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By Val Hemminger; Family Law Lawyer, Divorce Coach and creator of The Better Divorce Project
Rebuilding your life after divorce does not have to wait. If you are reading this right now, you might still be in your marriage and thinking about getting divorced. You might even just be newly separated from your spouse. So many people think that they have to wait until they are divorced or have a legally binding separation agreement before they can start rebuilding. The point is this, and it is important. You do not have to wait. Your new life is available to you right now, you can start rebuilding and tap into its possibility starting right now.
One thing to remember is to expect grief. When you fell in love and got married, you didn’t expect to be getting divorced did you? You had a picture of how your life was to unfold. Yet, it has not unfolded the way you expected. Of course you are going to feel grief, for some of you, the grief might be overwhelming at times. I know it was for me.
Because I have gone through my own separation, four years ago now as I write this, I realize that I had started rebuilding my life well before I separated from my husband. Over the years, I have tried many different things. Sometimes I do one thing for a period of time, and then another. All of my strategies have allowed me to build a more successful and happy life than I never imagined possible when I first separated.
That is what I want for you too. Here are my top 6 suggestions or strategies for rebuilding your life after divorce.
You are likely reading this because you are looking at rebuilding your life after divorce. When I first started rebuilding my life after divorce, it was when my husband and I separated for the first time (yep, we kinda sorta got back together after our first separation . . . what was I thinking?! But that is another story). I was so crushed that it felt like there was a hole right through my heart. I was not only heartbroken I was also heart-empty. It was excruciating and I was in so much pain I didn’t know how to deal with it or stand another minute. My husband, my soulmate, the love of my life had an affair with my very close friend and told me he was leaving me for her and that he was now in love with her. Even as I write this, I had this experience over 11 years ago, and to this day, I have a visceral reaction in my body as I remember the pain I went through.
I was grabbing every lifeline I could just to be able to survive and get through the pain. Sitting in my therapist’s office, I said to him, “I feel like the universe is asking me to be Gandhi for Fs (but I said it) sake!” He said, “EXACTLY. Start a forgiveness practice and see what happens.”
At the time, the only forgiveness practice I knew anything about was called Ho’oponopono. I had discovered it some years before. Because of my therapist’s advice, I did Ho’oponopono about my husband and former friend repeatedly, several times per day, until I felt like I was no longer breaking apart. Ho’oponopono not only might have saved my life, it made me a much better person.
Rebuilding your life after divorce can happen in many ways. Counselling is one of them and it is one that I have used in the past as have many of my clients. A word of caution, however.
Not all counsellors are created equally. Nor are all counsellors helpful in terms of helping you heal. While it is important to give your counsellor or psychologist the context of what happened, sometimes it is not useful to spend all of your time focusing upon and deconstructing your past experiences. Sometimes, counsellors encourage you to perseverate on the past so much so that it does not have you moving forward.
At the same time, certain counsellors can be helpful. For example, if you are divorcing a narcissist or someone with borderline personality disorder, counsellors with expertise in those areas can help you understand why your life has been so challenging.
You may want to consider rebuilding your life after divorce with life coaching. Finding a great life coach will help some people rebuild their lives. However, a common misconception is that life coaching is therapy from an unlicensed practitioner in disguise. In reality, life coaching is designed to help you create the life you want and deserve.
Again, another word of warning. Just like counsellors, not all life coaches are created equally. Make sure that if you do hire a life coach, they are reputable and have great former client reviews.
Rebuilding your life after divorce for you might be that you start or continue with a spiritual practice. For some, it is studying A Course in Miracles, and for others, it might be a return to the faith they were raised in.
We are spiritual beings, whether you want to admit it or not. I look at it because we are all here at earth school. We came here to learn what we need to in this life time.
Maybe the way you start rebuilding your life after divorce is by prioritizing your health. Before I was getting divorced, I had spent years, many years, doing nothing to prioritize my well-being.
In my young adulthood, I was never one of those people with an athletic “hard body” but I was certainly very fit and being fit was a huge priority for me. I rode my bicycle everywhere. In fact, when I bought my house, I lived here for over a year before I noticed that my house did not even have a driveway. I didn’t need one because I relied on my bicycle to get me to where I was going. When I was still in my 30s, I took running classes and I even went to the gym. I learned how to ski and when in my early fourties, I learned how to snowboard. Moving my body, was an important part of everything I did. And then, it all fell apart.
Because of massive financial obligations, I lost sight of my health and fitness.
For example, although walking in the woods is my absolute favourite thing, I only walked in the woods for a sum total of 20 or 40 minutes per week. The rest of the time I spent sitting at a computer, working with clients and sitting in court.
When I separated from my husband the second and final time, I started prioritizing my health and fitness. Although I am still not perfect, I make sure that I get in 45 minutes of walking daily and am building my health and my fitness from there.
This is by far my absolute 100% favourite for rebuilding life after divorce. I love it so much, I saved the best for last. In fact, I have developed a process that I used after my separation and it has transformed my life, in ways I would have never imagined possible. I combined my understanding of the work of Abraham Hicks law of attraction and asking for lots and expansion in my life using the technique and advice of David Cameron Gikandi in his work called A Happy Pocket Full of Money.
You can discover more about the manifestation technique I created by reaching out to me.
Disclaimer: The content of this website is only intended to act as a general overview of a legal topic and is not legal advice. It is information-based only.
All of the information is prefaced by assuming you live in a “ community property ” and “ no fault ” state, province, country, or territory. This article is written by a Canadian lawyer and has a Canadian perspective. The separation and divorce laws in the United States, Europe, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and other countries are all different.
For legal advice as it pertains to your legal situation, please consult with a family law lawyer in your specific jurisdiction.