Life after divorce is not an easy road.
Anyone who has struggled with the pain and ramifications of divorce knows that.
The question is, what can you do right now to help rebuild your life after divorce?
What can you do today to ensure that you do not plunge into despair?
If you are wondering how to deal with your new life after divorce, read on.
As you know, divorce can present new challenges, family, health, financial and career.
You need a simple guide to navigate life after divorce.
Please let me know if this attempt helps!
The Top 10 Life After Divorce Commandments
1. Hold on to your Job!
The first commandment to continue your life after divorce is to hold on to your job!
You will need this job for many reasons.
You need your job for money of course.
And if you are the one that will be paying child support, then you really need more money than ever.
Going from an income that supports one family to an income that supports two families is going to be a challenge.
But there are other reasons why you need to hold on to your job that go beyond money.
You need your job so you can rest your head from your divorce stress.
Many people in the throes of divorce make the mistake of focusing on their divorce and taking their eyes off the ball of their job.
This is not a criticism if you are doing that right now.
It is very hard to think of anything else other than the nightmare of divorce.
However, losing focus on your job is a very big mistake.
You might already have given 10 to 20 or even 30 years of your life towards your career.
Do not sabotage your career because of the divorce.
Instead, use your job for therapy and self esteem, which I will elaborate on now:
2. Use your Job as Therapy
You ask, how do I hold onto my job?
I am going crazy having conversations with myself because my soon to be ex does not want to talk!
The lawyers are involved, they are draining my account, I have to go to court, I cannot focus!
You are going to have to get very disciplined.
This leads you to the second commandment to save your life after divorce.
Instead of going to a shrink, let the job be your shrink so to speak.
Go into your office on fire!
Throw yourself so deep into your work, that your colleagues and boss will love the new you.
Using your job as therapy, having something to think about deeply, instead of your divorce is going to help you.
You will be setting yourself up for a much better life after divorce if you still have your career intact.
Getting more aggressive and focused at work is counter intuitive.
We have all seen the movies and shows of workers discussing their divorce situation at work and resolving their problems in one way or another.
Life after divorce is not a movie and does not play like one with a script.
Real life after divorce will be true hell if you don’t hang on to your job.
So, as soon as you read this post, if you are in the middle of a divorce, or you know a co worker or friend who is, make sure that they sober up and get focused on their job.
You can help save your own or their life after divorce with this adjustment.
Pour your soul into your job during the hours that you are there.
Use all that time to take a respite from your divorce.
3. Do Not Speak about Your Divorce in the Office!
Do not bring your divorce woes into the office.
Do not start talking with your boss and colleagues about your divorce.
As soon as you bring your divorce story into the office, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Your boss and colleagues might view you as incapable of performing your job.
This can spell trouble, no matter how great you have been in their eyes in the past.
Keep your personal life personal.
Even if you are very close with your office mates, do not let them in on what is going on with your divorce.
You must, must and must save your career.
This is a very tough commandment to keep.
You are going to be reeling from lawyer demands to provide net-worth statements and respond to actions taken by your soon to be ex spouse.
Without your career, your life after divorce is going to be much more difficult than if you can stay employed.
Unemployment is not and should never be an option.
You must hold onto your job.
Your office mates might be friendly with you, but mainly, they are at work to make money, not to be your shrink.
You have to very careful to not bring up your divorce.
They should know nothing and not notice any change in your demeanor or work ethic.
If your boss or colleagues notice a big change, a seismic change, you are setting yourself up for a lower salary or even worse, losing your position or career.
Do not do it, do not succumb to the temptation to speak with everyone in the office about what you are going through.
This will do nothing to help you create a good or better life after divorce.
So, who do you talk to? What do you do when your mind is full of your divorce problems and you need to speak about them?
You know that as the divorce lawyers are draining your bank accounts, every single contact with them will just peel off another three to four hundred dollars.
Therefore, the third commandment is to stop speaking to your office and business partners about your divorce.
You have to hold on to your job.
If you want to have any type of good life after divorce, stay employed.
Don’t cry to anyone at work.
Any reader of Hashi Mashi knows that removing the junk food from your life is the first step to getting stronger physically.
Likewise, talking about your divorce at work is like junk food for your career.
You cannot afford to sabotage your career by letting your work colleagues, employees and/or bosses know what is happening in your personal life.
