Have YOU been making any of these post-divorce mistakes?
Getting a divorce is not the end of your life. Sure, post-divorce life can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be horrible. It might sound cliche to say that how you transition and adapt to your new life and is up to you, but the ball is really in your court.
You might not be able to control many things in this world, like the weather, but your behavior is not one of them. You might feel hurt, abandoned, disappointed and downright angry, but if you want to come out stronger and happier after this entire experience, avoid making these 20+ post-divorce mistakes.
1. Say or do anything out of spite
You might still be feeling hurt, disappointed and angry with your ex post-divorce, but this doesn’t mean you should allow your emotions to control you and the way you act. Keep the bitter and sarcastic comment to yourself and don’t do anything that would just show your ex that you are still bitter and frustrated about how your relationship ended. Give yourself some time before rushing into taking impulsive decisions that do you no good.
2. Make your kids pick a side
Getting divorced is painful not only for adults but also for their children. The worst thing you could do when it comes to your children is to put them in the middle of you and your ex. This doesn’t mean you have to keep things away from them, but forcing them to take sides and choose between parents will hurt them even more. Be honest with your children and reassure them that they are cared for and loved by both parents even if they are not together anymore. There’s no need for them to pick a side post-divorce.
RELATED: The 7 Biggest Parenting Mistakes That Destroy Kids’ Mental Strength According to Therapists
3. Start dating right away
You might feel emotionally prepared to dive back into the dating pool post-divorce, but it’s better to just take things one at a time. You’re not competing against your ex for the “quickest recovery” trophy. Finding a new partner requires you to embrace single life first. Starting a new relationship right after your divorce will not help you heal faster. At best, it can make you take your mind off things that cause you pain, but you still have to deal with them at some point.
These 7 Reasons Why You Need to Learn to Be Single might help you after your divorce.
4. Go on a shopping spree
You might need to distract yourself from feeling miserable and sad about your divorce. However, going on a spending spree and wasting your money on fancy clothes, jewelry, or sports cars is not going to help you beat the divorce blues. Those feelings won’t go away anytime soon. The only difference is that you’ll have to deal with them while struggling to pay off your newly acquired debts post-divorce.
5. Hoping to never see your ex again
You might want to end your divorce and never see your ex ever again post-divorce, especially if the breakup was not that civil, but you might be unable to do that. For one, if you have children, you’ll have to co-parent and meet your former spouse whenever you leave or take the kids. Even if you don’t have children, you might still have mutual friends, and you won’t be able to avoid every birthday and party you’re both invited to.
What you can do, instead, is to learn to be okay with their existence and act civil if you ever meet again. It will show your ex that you’ve got over them and moved on with maturity. Check out the Top 13 Most Shocking Facts About Divorce in the U.S.!
6. Wallow too long in misery
No one is saying you don’t have the right to be sad and hurt post-divorce, but you cannot allow those negative feelings and emotions to take over completely. Sadness can take you down, but it can also lift you up. Use it to fuel and motivate you and stop feeling sorry for yourself. As one famous saying used to say, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Make sure you also read 25 Reasons Divorcing In Your 40s Isn’t The End of The World.
7. Vent about your divorce on social media too much
If you’ve gone through a bitter divorce, you might feel entitled to vent about your ex and his mishaps. But social media is not the best place to air your dirty laundry for everyone to see. You don’t need to let your high school friends, casual acquaintances and co-workers know all the ugly details of your divorce.
Even if your intentions are to get some things off your chest post-divorce, and maybe earn some sympathy from your social media circle, you’re simply digging your own hole, to hide later when your anger has subsided and you realize how bitter your posts have made you look.
8. Try to turn your friends and family against your ex
Just because you no longer get along with your ex-spouse post-divorce, doesn’t mean your friends and family can’t still maintain a civil relationship. No matter how hard you try to change their feelings about your ex and the way they see him/her, it’s not gonna do you any good in the long run.
It’s not going to change the fact that you’re not together anymore, nor will it make your friends more sympathetic towards you. Remember, you don’t need anyone’s pity and sympathy to move on.
RELATED: 5 Divorcées Share What Made Them Realize That Their Marriage Was Over
9. Refuse to talk about what you feel
Social media is not the answer to tell your side of the story post-divorce, but you can still talk to your close friends or therapist about your divorce. You have all sorts of feelings and emotions you need to deal with and having someone to listen and understand you can help you heal and recover faster.
