After the ink is dry, after the tears, after the fake smiles will you ever be the same? Quite simply, the answer is no. Divorce changes lives. Causalities often result but you don't have to be one. Survival after divorce is possible.
Despite what many believe, divorce is not a war zone with one side winning, a battle to be fought and spoils to be won. It isn't about how much we can gain in personal possessions, alimony, a one time settlement, or how visitation with the children will be divided. It is about inevitable change, happening to both the husband and the wife. No one can escape its far reaching arm. In this “battle” there are only losers.
Perhaps we didn't full understand it, especially after all the years we shared, but the tide of change can’t be stopped any more than a locomotive at high speed. Some changes leave us with no options. These are the difficult consequences, understood before we signed the divorce papers. The art of survival after divorce is to center on the changes that will allow us to move forward and create a new reality, even when we would rather hide from the world.
I am, perhaps, a slightly unique woman as I have moved past not just one, but four divorces. Each situation was slightly different, but the disbelief, the heartbreak, the struggles were all the same. There are books and articles by the hundreds perhaps thousands that are filled with sage advice on survival after divorce. You may already have some of them. However, I prefer to keep it simple. Post divorce is already complicated. There is an acronym that has helped me through the years. I call it A.F.T.E.R. - Attitude, Focus, Testing, Endeavor, Resolve.
Attitude – The “poor me” syndrome will usually strike first and you will be filled with “whys”. Perhaps, if we are analytic, we might learn something useful. But more often than not we just want to whine without a purpose. Wallowing in this mud hole will only pull you down. Emotional survival requires action. Get out of that pit, put your best foot forward, and develop a “can do” attitude.
Focus – The past is past and there is nothing we can do to change it, don’t dwell there. When tempted to bad mouth a former spouse think twice. You can tell the same negative tale over and over but it will never make a positive impact in your life. Focus your thoughts forward, finding something positive to fill your mind, even if it’s just you are still alive and can breath on your own. Keep dreaming, set goals and make plans. You are divorced, not dead.
Trials – They are par for the course. The path you are now walking wasn't the one you planned. It is a new learning experience, a new adventure, an opportunity to look inside and see your own potential. New challenges will present themselves but if they are broken down and tackled one step at a time they are easier to overcome. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help, we can always use a different perspective to give balance.
Endeavor – You must make the effort, it is your life. In what ever situation we find ourselves, it’s easy to look for an escape goat to blame, to pass the buck, and to make excuses why we can’t. The journey to your new reality begins with one small step today that will prepare you for a giant leap in the future.
Resolve – This key unlocks hidden powers. It takes super human effort to be committed to change your world and your paradigm, and it doesn't happen over night. Determination is the author of success. Push forward, allow yourself to be happy, where ever you are in your journey.
Yes, not only is it possible to survive after divorce your can thrive. Believe in yourself, keep a good attitude, focus to the future, face trials with determination, endeavor to reach for the impossible, resolve to find your dreams.