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5 tips for moving forward during and after an unwanted divorce

For a lot of people, the decision to get a divorce hardly brings misery. Many are in unhappy marriages despite their best efforts, and deciding to divorce can bring a sigh of relief -- it puts things on track to start changing.

Others aren't so happy to learn that their spouse wants to dissolve the marriage. Sometimes, the decision comes as a surprise, and one spouse wants to try to save the marriage. The unwanted divorce may very well still happen, of course.

If you've found yourself going through a divorce you don't really want, though, you can still use the opportunity to change your life for the better. Or, as one commentator recently observed, you can fall apart, feel like a failure, and drive your friends away with endless talk about how your ex wronged you.

You can swagger into your post-divorce life

1. Put your emotional wellbeing high on the list. It can be a challenge to get tough, especially when you're wounded. What you can do is be kind, gracious and responsible -- and pay attention. A lot of people will foist their advice and opinions on you during a divorce, which can be disempowering or even hurtful. Notice who does that and distance yourself from them.  

2. Don't get lazy with your appearance. You've heard the old saw that "the best revenge is living well," right? Well, put your best face forward, every day, even though it's hard.

3. Consider getting a better job. Seriously -- now's the time. Moving from a single household to two separate ones can be expensive, and you may need more money. More important, a better job will bring stress, but also a real sense that you're in charge.

4. Don't be pushed into -- or out of -- dating. The time to start dating is when you're ready. Keep in mind that dating during the divorce process could have legal consequences, but otherwise, there's no right or wrong time.

5. Shrug off some of that worry. The divorce process requires you to solve problems and act in the best interest of your kids, if any. That doesn't mean you have to solve all of your kids' problems from here on out. It doesn't mean you have to solve all of your problems immediately. Take a step or two in the right direction, and then take a deep breath.

Source: HuffPost Divorce, "5 Rules For Getting Through Divorce With Your Sanity Intact," Meerabelle Dey, March 19, 2015

37 Comments

My divorce has been a long and grueling process. The future always seems to have so many ambiguities, and I often ask myself questions like: what do I do now? I'm hoping, once my family law attorney finalizes the divorce, that I'll be able to start dating again—I would really like to have a family.

Alex Jennings |

Thanks for the insightful tips for moving on after a divorce. My parents are recently divorced and my mom has just started sating again. I will have to remind her that her own well being should be a priority. Your advice might help her feel motivated to do something for herself for once, rather than worry about other people's opinions.

My husband of and I have made the decision to get a divorce after five years of marriage here in Las Vegas. I'm not really at the stage of thinking about dating again but I do want to cross that bridge when it comes with confidence. We haven't really started all of the parts of the process quite yet so we are still looking for divorce services to help us get through it.

Thanks for the tips! My husband really wants a divorce, even though things seemed to have been going well in our marriage. We're getting lawyers, but it seems like I could use a few tips to make life before and after the divorce a lot easier on myself. Your tip to take one problem at a time will really help me through this divorce. You're right, I don't have to solve all of my problems with my divorce at once, so it's okay for me to focus on one thing at a time while allowing myself to breathe.

Your comment about getting dressed up, was interesting. If I am ever in a situation where I've been hurt or misled, my first instinct is to wear my P.J.'s all day and eat ice cream. But, your advice seems much more useful and professional. Also, if there are still mis-communications between you and your ex-spouse, do you talk to them, your family law attorney, or a judge? Thanks for sharing your divorce tips.

This is some really good advice for anyone that's going through a divorce that they don't want. I just want to add to your third point that, through getting a new job during or after the divorce, you've given yourself something new to focus on. Getting through a hard time like that can be made a bit easier by giving yourself something to do to help take your mind off of it.

These are great ideas, especially tip 1. Divorce is a big deal, and you shouldn't be afraid to treat it as such. You want friends who can support you. You want a solicitor who can help guide you through the process. You need these things and more to make sure that you're doing all you can to help yourself during a difficult time.

These are great tips. My friend's parents are going through a divorce, so I think this would be a good article to show her parents. These tips apply well to anyone who is going through a break up, not just divorce. I think putting your emotional well being is one of the most important things after a break up.

Excellent article! I'm glad that I stumbled upon it because I've been struggling through my divorce. I think you're absolutely right: it's important not to get lazy with your appearance. I'll be sure to not let myself be affected by that. Would you recommend hiring a family law attorney to help me through this process?

It's so sad to see a divorce happen when one person really wants to work on it.I think you provided wonderful advice to move forward and stay strong. My best friend may be getting divorced, so I'll have to share this with her if her husband decides he wants one.

Thank you so much for the tips. My wife and I are in the middle of a divorce right now and it's incredibly stressful. It sounds like you should just make sure to live well on your own and everything else will unfold after that! I feel like I should get a good attorney just to make sure everything is all taken care of appropriately.

After ten years of marriage, my wife came to me a few weeks ago saying that she wanted to get a divorce. It completely caught me off guard so I don't really know how to go forward from here. I am being thorough with my research on divorce attorneys so that it can be as fair as possible. I will definitely use these tips when all is said and done, thanks for sharing.

Not getting lazy after your divorce is good advice. It is far too easy to sit back and think that no one cares what you look like anymore. You should really think about your health first. Thanks for sharing.

I like what you said about not being pushed into or out of dating. My mom was pushed into dating very early after her divorce, and here she is three years later still depressed about it. It's really important to give yourself time to heal.

