How to Cope with Divorce

I was recently invited to collaborate on an expert panel and share some insights on how cope with divorce. Here are my best tips:

Divorce is a transition that can wreak havoc on your family and your emotions and internal world.

It is, much like death, a very, very significant loss in your life and needs to be treated as such. You are especially vulnerable to the challenges without healthy coping mechanisms and a recovery plan.

1.) Process your emotions.

Quite simply, don’t hold everything inside of you and “pretend” you’re unaffected.

Divorce is loss, and loss means you have to grieve.

Grieving means identifying the thoughts, feelings, and words you didn’t express, and communicating these (obviously, I’d recommend doing this in therapy). I tell clients all the time – you have to go THROUGH the pain, you cannot go AROUND the pain.

Although challenging, leaning into grieving will help you recover more quickly.

2.) Make self-care a priority.

There are TONS of ways to take care of yourself.

I educate clients on 7 types of self-care; they include everything from health & wellness, to spirituality, to social activities, to mastery tasks. Self-care is crucial for self-esteem and mood boosts and even the tiniest bit is better than nothing.

Remember who you are and what makes you feel good, and begin by just doing a little bit of that on a weekly basis.

3.) Learn what didn’t work and how to fix it.

At a certain point, healthy recovery includes being able to understand and highlight the ways in which you contributed to the downward spiral of the relationship.

This is the less emotional, more “personal responsibility” part of therapy typically.

Whether it’s picking the wrong partner, communication errors, unrealistic expectations, and more – it takes two to tango and you likely played a part. No blame game here – just realistic exploration of what you can do better to find a more fulfilling relationship in the future.

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