After Divorce: 8 Tips for Reinventing Yourself
8 ideas to help you shape your post-divorce life.
4. Rediscover who you used to be.
Especially if you were married for a long time, you may have given up a lot of the things you enjoyed as a single person because they didn't fit with your "couplehood."
Maybe you loved to go out, but your spouse was a homebody. Maybe you always loved going to the theater but your husband hated it.
"What were your hobbies and activities before the marriage? What did you defer in favor of the relationship?" Alberti asks. "Exercising your interest in those again is important to rebuilding yourself."
5. Discover a new side of yourself.
The life-changing period of divorce, though often difficult and unwelcome, holds a silver lining: to shake things up and try on a new lifestyle.
Maybe it's as simple as a pixie haircut after a lifetime of wearing long, flowing locks. Maybe it's trying a new sport, considering a different place of worship, or going back to college. Maybe you realize that you'd like to move to a new city or even spend a year living in Paris.
Of course, you can't just flit away and throw caution to the wind. Chances are, you have some very real considerations -- kids (if you're a parent), a job, and a budget (which may have been hurt by the divorce).
But chances also are that although you might not be able to do whatever your fantasy is, there may be other changes that ARE within your reach. So don't reject the idea of any change, just because you can't make every change.
"As long as the changes you make are healthy and constructive, these are very appropriate," says Alberti. "Think about who you want to be -- the person you were before the marriage, or maybe a new person? What are some of the things you can do differently?"
Look for changes you can say yes to, instead of dwelling on what's out of reach.
6. Dare to be alone.
Being alone doesn't mean being isolated and never seeing anyone. It just means not being coupled up, or in a rush to do so.
Society is much more accepting of singles than even a decade ago, when solo restaurant diners often got the hairy eyeball.
"There are more than 30 million people living alone in this country today," Falk says. "That's a lot of people, and there are a lot of opportunities for social connection. There are possibilities to pick up new friends and enter different kinds of groups that have to do with your interests. The social dimension after a divorce can be very rich."
7. Consider transitional relationships.
This isn't about rebounding. It's about considering dating (once you feel ready) outside your comfort zone -- someone who's not your type -- without thinking that it has to head toward a permanent relationship.
"For example, maybe you've always dated people from a certain socioeconomic background," Alberti says. "Or perhaps you always preferred sensitive musicians, or athletes, or the quiet, shy type. Turn your usual preferences inside out and stretch your dating horizons a bit."