4. Speak to Family or Clergy
So, who are you going to speak to when you are not at work?
We have already established that during this major time of stress, you have to actually do better at your job than ever before.
To hold onto your job and to provide actual stress relief from the divorce proceedings.
When the emotions of divorce are overwhelming you, you have to speak to someone close, who cares about you.
As noted above, work is not the place to speak about the pangs of divorce that you are experiencing.
You need to find emotional support from either friends or family or even clergy.
As long as you do not work with or for them, pour your heart out.
The purpose here is not to malign your soon to be ex, because you can bet your life on the fact that every word you say will make it’s way back to your spouse.
Getting thoughts and feelings off of your chest is merely to speak about your feelings.
Talking to family and friends does not mean talking trash about your husband or wife.
Especially if you have children, know that everything you say, will eventually be known by them.
Do you really want to trash your kid’s mother or father?
So, talk about your own feelings, great, but do not use this time as an opportunity to spread rumors around that will hurt your spouse or children.
And speaking to family, friends or clergy does not mean rehashing or creating narratives or sharing ugly stories that are between you and your spouse.
Your marriage was private and should stay private.
Guaranteed that every word that you say which exposes your private marriage to public consumption, you will regret.
5. Get Legal Advice from your Lawyer Only
So far we have said that you must avoid speaking about your divorce at work.
And that you should speak about your feelings with family, friends or clergy outside of work.
And that this is not an invitation to trash talk your spouse or events that happened in your marriage.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when going through divorce is this:
They think that everyone is a great resource for legal advice.
Despite the fact that you just shelled out 10k for a retainer, and that your lawyer is charging you 400 or more an hour, you still ignore his or her counsel?
Every single time that you share your lawyer’s counsel with others and get their non-legal opinion, you are wasting your time and money.
You are ensuring that your life after divorce can be very painful by ignoring your lawyer’s directions.
Stop getting legal advice from your mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, the carpenter, the paper boy and/or the bus driver.
Stop telling your story to anyone who will listen.
You are paying big money for a lawyer.
Unfortunately, this is how divorces play out in the courts if you do not have a pre-nuptial agreement.
Listen to your lawyer regarding all legal advice.
Stop getting legal advice from your pastor, priest or rabbi.
If you do not trust your lawyer, then get another lawyer.
Otherwise, your best peace of mind will be realized by taking your lawyer’s counsel.
This will free you up from having to ask every tom, dick or harry their legal opinion, giving your greater peace of mind and less stress.
That is what you are paying your lawyer for, less stress and the most effective legal counsel.
If you do not listen to your lawyer’s counsel, you are clearly jeopardizing your life after divorce.
Your lawyer is there to help you achieve the healthiest life after divorce possible.
With your children, financially, mentally and physically.
Your legal counsel will be much more effective if you are a good client.
A good client is going to do keep all the 10 life after divorce commandments that we speak about in this article.
You, as a client, are in a huge battle.
If your spouse hired a lawyer and brought a divorce action against you, the knives are out.
His or her lawyer are ready to fillet and bake you like an Atlantic Salmon on the grill.
Slice you up any way that they want.
You have to stay strong.
And therefore, the next commandment is particularly important:
6. Don’t Take Legal Advice from your Spouse!
You might think that you don’t need to be reminded not to take legal counsel from your adversary.
But, that is not how the world works.
The world, people around you, are going to say, how can you do this or that to your husband or wife?
Where is your heart?
How can you follow your lawyer’s advice against the mother or father of your children?
And you soon to be ex might be saying the same thing to you.
The last person on earth to take advice from is the one you are fighting in court.
If you think that you are not in the fight of your life, you are sorely mistaken.
The decisions of the court can affect you for the rest of your life.
No, the decisions made in court by this one judge will affect you the rest of your life after divorce.
The finances that you will have to live with in your life after divorce.
The relationship with your children.
Your living arrangements.
Your 401k, your assets, where you can live.
There are many possible judgments that can come out of your divorce proceedings.
Yes, your spouse or friends of your spouse will do everything possible to guilt you into not following your lawyer’s advice.
That is a big mistake.
Your spouse, who is your adversary in court, has their own interest in mind, not yours unfortunately.
This will be a very difficult commandment to follow, especially if you still love your spouse.
However, please do not make the mistake of taking your court adversary’s counsel over your lawyer’s.
