Leave Your Emotional Baggage Behind: Starting a New Chapter After Divorce

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You just received your divorce papers. Now what? Whether your divorce took a few months or a few years, many changes likely occurred throughout the process. Maybe you’ve already moved into a new home, maybe you’ve started a new relationship. But maybe you haven’t. Regardless of when your new chapter began or begins, it’s important to reflect and grow from your divorce.

Maybe your divorce was complicated. Regardless of how your divorce ended, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about how your new chapter will begin. Reflect on the pros and cons of your divorce. When reflecting on the cons, don’t dwell on things you could have changed. However, think about how you can make changes so you don’t repeat the same mistakes in the future. You can’t change the past, but you can grow from it.

When reflecting on your divorce, think about what aspects you handled well. Maybe you and spouse chose collaborative divorce and you focused on the importance of putting your children’s needs before your own. Even if you didn’t opt for a collaborative divorce, maybe during litigation, you settled on some terms to help expedite the process.

Make a list of various topics you wish you could have changed, and ways in which you can work on changing them in the future. Instead of stressing about how the past played out, figure out ways in which you can grow from the past. Write down various categories that you pride yourself on the way you handled them. Below is a list to help you get started.

I wish I would have:

  • Fought less with my spouse
  • Spent more time with our children
  • Started a new hobby
  • Exercised more

I can grow by:

  • Listening better before to avoid potential arguments
  • Focus on our children
  • Travel/explore
  • Start to walk daily

I did a good job at:

  • Finding solutions
  • Managing finances
  • Sharing parenting time
  • Maintaining mutual friendships

Depending on how you handled various situations, your list may vary. However, read your list either daily or weekly to see how far you’ve come.

Divorce can mean a fresh start and new, exciting beginning. To pursue a new beginning, it’s important to reflect on the past. Once you begin the journey, attaining a fresh start is easier than you may think.