It’s good to know you can rely on someone without being criticized or judged; if you have that one person, don’t hesitate to open up about what you feel. It will help your self-esteem and mood in more ways than one.
See also 13 Ways Marriage Counselors Can Tell a Relationship Won’t Last.
10. Argue about things you don’t care about
If you have a pet that you both want after the breakup, things could get a little bit trickier and arguments and fights could ensue post-divorce. You both love it and it’s natural to want to enjoy your pet’s company even if you are your partner are not together anymore.
But if you’re fighting with your ex over things that you don’t really care about, only to spite them, you’d better stop. It might seem satisfying to see them walking away empty-handed, but it doesn’t mean you won. Therefore, before you start an argument over who gets what, think long and hard if the things you’re planning on arguing over are really worth your time and stress. Do they really mean something to you or are they just another opportunity to hurt your ex?
11. Hide your money
Even if the divorce has been finalized for quite some time, some people still keep their money in secret places, out of the reach of any greedy exes. However, hiding your money will only work against you post-divorce, especially if your ex-spouse finds out.
Just because you’re no longer living under the same roof, doesn’t mean your money cannot continue to grow in your mutual fund. If you want to separate your money, at least be honest about it so that you can both benefit in the end.
Check out These 5 Money Issues Can Bring Trouble In ANY Relationship.
12. Avoid social gatherings because your ex will be present
Do you really think it’s a good idea to isolate yourself inside your house instead of attending a holiday party just because of your ex? You can’t avoid every anniversary post-divorce, Thanksgiving dinner or social gathering for as long as you both shall live. It’s not healthy for you and it sure isn’t going to help you feel better about yourself.
It’s normal not wanting to see your ex every time but it’s better to cope with the fact that you’re bound to meet on several occasions and spend more than a few seconds in the same room. Why not rip the band-aid and do it sooner rather than later so you can both move on with your lives?
13. Eat your feelings away
You might find a temporary relief in a Ben&Jerry tube post-divorce, but that’s just it, the feeling doesn’t last. All that binge eating will not only make you even more depressed shortly after the eating session is over but it will also make you gain weight, which will only add to your self-worth and self-respect issues.
The most efficient way to go on with your life after a messy divorce is to love yourself again, flaws and all, and realize that happiness does not come in the form of chocolate.
14. Drown your sorrow in alcohol
Sure, you might feel that alcohol helps you cope with your divorce better, but it’s just an illusion. No matter how you look at it, alcohol is bad. It might make you feel good for a while post-divorce, a very short while, but in the long run, apart from burning a hole in your wallet, it will leave you feeling worse than before.
“All this wine and beer has made me less disappointed about my divorce and helped me feel like myself again realize that I’m capable of making smarter choices in the future,” said no one ever. Do you really think things will be different for you!
15. Keep in touch with your ex’s parents
If you were really close to your former father and mother-in-law, extracting yourself from their lives might be harder than the actual divorce, if not harder. After all, it’s not every day you get to meet and deeply connect with other people, especially in-laws.
However, maintaining a close relationship with them post-divorce will not help either of you. You won’t be able to get on with your life, neither will your ex, if you keep calling, showing up and meeting their parents.
16. Blame yourself, or your ex, or anybody
In some cases, the reasons behind a couple’s divorce are clear as the day (like cheating) and it’s obvious who was responsible for the marriage’s demise. However, in many other cases, it’s difficult to point the finger at the culprit because there are many reasons that caused the breakup.
If you’ve done your fair share of thinking about the reasons’ for your marriage’s downfall, you surely know that blaming someone else for everything is too easy and silly post-divorce.
17. Apologize for being divorced
Let’s get one thing straight: apologizing should only be done for something you did wrong. Being a divorcee does not mean you have a disease or something. It also doesn’t mean you failed at life. A divorce is merely an adjustment you had to make in your life in order to set it back on its right course, not a mistake you need to apologize for.
Look on the bright side: you were not afraid to admit your marriage had problems that could not be solved and brave enough to put an end to something that hurt both you and your partner. If that’s not something you should be proud of post-divorce, I don’t know what is!
