way highway of gives and takes. Days that are good and days that are not. But in the end, they still make you happier being together than apart. How lovely that seems to me! And that’s what my standards and expectations are now!

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