In such a case, a good lawyer will drop you as a client.
Yes, because if you are not a good client, if you do not listen to your lawyer’s advice, he or she is wasting their time and wasting your money.
Listening to your spouse who is your adversary in court, will absolutely help to ruin the quality of your life after the divorce proceedings are filed away in the county archives.
If the point is still not clear, for legal counsel, you must only listen to your lawyer and no one else.
Your best chance for a good life after divorce is to take your legal advice from your lawyer only.
7. Get More Sleep
If you follow the above rules for a better life after divorce, you will be able to get more sleep.
Of course, the typical picture of a person embroiled in divorce is going to be one of drinking too much or eating too much ice cream.
Both of those pastimes are not healthy habits.
Getting more sleep is counterintuitive as the gut reaction is to be up all night worrying and talking to whoever will listen.
But, if you adhere to the common sense and effective advice in this article, you will be able to get more sleep.
Because you are doing better at your job, so you do not have to worry that you are going to get canned.
You are also using your job as your therapy, so at least 8 hours a day, you are immersed in something other than your divorce woes.
You are focused on your work and are not spending time in the office vomiting out more and more information about your failed marriage.
You are going to be a rock star at your job and will at least feel secure in the work aspect of your life.
As a result, you automatically have less stress than if you are faced with both a failed marriage and career at the same time!
By taking your legal advice from your divorce lawyer only, you have freed yourself from countless discussions with anyone and everyone who will listen to your story.
Their advice is not worth anything.
They do not know the legal system.
Your divorce settlement is a legal issue.
By letting your lawyer carry the weight here, you are free of that mental burden of figuring out what to do.
This is your lawyer’s job, to protect your life after divorce, and this is why you can start to focus on improving your habits for better health.
Get to sleep, as much as possible.
More sleep will help you think as clearly as possible.
Better sleep will help your body and mind in every way, in ways that we don’t even know about yet.
You can be sure though, if you are getting more sleep now, you will only be better off.
Turn off the tv, turn off the computer, stop yapping with people all night, do yourself a big favor and get more sleep.
There is no reason to punish your mind and body with lack of sleep because of your divorce.
8. Drink More Water, Eat Real Food
Instead of tea tolling and drowning your troubles in alcohol, drink more water.
Drinking more water is going to help you stay on the path of healthier habits.
Your body is 72% water, keep your body happy by drinking more water throughout the day.
You must avoid getting drunk and slobbering all over town with your sad story of divorce.
This is not the time to stick your face into a Ben & Jerry’s pint of vanilla heath bar crunch ice cream.
Neither Ben or Jerry will help you in this situation.
In fact, they will only make your life worse.
Life after divorce as a fat man or woman is only going to complicate things.
Excess fat, overweight, obesity is not healthy for your mind or body.
Junk food will only lead to a compromised mind, body and spirit.
Invest in your health by making wise choices in what you drink and eat.
Turn away from junk food and focus on eating real food.
Real food is going to lead to better and stronger health, both mentally and physically.
If you think you do not have to be stronger in mind and body for your life after divorce, you are in a dream world.
One day, after the divorce proceedings are said and done, you are going to wake up in a new world.
You are out of your home, or your husband or wife are out of your home.
You are divorced.
You are no longer married.
You might not be living with your children.
Your entire life has changed.
You will be subject to depression and even worse, especially if you are the one whose life looks most different than what it was before.
Especially for men after divorce, your life expectancy has just dropped precipitously and you are prone to a host of mental and physical problems.
Divorced men have higher rates of mortality, substance abuse, depression, and lack of social support, according to a new article in Journal of Men’s Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.1)https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-09/mali-hdd093013.php
Your best path to a healthier life after divorce is to start acquiring healthier habits right now, today.
Do not wait, as soon as you can, meaning immediately, start to work on better habits for your own health.
Go to sleep on time, try to get 8 or more hours of sleep, drink alot of water, up to a gallon a day, or at least half your weight in ounces, eat real food, and make sure you move and walk every day.
9. Start Lifting Weights
What does lifting weights have to do with a better life after divorce?
Yes, lifting weights is going to help you in many ways.
Find a competent personal trainer or gym and start lifting.
Lifting weights will help you to de stress from awful nightmare of divorce.
You need to be able to stay healthy in both your mind and body, and lifting weights is one of the best methods to accomplish that goal.
