Alas! A New Year has come and gone again. For most of my current clients, 2015 was a rough year. It brought them the end of their marriages. The year may have been filled with conflict with a former spouse over money, kids, etc. Perhaps there were tears shed. Maybe dreams were shattered. Sound depressing? It can be. But 2015 is over, so there is an opportunity to build a new experience for the New Year post divorce.
Here are my suggestions for some words to consider when making your resolutions for the New Year post divorce. This is in no way a comprehensive list. It’s just some of my own thoughts. Perhaps you have your own resolution ideas that you would like to share. Here are mine:
You got a divorce for a reason, right? I’m sure things weren’t all butterflies and rainbows. But now you are divorced. So take the opportunity to stop the fighting and discontinue the war with your ex. If there is a legitimate legal concern that needs addressing, use mediation or Collaborative Practice instead of adversarial litigation to resolve those differences. It’s a great opportunity to move on and find peace in the New Year post divorce. A meditation or mindfulness practice can go a long way towards achieving some peace.
Before your divorce, parenting may have been easier. Post-divorce, you still have to interact with the person you divorced to raise your kids. Your kids need you to get along. There is a lot of evidence that continued parental conflict after the divorce is very harmful to children. Resolve now to be the best co-parent you can be in the New Year post divorce. Look for ways to be cooperative (even when the other parent doesn’t). If you haven’t always been a leader in the child rearing arena, now is the time to step up to the plate and make a helpful contribution. Be the grown up here and your kids will thank you.
Now that you are on your own, you don’t have the other person there to rely on. This is a great opportunity to stand on your own two feet with your head held high. Be your own person. Be strong. Be self-assured. Be independent.
If you are receiving alimony, look for ways to be self-supporting so that you don’t need support anymore. Meet with a vocational counselor to make new career goals. Enroll in school or get trained, or retrained, in a field that you can be passionate about.
Plan for your future financial well-being. Meet with a financial advisor to make sure you are using your money wisely. Come up with a five year or ten year plan. Meet with an estate planning attorney to make sure you have updated your will and estate plan.
Perhaps during 2015 you let the stress of the divorce affect your health. Maybe you didn’t eat well. Maybe you stopped going to the gym. Maybe you weren’t sleeping well. Perhaps you were depressed or angry causing your emotional well-being to suffer. Resolve now to restore your health in the New Year post divorce.
Take the time to eat well and exercise. Get good sleep. Perhaps get your annual physical from your doctor and make a plan for your physical health. Take care of your body and it will take care of you.
But don’t forget your emotional health either. Divorce can be such a toxic and painful experience. If you are struggling, meet with a therapist and work through the changes in your life resulting from your divorce. Before you date, make sure that you work though any lingering issues you may have so that you can be your best self before you involve another person in your life. I have noticed a clear correlation in my clients who sought post-divorce therapy and their level of happiness years later.
I know that “forgiveness” is a loaded word. It’s easier said then done. You may be hurt or angry with your former spouse. As mentioned before, you got divorced for a reason. However, you are divorced now. It’s time to let it go. The past is in the past.
Now keep in mind, I am not suggesting that you allow yourself to be abused if that is what happened before. Keep in place whatever safety measure you have to make sure you can’t be hurt again. I am just suggesting that it is time to move on from there. Anger and hurt can be very damaging emotions. Do what you can this year to forgive so that you can leave those terrible feelings behind you. If you find you can’t do it alone (and most can’t) talk to someone. Turn to a spiritual advisor or a mentor to help you leave the past in the past.
Don’t forget to forgive yourself. Guilt has it’s place, but it can eat you up if you can’t get past it. Perhaps you have serious regrets about how your marriage ended. Rather than let the guilt consume you, find a way to learn from the experience, forgive everyone involved and move on.
You have read my list of New Year’s Resolution words for the newly divorced. What are some of your words? I would love to read them!