There are many things you need to make it through a divorce, most of which is courage and tenacity. The process can be long and hellish if you’re unlucky, quick and easy if you’re fortunate. In any event, after a divorce no matter how good or bad the divorce is, there are some things you need after divorce more than you even realize. The chances are really that you’ll realize you need these things when you’re in the middle of a crisis or low moment, but if you know ahead of time, you’ll be better off.
1 – Patience
Patience is a virtue of which I lack. But let me tell you, getting a divorce certainly beat the importance of patience into my bones.
More than you know it, you’ll need patience.
Patience to navigate life afterwards, from finances to dating and new relationships.
Patience for your kids.
Patience for all the things that a divorce can bring.
2 – Ability to Let Things Go
Ouch, here’s another thing I struggle with.
You can’t make your ex be a good person. You can’t make money fall from the sky. You can’t make love happen when you want it to.
There are some things I can walk away from, and others I struggle to.
If this is you, divorce is going to require you to learn how to do this, asap. Really, life after divorce requires that you let go of things and people and conceptions, and quickly.
3 – Acceptance of the Unknown
You thought your marriage was going to be forever. News flash, it’s over.
Pretty jarring, eh? Yes, it is. Your fairy tale took a sharp turn to the right and suddenly, it’s a tragic-comedy or just a drama series.
Now more than ever, you need to realize that there is a whole life of unknowns in front of you. And truly, there always has been. Life can change in an instant. Accepting that you really don’t know what your future looks is a Zen state of mind, but a necessary evil.
4 – A Strong Sense of Self
If you don’t know who you are now, you better learn—fast!
Divorce will turn your whole world upside down and even the most resilient and confident of individuals will feel shaken a bit by it. Happy yes, but shaken.
So, you need to know who you are and commit to who you are, fully, in order to endure the changes a divorce will bring. This is no time to doubt yourself. If you do, it will crush your spirits for good and possibly, your kids’.
Remember: your kids are only as strong as you are. So, if you crumble, so do they. Period.
5 – A Network of People
You can go around being an introvert all you want, but you still need a network of people after a divorce.
You need financial, emotional and possibly, childcare support. You have never needed people more than you do now, even when divorcing without kids.
You will feel alone at times, which is normal. The goal then is to create a network so you never really are “alone” unless you want to be.
6 – A Ton of Faith
Really, going through with a divorce requires a huge leap of faith. It requires taking a chance and entering the unknown. You will encounter a whole new life, sometimes drastically so, after divorce, especially for those who divorce against cultural or family standards.
You must have faith that eventually, the tides will turn. You must have faith that you made this choice for a very, very, very good reason.
7 – Ability to Really Look at Oneself
Now is not the time to point fingers at your ex.
Now is the time to turn the mirror around and look at you.
More than ever, you need to self-reflect and work on your weaknesses and lean on your strengths. You need to assess how you can be a better person and heal.
The stronger you are, the happier you will be and the more likely you are to find a lasting relationship afterwards.
Divorce asks a lot of you. Have no doubt, it is a needy little demon, but in order to move on, you’ll have to step up to the plate!
Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated, writer, comedienne, and single mother. Laura will work for chocolate. The former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate is currently writing about divorce, sex, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, marriage and more for the New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Redbook, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, Your Tango and numerous other sites. Her own website is frommtvtomommy.com.