8 Ways to Stand on Your Own Two Feet After a Divorce

sunriseAfter your marriage ends, whether you and your spouse were together for a few years or for many, it can be hard to regain your independence. You shared everything with your partner. Your hopes, your dreams, your bed ... and yes, your bank account.

When I got divorced, getting used to being the only adult in a household of three wasn’t that easy for me. I had relied on my ex-husband for a lot, whether it was dropping the kids off at school in the morning or running out to the bank to get money for the Tooth Fairy or bringing home a paycheck.

But I very quickly learned a few things that were really beneficial to me in the months after my divorce. Like asking for help doesn't mean you're helpless. And feeling strong physically can really help with your emotional well-being.

Here are 8 simple tips to help you stand on your own after a divorce:


1. Quickly complete the necessary paperwork to put all assets that are yours after the divorce is finalized, like your car or house, in your name. Not because you think your ex is going to try to steal everything but because it makes the divorce a reality. And you need to live in reality.

2. Make a budget, which is actually very easy to do if you're the only adult in the household. And it will help you to mentally have a general idea of which expenses you can control and which you can't.

3. Let friends and family help you. Counter-intuitive, I know, but it's very hard to be a suddenly single parent. A little back-up will help you ease into it, especially if your former partner is not being a responsible co-parent.

4. Pick a friend or family member who you can go to to vent. Someone who is not going to make you feel judged. Because it can feel a little daunting to suddenly be the one making all the decisions.

5. Establish your financial independence. If you've been out of the working world, as I had been, start job networking or sign up for a class to bring your skills up-to-date. This was one of the most important things for me to do after my divorce.

6. Take a self-defense class or a boxing lesson. Feeling strong physically helps you to feel emotionally stronger. Plus being in shape will help you when you're the one who has to start doing the landscaping and pressure-cleaning the back patio.

7. Get used to being alone. Learn to enjoy it. Read a book, take a bubble bath, or go to bed early.

8. Do some volunteer work, like at your local library or even better, at your kids' school. Helping others takes your mind off your own troubles. And an added benefit? If you're looking for a job, a pro-bono position can sometimes turn into something more.

What helped you regain your independence after a divorce or breakup?

Image via Jennifer Cullen

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