18. Keep tabs on your ex’s dating life
Constantly checking on your ex’s social media account or asking around about his flings post-divorce will not help you move on faster. If not, it will keep you trapped in the past, hurt you and possibly make you do or say something you’ll regret sooner or later. Keeping tabs on your former spouse to see if they’ve started a new relationship so that you could do the same is also not a good excuse.
For the future, stay away from This One Thing That Is Ruining Your Relationship, Experts Say.
19. Stop exercising
Exercising and having an active lifestyle is not something you need to do just to spite your ex with your post-divorce body. Exercising has a significant positive impact on your health and well-being in general, physical and mental.
A nice workout session can boost your mood, help you feel better about yourself and avoid depression, by increasing the serotonin levels in your brain. Try working out for at least 30 minutes. You’ll definitely see the results! This nifty tracker is a great way of keeping your levels in check!
20. Forget to laugh
Similar to exercise, laughter can improve your mood and cure your post-divorce blues. According to the American Heart Association, a good, every day laugh can lower stress and anxiety levels and reduce inflammation in the arteries. Better heart health equals a better life, divorcee or not.
So, stop wallowing in self-pity and listening to depressive music and do things that make you laugh like hanging out with friends, watching comedies…living your life, to put it bluntly.
21. Compare divorces with others
Not all divorces are created equal. Every single divorce is unique just like the people involved in it, with different personal stories and backgrounds. Speaking to someone about your divorce, especially someone who’s also gone through one, can be therapeutic. But comparing what you’ve been through and the issues you’ve had to deal with post-divorce, like legal battles or financial settlements, is not going to make you feel any better.
Your friend might have the best intentions in mind when telling you that you could have asked for more money, or that you could have ended things on a friendlier note. But it’s only going to make you feel like you’ve drawn the short straw when, in fact, you could have done better. You don’t need those types of thoughts going through your head!
22. Do something rebellious
A crazy haircut or a tattoo might seem like the perfect way to mark the end of your old life and the start of your new one post-divorce. It’s your way of telling people that you’re in control now and “No one can tell me what to do anymore!”.
While the meaning behind the act is to be appreciated, the gesture itself….well, not so much. Not because tattoos are not nice and all, but a tattoo that says “Single and Ready to Mingle” might not seem fun and wild or be relevant after a couple of months, when you’re no longer angry and upset about your divorce.
See also 11 Unexpected Ways Your Body Reacts to a Breakup.
23. Avoid married friends
Now that you’re single, spending time with other married couples and being the fifth wheel might make you uncomfortable. But you shouldn’t be. If your married friends have no problem inviting you out and being around you, there’s no reason for you to avoid spending time with them.
More than that, there’s no reason to hate marriage and married couples post-divorce either. Remember, it’s not the concept of marriage you’re repudiating, it’s one person in particular…the one you’ve been married to up to one point.
24. Neglect other things in your life
You might have divorced your spouse, but that doesn’t mean you’ve also divorced your bills, household chores and the like. It might be difficult sometimes to find the right motivation to do something…anything, especially if your ex was in charge of doing them. But just because they can no longer pay the electricity bill, change the car oil or fix the leaky faucet, doesn’t mean your life is stuck and you can’t find a solution. Life goes on post-divorce, whether you like it or not, and you also have to move forward.
25. Get intimate with your ex
No matter how much we think we are in control of our emotions, they can still take us by surprise, especially when it comes to somebody we once considered our “forever” person. It’s perfectly normal to sometimes be nostalgic and think about why you and your ex seemed to be made for one another post-divorce.
But it’s not alright to act on those feelings and end up being intimate with your former flame because of your past life and experiences together. “Before you agree to share your body with that person again, stop and think about it. The relationship ended for a reason, so why are you considering going back to the sex?” says Rhonda Richards-Smith, psychotherapist and relationship expert. It will only complicate matters even more between you two and might even prevent you from moving forward with your life. You know you want and need to, so why put obstacles by yourself?
26. Date your ex’s friends
Another major no-no post-divorce, if not the biggest one is dating your former spouse’s friends. You have the whole world to choose from and you go for someone in their social circle? No. Don’t even think about it! Dating your ex’s friends is like hitting a wall over and over again. “If you prefer to keep things emotionally clean, hop on a dating app where there are lots of choices that will probably bring you some much-needed diversity in your friend and dating group,” relationship expert Dr. Darcy Sterling advises.
Related Article On Post-Divorce: 12 Signs You Have Post Divorce Depression