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I never expected it to be so hard. I know that's what they always say when you're getting a divorce, but it's so true.
I've never spent so much time feeling like utter dog poo about myself, my life, my goals, and my aspirations. I didn't get married so I could get a divorce. It's not my style. And yet, here I am. On my own for the first time in my life.
And while it IS hard, I'm surviving. And guess what? You can too.
Here are some tips I've learned about getting through a divorce.
1) Remind yourself that you're not to blame. It takes two to get married, it takes two to ruin a marriage. Period.
2) Get several of those big plastic boxes and begin to collect any documents you will need for your divorce. If it's too hard for you to do, ask a friend to help you get organized.
3) Get your own safety deposit box at the bank to put your important documents in.
4) If you cannot deal with the reminders of your marriage, put them in storage. Pictures, furniture, clothing, anything. You can decide later what you want to keep.
5) Lean on those who love you. Many people don't know WHAT to do when a loved one is going through a divorce, so the more you tell them, the easier you'll be able to lean on them.
6) Dump any friends or family who make you feel bad. You already feel like shit; don't let other people make it worse.
7) Grieve. Divorce is a loss. Losses are meant to be grieved. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Everyone grieves in their own way; there's no right or wrong way to grieve.
8) When you're feeling low, call a friend, read a book, do something to occupy yourself so that you don't end up in the Dark Place.
9) Do things that make you feel good about yourself. One of the hardest parts of a divorce is being able to feel confident again, and if gardening cheers you, or volunteering helps you feel accomplished, go for it.
10) Consider getting a pet. Sometimes, it's nice to come home to something, even if it's not a person.
11) Celebrate all victories - no matter how tiny. If you've been able to successfully get out of bed, shower, and brush your teeth, that's a huge thing! Congrats! These victories will begin to grow larger and larger as you move past the initial shock.
12) Be careful who you spill your guts to. It's a very common habit to explain the divorce to everyone you see, but you have to remember that not everyone will treat you kindly.
13) Find and join a support group for people going through a divorce. You can make new friends, meet people, socialize with a different crowd, and find new ways to cope with this incredible loss.
14) Don't be alarmed by your emotions. You can go from zero to bawling your head off to angry in under three seconds. That's okay.
15) Do something every day that's just for you. Bubble bath. Nice lotion. A pretty trinket. Something that is for you and you alone.
16) Remember that while change is hard, it is not the end of the world. You will get through this.
17) Take it one day at a time. It's too overwhelming to do anything else. That old mantra works during traumatic life events.
18) Tell yourself you're going to be okay over and over again on the days that you can barely breathe because you're so depressed and stressed and anxious. Because you will be.
19) Remember that this isn't the end of your life. It may feel that way right now, but it's not. This is simply a bump in the proverbial road, not the end of things.
20) Remember that you will come out of this better and stronger than before. And if you don't know this, let me assure you that it's true.
What advice would you give to someone going through a divorce?
Image via Wonderlane/Flickr