Thanks for these tips. My friend just went through a divorce that he did not want and it has been very difficult. I like your point to shrug off some of the worry. I think he needs that more than anything right now. I will pass this along to him.

So one of my friends has been going through a divorce and I just started doing some research to help him out. I had no idea that keeping up on appearances or getting a better job could help him get through it. I am going to pass on the information and hope it helps. Thank you for posting.

My older brother currently is getting a divorce and honestly I don't know what he'll do because he was more or less the stay at home mom in the family. His future ex was the one who really brought home the bacon and really wore the pants in the relationship. He really hasn't worked in about 4 years. I'm not married myself, but I think I'll advise him the things I found in this article. Thanks for the post.

My sister's divorce was definitely unwanted. She had always thought that she'd live this perfect married life. However, five years into marriage she found herself sitting down with a divorce attorney. I am definitely going to be showing him this article. Hopefully, it will help her get through this very sensitive time in her life.

I recently went through an unwanted divorce, and have been struggling to feel motivation to do much of anything. It has been difficult with my friends and family urging me to begin dating, but I don't want to date, I just want my wife back. I will have to put some distance between myself from them for a little while and just surround myself with friends that will just listen.

My wife's friend is in the process of getting a divorce. She has already hired an attorney, and it could be official here in the next few weeks. We just want to make sure that our friend will be okay during the whole process, and we enjoyed some of these tips. It seems important to make sure that she is not pushed into dating, but also that she has people supporting her in her dating efforts. Hopefully this will help her during the whole thing, so thanks for sharing.

This article mentions that getting a better job could be a good idea after a divorce. I think this would help me, as I often felt like I needed to spend more time with my family, so I revoked opportunities. I will definitely consider getting a more financially beneficial job.

I agree that it is important to be kind to your own emotions in this kind of situation. It can be way to easy to shove them away and put on a strong face, but this will only extend your pain. You do need to continue with your life, but you don't have to force yourself to be okay right at the beginning. I think that if you allow yourself the proper emotional help, you will end up being happy rather than okay.

What an awesome article here with great tips. I have a good friend who just got a divorce, hired divorce lawyers and the whole deal. I have really been feeling bad for him lately because it was apparently really bad. I love number one here the most and I will be sure to let him know of some of the other great things that I have been finding.

I have some friends who just went through a messy divorce. It honestly was a failed relationship from the start, and he remarried within 5 months (he met her as the divorce was being settled). The ex-wife, on the other hand, has needed lots of time to heal. I'll be sending this article to her. Thank you!

I agree with you, it's very important to keep your cool and keep living your life the best way you can. Divorces are stressful, but the good thing is, it won't last forever, and things will get better. My sister is going through divorce right now. She felt very stressed out at first, but then she decided to take it one step at a time. She's doing way better now, and she is working with a divorce attorney.

I really appreciate the tip to not be pushed into or out of dating. I have a close friend who just finished going through an extremely difficult divorce a few months ago. She just met someone who she is very interested in, but is so worried about people judging her for not waiting longer after her divorce to move on. I agree with this article, though, there's really no right or wrong time!

One of my good friends is getting a divorce with her husband, and she is super worried about what she's going to do after it all. That being said, I think that getting a better job is something she should think about. That way she'll be able to get payed more and wont have to worry about money as much. I'll make sure I show this to her right away so she can begin looking. Thanks a ton for the help.

Thanks for the tip about putting your emotional well being first. Divorce, especially unwanted divorce, can be hard. A friend of mine got a great attorney that gave her a few of the tips you listed in this blog. I'll have to share this with her. Thanks!

I really appreciated all of the insight you gave about dealing with divorce. Specifically, you talk about how you should always put your emotional wellbeing high on the list, and I definitely agree. As you say, this can be a challenge, but when you pay attention to yourself and how you're feeling and using the available and necessary resources surrounding you to help you cope, I really do think you'll be able to get through this difficult time a lot better. Thank you for sharing!

Your tips on how to move on after an unwanted divorce were spot on. It took me a few months to rally after my divorce two years ago. I was just one of those people that couldn't figure out how to stop wallowing in my own depression. Having friends that ultimately pushed me back into the social arena (while not forcing me to date outright) really helped me to turn my mental map of the social world around.

All I can say is that you need to wait a while after your divorce before you start dating again. It will be worth it in the end!

My sister is going through a divorce and is having a hard time getting back on her feet in all senses.
When I went to a divorced, It was so hard to get back to my normal routine but you have to try. It also helps to keep distracted and be around people you love!

I think that you should try and be professional even after moving forward. I think a lot of divorce lawyers are going to say something along the same lines because it is just classier and people are going to know you for your actions and how you were rather than just the legal process of the divorce. http://www.backuslawgroupal.com

I would agree that going through a divorce can definitely be an emotional trial for you and your family. Your advice on how to handle a divorce, is very helpful, I like your tips about working on yourself. I will have to share this with a friend of mine, she is recently divorced and could use a boost in her confidence. Thank you for your helpful advice.

It sounds a little silly, but I really like the tip about not slacking your appearance. It's very simple, but it can really help you beat any depression that can come from the divorce in my opinion. It will help you have confidence in yourself and have the strength to get things done. Thanks for all these great tips on helping people deal with divorce.

These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to put your own emotional well-being high on your list when dealing with a divorce. My husband and I are about to start the divorce process, and it's going to be really hard for me. Even though there are other people I need to take care of, I'll be sure to prioritize taking care of myself as well. Thanks for sharing!

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