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Are you one of those people who live a dream life on her ample spousal support checks and a flow of self-love?
If not, read on, because I too understand how divorce derails your finances and your self-esteem.
I’ve been personally working through this for the last decade, and I’m here to share some dos and don’ts that can help you recover more quickly so you can get back on your feet and re-discover your new groove!
Here’s my list, and please comment with what has worked for you!
- …spend too much time with divorcees who love to complain about their exes. You’ll know when it starts feeling super yucky to moan about your ex. When that moment hits, detach from those bad vibes. If you still think these are good friends, first try to change the subject and don’t encourage ex-spouse bitching sessions. If that doesn’t work, distance yourself. I promise that new friends will come along once you purge the neg ones.
- …wallow in self-pity when you can’t even afford toilet paper at the end of the month. It turns out that month-to-month living seems to be pretty common — at least among the divorced moms that I know. You’re going to get through this, and so are your kids. So swallow your pride, shove some toilet paper in your bag from your nearest public potty, call yourself a badass outlaw and work to improve your situation for the future.
- …twist yourself into a pretzel for a guy. You are a single gal working to get her life back in order. Don’t willingly add to your list of stress by trying to “figure out” wishy-washy men. If you don’t know where you stand with a guy, that’s your answer! Don’t get me wrong, 20-something fwbs can have a time and a place, especially when you are fresh out of the gate, but if you are getting crazy over a dude who won’t commit, it’s time to block him and move on!
- …twist yourself into a pretzel for your kids. I don’t know why but people now seem to believe that they should do whatever it takes to make their kids happy. This is super weird to me, and it doesn’t work — EVER. Don’t make yourself crazy by trying to please or control your kids, because there is no rhyme or reason to this and it is contrary to any book written by any expert — EVER!
- …obsess over the past and ruminate over what you once had. There is a time to grieve, and you need to get resources to help you through it. But once you are done with that stage, it’s time to move on!
- …put an effort into good friendships. Friends who lift you up. Friends who are reliable and who you respect. You might need to find new friends, and I know you don’t have any free hours in the day, but you need to make time for this. Meetups are a great way because you can generally drop in and out and you don’t need to make a weekly commitment.
- …get real with your finances. Take it from me, financial denial may help in the short-term but it always comes crashing down. For me, I realized that even as I increased my income, I was still living month-to-month. I had a take a cold hard look at my habits to understand why I was doing this to myself.
- …let yourself have fun and be open to meeting a great guy when the timing is right for you. If you’ve been married for years and dating is new to you, read some books and blogs on the topic. It might seem silly, but understanding the basic ways that men and women work will help you to find the right relationship and to keep it. Understand that a new man is not the same man as your ex, so give him the respect of getting to know him for who he is, and how he treats you. If you don’t like how that feels with him, block him and move on! Two of my favorite resources are Baggage Reclaim (for totally relatable advice from a woman who has been through it too) and Gregg Michaelson (who is kind of cheesy and old-fashioned but 100% helped me to get into a wonderful relationship with an awesome man).
- …treat your kids like responsible humans who are going through their own experience in the world. Of course, you need to keep them safe and provide love and basic needs but let them feel what they need to feel. Let them have their own relationship with your ex and let go of what that looks like when you are not around.
- …create new goals and new beginnings. To me, once I stopped trying to re-live and change the past, I was able to move forward and build an entirely different life for me and my daughters. For example, when I stopped obsessing over having lost my beautiful house, I found a wonderful rental where I can hear the ocean — and it’s a bonus that I can simply call the landlord when things don’t work!
I once was a giant swirling mess of the Don’ts and I lived in chaos and fear. So I gathered up all of the resources I could find and worked through that weird part of my life. I treated it like an experience that I knew would pass. Now my life looks totally different and I am truly grateful. It’s not to say that everything always runs smoothly — I still have moments of panic here and there — but all and all, I wouldn’t trade my 40’s for anything in the world because they got me to where I am now. I’m enjoying my life and I look forward to going into my 50’s head-on!