No matter your situation in life, divorce will always be a complicated process. But for a young divorcee, the challenges can be very different. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself lacking support or falling for the same relationship pitfalls. These practices will help you recover better from an early divorce.
Be single but mature
Divorcing in your 20s or 30s, you’re probably not that far removed from your single years. And if you didn’t have kids with your ex, that gets rid of one complicating factor in the recovery process.
It’s only natural to re-introduce yourself to single living. You no longer have to accommodate another person in your schedule. You can live for yourself, take on extra tasks at work without feeling guilt, and pursue your interests.
Best of all, you are free to spend or save money as you see fit. A lawyer experienced in wrongful death cases can tell you that even though money won’t take away the pain of loss, it helps you move forward. Do you feel like upgrading to a new apartment or investing your money for financial security? Whatever helps ease your daily living, go for it.
However, there must be limits to embracing this youthful, carefree lifestyle. You have to temper your newfound single existence with maturity. Your marriage might have ended, but it doesn’t have to go down as a failure. For that to happen, lessons must be learned.
Moving forward, you have to be particularly discerning in any new romantic relationships. Whatever factors might have led to the dissolution of your previous marriage (and there can be many of those), you have to ensure that mistakes aren’t repeated.
Brace for status anxiety
Human beings are social creatures. We’re wired to crave interaction, and with that comes a tendency for status comparison. In a typical context, this often has a beneficial effect; it drives us to do better and rewards accomplishments with a sense of satisfaction.
But status can have a pronounced, negative effect when you get divorced at a young age. Your closest relationships are probably with people around your age. And if you got married early, you might be ahead of the curve. By the time you split, your friends might be falling in love, getting married, or having kids.
These factors make it difficult to stay engaged with the people you love because they have less time for you. At the same time, they invite comparisons that aren’t exactly helpful to your post-divorce state of mind. You’ll see friends posting about their travels with their significant other or sharing moments of domestic bliss.
This sort of status pressure can lead to anxiety or feelings of isolation and loneliness. You might not want to intrude on your close friends in their busy, happy lives, but who else do you turn to for support when you feel such negativity?
In this situation, it might be best to seek advice from a professional therapist. Or you could talk to an older family member who might have been through the same ordeal and has more time to spare listening to your thoughts. Whatever you do, don’t handle this burden alone.
Write a new story
Perhaps the biggest challenge you face as a young divorcee is the sense that a window has closed. You fell in love with someone, shared a piece of your life with them, and maybe changed yourself without realizing it. You married them because you envisioned a future together.
That future no longer exists. You might find that it’s easier to forgive your ex and move on with your life than it is to stop mourning the loss of what might have been.
However, what has happened to you doesn’t have to define you. You can’t change the past, but you can determine its place in your story. Dealing with this sense of grief requires you to close that unwritten chapter and embrace the challenge of rewriting your narrative.
If you haven’t already started, now is a great time to begin keeping a journal. You might not be ready to talk about some things, not even with your parents, siblings, or dearest friends. But writing them down in a journal helps you to gain separation and perspective.
Make it a habit, and you can slowly fit the pieces and give shape to your story. You can envision a new future. Maybe it’s one where you focus on your career, renew and strengthen your relationships with friends and family, or meet someone better. No matter where it takes you, you have control and many great years ahead of you.