Moving on after loss can seem impossible when it’s happening to you.
Whether you are moving through a divorce, or grieving your partner passing, the process is different for everyone.
You do have to allow yourself time to grieve, otherwise all you do is put it behind a brick wall, and at some point that brick wall is going to come down.
If you are stuck in the grief holding pattern, and the idea of moving on is still incredibly daunting, let’s look at some ways to help make the steps to moving on a little easier.
MOVING ON AFTER DIVORCE
The first step in recovering from a divorce is to give yourself permission to take the time that you need to heal. During this time, you may also want to consider speaking with a counsellor or joining a support group – divorce is a lonely experience, but that doesn’t mean that you need to go through it alone!
Let blame and bitterness go. Regardless of who initiated the split, it’s important to recognise the futility of blame. If you find yourself consumed by bitter thoughts – or grief, if you were the one left – you must recognise that it is happening. Some people find putting everything they’re feeling and experiencing into writing can be helpful. For others, just talking it through with close friends is enough. Otherwise, it’s best to turn to a professional. An experienced therapist can give you coping tactics and help you find a path forward if you’re deeply hurt and unable to move on with your life.
Accept what you can and cannot control. There are always going to be things out of your control, and any attempt on your part to change that will inevitably result in further frustration and unhappiness. Many initiators of late-life divorce are taken aback by the sudden animosity of their former in-laws, or other extended family.
Recognise that this is out of your hands. You can’t control what your ex-spouse or anyone else says, thinks or does, but you can control your reactions. Remind yourself that if they decide to be bitter, or angry, that’s their decision. It needn’t stop you from moving on with your life.
Reframe your thinking. It’s easy to see your past marriage through a negative lens. Words such as “failure” or “waste” may be cropping up in your mind over and over. Thinking like this is not only pointless, it’s harmful for your mental health and prevents you from moving on and making the most of your future. Your marriage was an important part of your life, and a valuable experience. Just because it didn’t last forever doesn’t make it a failure.
Get to know yourself again. It’s easy to end up suppressing certain elements of oneself when in a long-term relationship, even subconsciously. Try writing a list of all the things you’d have liked to do whilst married, but couldn’t, or wouldn’t. Next to that, list all the things you will never, ever do again, now that you’re single after all these years. Looking at these lists side by side will give you a clearer picture of who you are now and where you might be going.
Take stock of your health. Your physical health is the basis for everything else and as we get older, we can no longer take our health for granted. As tempting as it may be to give in to comfort eating, excess drinking etc. to get through the