As you gaze lovingly into your partner’s eyes on your wedding day, the thought of splitting up won’t even cross your mind. But the odds are, this might not be your happy-ever-after.
UK divorce rates sit at an average of 42%, while those in the US are between 40-50%.
Even if it seems that way at the time, divorce doesn’t have to be the end of the world. It can also signify the start of a new chapter, with many new adventures ahead.
Whether you’re divorced or just out of a long-term, committed relationship, take a look at our top ten tips – they’ll help you survive, get back on your feet, and embrace your new, single world.
Surround yourself with love
When a marriage ends, it’s easy to feel unloved and unlovable. Make sure you spend time with those who mean the most to you, whether they’re your children, parents, friends – whoever. You need to know you’re still loved by those who count.
1A problem shared is a problem halved
You’ll have mixed emotions, and they’ll change from one second to the next – but don’t bottle them up. Talk to friends, family, a counsellor, a doctor, even strangers you meet through online forums – anyone who gives you a much-needed outlet to offload.
2Try to play nice
Divorce can be a messy business. It’s surprising how quickly you can go from being totally in love with someone to utterly despising them. As much as you might want to make life as difficult as possible for your ex, there’s never really a winner in a divorce battle; if you can be as fair and civil as possible, it really does make the process more painless.
3Never use your children as ammunition
If you have children, do everything you can to make them feel secure, safe, loved and completely blameless. Under no circumstances should they be used as a bargaining tool or a way to hurt your ex. It may be the most painful thing in the world to hand your kids over so your ex can spend time with them too, but maintaining a good relationship with both parents really is the most important thing for any child in this situation.
4Get back on the dating scene
It may have been some time since you last went on a date. Possibly it was before online dating became the norm. Getting back on the horse – so to speak – can be a great distraction. Sure, you’re unlikely to meet the love of your life straight away, but dating is a great way to regain some of your spark and confidence.
Go on a city break, take up skydiving, have a spa day, go to the football, spend time with friends – it doesn’t matter. Do whatever you feel like, as long as it makes you happy.
6Get your finances in order
Money is one of the biggest reasons a divorce becomes messy, so get your affairs sorted out before proceedings begin. Close joint bank accounts, separate joint debts, contact your mortgage company, and officially cut any other financial ties you have together. If you have children, get a maintenance agreement in place as early as possible to avoid future arguments.
There’s no shame in wanting to put yourself first. Yes, you were once a team who faced the world together, but now you’re taking on each other. Make sure you get a good lawyer who will protect any personal assets you may have, as well as negotiate fair custody arrangements.
8Don’t feel like a failure
The term ‘failed marriage’ doesn’t tell the real story, so don’t let it make you feel bad. You fell in love, you took a chance, it didn’t work out…..but you tried.
9Learn to be single again
If you’ve been with someone for a long time, you can forget to function as an individual. You’re used to being half of a couple. You may have forgotten who you were before the relationship started, and chances are you’re a very different person now anyway. As pretentious as it may sound, make time to find yourself again, learn who you are, and enjoy being answerable to nobody but yourself.