Learning to Be Happy Again After Your Divorce

Woman with baby chatting with divorced dad online.

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Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster. Getting "out of the habit" of being married can be an overwhelming time in any person's life. If you're going through the process of divorce now, happiness may seem far, far away. However, while a bright future may not seem possible right now, a happier life after a divorce is more realistic than you might imagine. To start moving forward and learning how to be happy again, consider the following tips.

Develop Emotional Intelligence

Accept your emotions and let go of the feelings. Accept your emotions and let go of the feelings. Research shows that initially accepting your raw emotions after divorce helps you positively move forward and it reduces negative emotions later on.

Mark Banschick, MD

I think it is important not only to recognize but also [to] acknowledge how you feel. We don't want people just suppressing things or criticizing themselves constantly because then there's a lot less [of a] chance that we can grow from those experiences.

— Mark Banschick, MD

Join a Support Group

It's so important to talk about what happened in your marriage. You'll feel less isolated if you make friends with people who can relate to and understand how difficult it is for you now that things have changed. A therapist, divorce support group, or a supportive friend will help you work through thoughts and feelings which may be causing you anxiety.

Focus on Loving Yourself First

To put it simply, you need to love yourself before loving someone else. There is absolutely no better time than now for self-care and nurturing your needs. Remember that the old adage "selfless people are selfish" holds true in this case. Because your mental state and physical health impact how you show up as a partner or spouse later on, it's important to work on these things for yourself first.

Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how you can learn to be kinder to yourself.

Set Some Goals

Now that you've entered a new phase of your life without your spouse, it's a perfect time to reassess your personal goals. You might want to consider whether you're on the right career track, if you need to upgrade your skills or seek out more training, or if you should be looking for a job that allows you more flexibility.

Also, start by making a list of all the things you enjoy doing. For example, maybe you enjoy:

  • Playing music
  • Painting
  • Sculpting
  • Jogging through the woods
  • Spending a day at the beach
  • Visiting museums or art galleries
  • Going to pubs and clubs with live music performances by local bands
  • Taking part in outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, canoeing, and camping trips

You might have forgotten what you enjoyed during the last years of your relationship. Rekindle those interests and make time for them.

Move Forward as a Single Parent

If you have children, accept that the divorce is final and you are now a single parent. This might be the hardest step for you. You don't want to let go of your hopes that your marriage will one day get better. Or, if you have decided divorce is best for the children and yourself, know that it won't be easy either way. You are ready to face a new life as a single parent as soon as you accept this fact.

Unfortunately, divorce affects your children going forward. Do your best to communicate well with the other parent and never talk badly about them in front of your children.

Older children can be told what is going on and given a choice of living with one parent or the other. Younger children don't know how to process what is happening and will need lots of reassurance that they are still loved. They should not be forced to choose between mom or dad.

Expect to Lose Some Friends

When you go through a divorce, it's natural that some relationships become strained. It's okay to lose some friendships; you can't keep the same friends that you did before your divorce if they're not respectful or supportive of your decision.

Seek out new friends who don't know about your divorce; they'll be able to provide emotional support without judgment.

Join an Online Dating Site

After your divorce, you might not feel like getting elbow-deep in another relationship. You might want to try something different, like meeting people online instead of going out and trying your luck at a bar or party.

The internet is an excellent way to meet new people who share your interests. You can find things in common with these individuals very quickly without having to go through the awkward phase of going on first dates and trying to make small talk.

Buy Yourself Something Nice Every Once in a While

Chances are that you haven't spent much money on yourself while going through your divorce. While you still don't want to break the bank, consider buying yourself a little something every once in a while.

Remember, you won't have gifts coming from a spouse now (if you even did before), so treat yourself like you would a friend or partner. Be your own best partner for the time being until you have someone else in your life to treat you well.

Stop Feeling Like You Should Have Made it Work

You may feel as though your divorce is the worst thing that's ever happened in your life, but you should really take a step back and evaluate it. You might notice some things about yourself or even more importantly, about your spouse, that clearly show they would have never been able to make this work no matter what you did for them.

It's fine to mourn the relationship but not fine to let that drag on indefinitely. When that happens, you are not only putting yourself through unnecessary hardship and pain, but also affecting your children (if you have them), and everyone who cares about you and wants to see you happy.

It's okay to feel good again with your life even though you got divorced. You deserve all that the world has to offer to you.

A Word From Verywell

If you're really struggling with the aftermath of your divorce, seek professional help. Remember that the decision to end your marriage was not made lightly. It came after years of trying, talking, and counseling. You are not a failure if your relationship didn't work out. There are good things ahead in your future if you can hang on and get through the roughest times. Above all else, it's more important that you move forward from your divorce as a happy, healthy person.

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  1. Ghorbani Amir HA, Moradi O, Arefi M, Ahmadian H. The effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on cognitive-emotional regulation, resilience, and self-control strategies in divorced women. Avicenna Journal of Neuro Psycho Physiology. 2019;6(4). doi:10.32598/ajnpp.6.4.5