Getting a divorce is incredibly challenging and it gets the best of all of us from time to time. In the early stages of the process, you probably felt like yelling “You’re not the boss of me!” a dozen times per day.
But now, you’ve turned the corner. Your breakup doesn’t seem as painful as it used to, does it? Have you noticed? You’re not as reactive and panicked about every little thing. Instead, you’re responding with purpose. Congratulations, you’ve learned how to deal with divorce and are now the boss of yourself!
Not sure if you’ve reached this all-important milestone in divorce recovery? Well, prepare to pat yourself on the back. Here are 17 healthy signs you’re doing a fantastic job moving through (and beyond) your divorce.
1. You talk about “the divorce,” but not incessantly.
Talking about what’s going on helps you work through honest feelings and come to grips with your divorce. It helps you think of new ways to deal with all of the changes and demands.
But you also know that if all you do is talk about your divorce, you’re probably stuck. (In which case, support from a coach or counselor can get you moving forward again.)
2. You feel your emotions, but don’t let them run your life.
You accept that feeling emotional is normal as your life changes dramatically and you grieve what was. Yet, you avoid the temptation to numb the uncomfortable feelings away with TV, alcohol, drugs, food, or even a new relationship.
This is all because you know full well you can’t get through your divorce by ignoring it.
3. You’re moving your life forward.
Your main focus is leaning into your new life (not hanging on to what you’re leaving behind). Good for you! Appropriate, purposeful baby steps taken every day will move you forward.
4. You admit that your point of view isn’t the only perspective.
Although it’s tempting to think that everything should go your way and that your perspective is 100 percent accurate, you recognize the importance of listening to all input (even your ex’s point of view) to have a full picture of any situation before taking action or forming an opinion.
5. You let your kids love and celebrate their other parent.
No matter how much you may despise your ex, you know he or she will always be your kids’ other parent. You choose to respect and support your children in maintaining as healthy and positive a relationship with your ex as possible.
You don’t bad mouth or take digs at your former spouse. You love your kids more than you hate your ex, so you make sure your kids have what they need in the divorce, too: a close relationship with both parents.
6. You make time to have fun and relax every day.
Even for just five minutes, you take time out for you. That “me time” restores the vital energy you need to make it through the rest of your day.
7. You focus on the positive.
You know that despite the difficulty of divorce, your life is still filled with good times, happy moments, and true blessings. And you notice (and enjoy) the good things daily.
8. You surround yourself with supportive people ONLY.
The people in your life listen compassionately when you talk and tell you the truth (with kindness) when you need to hear it. No enablers or “yes people” for you.
9. You know that your marriage “failing” doesn’t make you a failure.
You don’t confuse your marriage with who you are as an individual. You know you’re still lovable and desirable.
10. You avoid the blame game.
You know that it takes two people for a marriage to work and two people for a marriage to fail. You accept your part in the end of your marriage (even if it was just agreeing to marry your ex), learn from it, and move forward with your life.
11. You’re not rushing the recovery process.
You give yourself the time and space needed to adjust to and create a new life as a sensational single.
12. You listen to your attorney’s guidance thoughtfully, but still make your own decisions.
You avoid blind trust and embrace your right and responsibility to make the best long-term decisions for yourself and your family.
13. You’re financially literate (or on the fast-track to becoming so).
You’ve taken responsibility for making the most of your post-divorce financial status and you manage your money (and maybe your debt) successfully.
14. You look for peaceful solutions.
You know that fighting with your ex over any facet of the divorce is just not worth it in terms of money spent or thwarted healing for your entire family. You stand your ground when it truly matters, but let go of the small, petty stuff.
15. You keep a to-do list.
Divorce is overwhelming, with all kinds of tasks and responsibilities that you’re not used to handling. Your to-do list helps you stay on top of it all and get it all done.
16. You don’t look to your ex for emotional support.
Despite years of habit, you know your ex isn’t your confidante any longer. You now have other people (friends, family, a coach or counselor) to lean on for emotional support.
17. You stick to a healthy routine.
Your routine provides a sense of safety and security. It’s your calm in the storm. So many aspects of divorce make you feel like you have no control, but creating and maintaining a healthy, positive daily routine helps you feel grounded.
So, how are you doing? Are you handling your divorce like a boss?
If so, well done. You should feel proud. And if you’re only partly there but still struggling, keep going! Pull out the “You’re not the boss of me!” phrase in your mind any time you need it.
The sooner you take ownership of your actions and your post-divorce fate, the better you’ll feel. It’s the most mature way to take care of you and your kids.
Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce coach and advisor helping people who are considering divorce make a smart decision about staying or leaving their marriage. You can join her anonymous newsletter group for free advice or email her at [email protected] for a free consultation.