In part 2 of our series on divorce, we will discuss adjusting after divorce to the many things that change when you are no longer married
If you missed part 1, click here and read that first.
Adjusting After Divorce Ain’t Easy
Making the adjustment to long-term singleness when you have never been married is difficult. Adjusting to singleness after divorce is a completely different challenge.
When I had processed God’s revelation to me about my singleness and why it needed to be, I had to readjust to a life that walked in that revelation.
Yes, I was excited about God’s plan for me, as much as I understood, but it was still a huge revelation.
Prior to that I had attended every church event like a heat seeking missile looking for that guy that would be my forever.
Now, I had to readjust my thinking and my behavior. I had to surrender the dreams, the thoughts, my sexual desires, my loneliness, my desire to have a partner to God.
Creating New Habits
I needed to begin breaking old habits of finding the flavor of the month to assuage loneliness.
I had to create new habits of being happy in my own company. Going out to eat alone and going to events and activities alone.
Now, I had to accept that I would have to make all the major and minor decisions by myself.
I had to accept that my income was all the income and figure out how to make that work successfully.
When I was sick, I would still always have to get up and get the medicine.
I would always have to be the one to figure out how to get all of the home and car repairs done.
When it snowed, I had to shovel the driveway.
I bought my house alone.
When I rented it out, it was just me.
When I sold it, it was just me.
And even when we grieve and heal we still have to make many adjustments to our new chapter of life.
Letting Go After Divorce
You must let go of things and break old habits even if you were only married for a short time.
You will have to adjust to the reality of singleness even as you address the emotion of divorce.
Most of the decisions that you used to make together, will now be on you.
You will need to learn how to be happy in your own company.
There will be no one to go to dinner with or watch television with or just talk to; you had it at some point in the marriage, and now it is gone.
Your income is THE income.
When you are sick, there is no one to run to the store and pick up the Aleve or the cough syrup or to make you some soup or rocket fuel.
You have to figure out how to fix what breaks.
When you run out of milk, you can’t text them to pick some up on the way home from work. You have to do it, or it won’t get done.
When you are single accepting that you are going to remain single, the adjustment is simply realizing that nothing will change.
When you are married, divorced, and single again, adjusting after divorce is realizing that you had no idea how much would change.
Even Bad Partnerships Have Benefits
The partnership, though not ideal since it ended in divorce, had its benefits.
Now you are on your own. You can’t “tag in” your husband or wife when you are exhausted and beat down
In this new stage, you must make new habits that serve this new status of your life.
Thursday date nights may need to be reframed as girl’s night out.
Women tend to leave that for once every few months or one great trip per year, but everyone needs a few hours a week to relax, enjoy themselves, and take the weight off their shoulders.
You will need to learn about the mortgage, the insurance, finances, the children’s friends, teachers, the car, house, etc. or anything that your spouse handled that you still need to use.
Connect with other women in the same situation who are healed or healing so that you all can help one another.
James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Sacred Sex Is A Thing of the Past!
A major and little discussed issue is adjusting to not having access to sacred sex after divorce.
It is one thing as a single if you have to accept that you won’t be having sacred sex anytime soon or maybe ever.
It is another if you now have to stop having sex and surrender the sexual desire that you have after having been in a marriage where you could freely and comfortably satisfy your sexual needs with your spouse.
This is no small adjustment. We should not pretend that it is. This is something that you need to address head-on putting boundaries and a plan in place.
It is not uncommon for people to go back and have sex with their former spouse because they have determined that is “ok”. Well we aren’t going to debate that, but I think it is not ok with God. You can’t be divorced when you want, and not be “technically” divorced when you want.
So dealing with this and knowing how you will deal with it, is critical.
Friendships Change After Divorce
You may lose relationships that you had with mutual friends and his/her family.
It is a reality of divorce that it doesn’t just impact the marriage and the children.
There is collateral damage to the relationships that you all shared.
Family and friends pick sides or are forced onto a side in divorce. This can leave you feeling abandoned and alone without the support that you may have thought that you would have.
This is another reason to connect to other women if you are a woman and men if you are a man that can walk with you through the jarring practical realities of divorce.
Create New Traditions
Holidays will be very different and difficult. The traditions you had with your partner no longer work.
This is an opportunity to create new traditions that bring joy for you and your family.
When we marry and become one with another person, we merge everything. Our lives intertwine with them in ways that we really don’t even notice until we separate.
It can be overwhelming to start untangling all the practical and personal things. But even in this God has promised that He would never leave you or forsake you.
This is not just in the spiritual, this is in the practical too. Trust Him and call on Him. But call on others too. Do not try to do this alone.
It is impossible to address every adjustment that has to be made when divorce knocks you off your equilibrium. I tried to address some very important and significant ones. It is important that you assess your own experience and recognize the adjustments that need to happen that you have resisted making. You may need to have help from a therapist or a coach to navigate that. Don’t be ashamed of that. We all need help sometime. Get help so you can begin adjusting to your divorce.
May you recognize God’s love and comfort even in your pain.
Until next time, make choices that will help you create a life you LOVE!