Divorce and depression go hand in hand, especially for men.
Men are nearly twice as more likely to suffer from depression after they break up with their spouse, according to a Canadian study released Tuesday.
While both men and women whose marriages have dissolved have a higher risk of being depressed than people who remained with their spouses, the Statistics Canada study found that men who had divorced or separated were six times more likely to report an episode of depression compared with men who remained married.2)http://psychcentral.com/news/2007/05/23/after-divorce-men-twice-as-likely-to-experience-depression/848.html
One of the best ways to tackle depression is to start lifting weights.
Read here to see how weightlifting helps to alleviate depression.
Especially compound moves like squats and deadlifts, they are very powerful antidotes to depression.
Improving your health habits, what you drink and eat, walking more, and lifting weights, is going to give you an additional dimension of health and strength.
You absolutely need to be stronger, now more than ever, to withstand the winds of war in divorce court.
The stronger your mind and body is, the better chance you have for a healthier life after divorce.
10. Stay Close to Your Children
Last but not least, stay close to your children.
This is not going to be as easy as it sounds, especially if you are the breadwinner of the family.
Whoever is home with the children on a daily basis, already has a closer relationship.
You cook for them, take care of them, clean them, chauffeur them to their school or after school activities.
But if you are the breadwinner, most of your day is consumed with commuting and life in the office.
Many times you might come home after your kids are asleep.
It is very critical for you to stay connected with your kids.
Especially if you are the main breadwinner.
If you think that you are not in jeopardy of becoming estranged from your children, think again:
Nine out of 10 children of separating or divorcing couples live most of the time with their mothers so the controlling parent is likely to be the woman and the estranged, undermined parent is likely to be the man. It is not unknown, however, for mothers to be on the receiving end of this process, where the children are living mostly with the father.
It is called “implacable hostility”. Some psychologists have written about “Parental Alienation Syndrome” but that designation is not recognised by the courts. The phenomenon is so broadly overlooked in the family law system that no official figures exist for the numbers of children it may affect.
In Psychology Today, Edward Kruk has written of 11-15% of the children of divorcing parents suffering the effects of implacable hostility. In the UK, where roughly 250,000 divorces are granted every year, that estimate would equate to some 50,000-75,000 children every year.3)http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/fatherhood/11342027/We-must-stop-turning-children-against-divorced-fathers.html
As much as possible, stay closer to your children.
Get more involved, ironic as it is that it might take an action for divorce to get you moving closer to your kids.
Get home earlier from work, you are already doing a great job, so before the court kicks you out of your own house, get home earlier and do more things with your kids.
Spend more time with them, so when the axe falls and you have to move out of your own home, your kids will still want to see you during visitation.
Probably the worst reality of life after divorce is going to be separation from your children, especially for men after divorce.
Joan Kelly PhD, one of the foremost experts on children of divorce, defines an estranged relationship between a parent and child as a diminished, thinned out, and less meaningful bond. And, she says that 24% of children from divorced families are seeing a parent once a year, if at all.
In his research, Robert Emery PhD, Director of the Center for Children, Families, and the Law at the University of Virginia, found that nonresidential fathers saw their children only 4 times per month following divorce, and about 20% of children had no contact at all with their fathers 2-3 years after divorce. Other research concluded that, many college-age students of divorced parents who had a limited relationship with their fathers while growing up stated that they would have liked more contact with their fathers during their adolescence, would have liked to have been closer, and wanted more time together.4)http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-moskovitch/oprahs-most-memorable-gue_1_b_869497.html
If you are not yet divorced and still living in your home, this is the time to do everything you can to stay closer to your kids.
Spend time with them, make sure that they know you are there for them.
If you are following all the other commandments to improve your chances of a quality life after divorce, you are doing better at work, you are less stressed, you are listening to your legal counsel, you have not smeared your spouse, you maintain your dignity and you are healthier.
So, you are going to look even better to your kids, especially because you are avoiding depression and obesity, and you are calm.
If you are already feeling the pangs of estrangement or alienation happening, then you are going to have to fight even harder.
For a more extensive treatment on how to fight depression and the nightmare of estrangement, you can find my book here.
Never give up on your kids.
I hope that these 10 commandments will help save your life after divorce.
If you follow them closely, you have a much better chance of living a better, healthier and higher quality life after divorce.
References [ + ]
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