Divorce can best be seen as an opportunity for growth. Learning from your mistakes can be a way to turn a divorce from something that could feel like the loss of a dream and a failure into a springboard to a happier future.
That only works, however, if you avoid some of the biggest post-divorce traps. Some common mistakes can make post-divorce life much harder than it needs to be and limit your personal growth.
The top post-divorce mistakes you need to avoid
Every situation (and relationship) is different, but ask yourself if you’re doing any of the following:
- Are you romanticizing the past and forgetting how bad things really were? During your marriage, you may have been constantly aware of your ex’s shortcomings. Now that your marriage is over, they may seem more appealing to you. Time and distance can erase the intensity of your memories about the bad times.
- Are you psyching yourself into believing that you’ll never find someone new? Post-divorce loneliness can make you question if you should have “settled” for what you had. (No.) This is a good time to start thinking about what you do — and do not — want in a partner so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes of the past.
- Are you obsessing over your ex-spouse’s new life? Social media can make the trap that much more easy to fall into because your ex will only be putting out a polished, positive image of themselves for others. Remember that neither their life nor their new relationship is nearly as happy as they try to make it seem online. Instead of stalking their profile, consider blocking them.
Sometimes people push themselves too hard to find closure, move on and even be friends with their ex-spouses when they need time to think, grieve and heal. Don’t rush things. Therapy, support groups and even journaling or art can all go a long way toward helping you analyze your role in the marital breakdown and learn from it.
Even after a divorce is over, you may still occasionally need to deal with your ex on issues like custody and support or unfinished business with your property. You’ll be on a much better footing if you avoid the pitfalls listed above and find emotional stable ground, first.