Life After Divorce Bucket List
Life after divorce can be unpredictable. There are an array of bittersweet emotions ranging from relief to sadness. Part of healthy processing may involve therapy, making friends with people in a similar situation, and trying new things.
Treat the Grief
Did you know that mental health experts compare grieving after divorce to grieving the death of a loved one? There are a lot of similarities, which is why it’s important to validate what you’re feeling after divorce and learn to get comfortable with a new normal. If you avoid healing from the emotional upset that your uncoupling brought on, it’s harder to enjoy the next chapter of your life, whatever it may bring.
Avoiding grief may also develop into unhealthy habits; bottling up emotions, abusing substances, or withdrawing from previously fulfilling relationships with friends and family can make it harder to move on after a divorce.
If you share children with your previous partner, you also need to grieve the relationship you used to have with your kids. Sharing custody, especially for long stretches during breaks from school, can take some time to get used to. Doing what’s best for the children may not come easily, as it means sacrificing your time with them. However, you can make the most of the kids’ time with your ex by filling it with meaningful activities for yourself.
Tips for Treating Grief
- See a counselor
- Give yourself time
- Join a support group
- Get involved in new activities
- Stick to a routine
- Let other people see your grief
You may need a combination of tools for treating grief after divorce, and that’s okay. It’s a big lifestyle change that requires some soul-searching, but it can open up a new world of possibilities.
Make New Friends (But Keep the Old)
It may be helpful and necessary to expand your social network after a divorce. It may be painful to spend time with the friends you had in common when you were with your former partner. And while some of your dearest friends may mean well and do their best to offer support, if they haven’t been through a separation themselves you may feel something is missing.
This doesn’t mean you have to cut ties with your existing friends, just that it could be helpful to add to your support system. But, how do you make friends when you’re emerging from the life you used to share with another person?
Tips for Making Friends After Divorce
- Join a divorce support group
- Download friendship apps (BumbleBFF, Meetup, Nextdoor, Peanut)
- Attend group exercise classes
- Take community education classes
- Volunteer (school, church, community)
Ending up in another romantic relationship doesn’t have to be a part of your future. However, if it’s something you want, expanding your friend circle could be one of the best ways to eventually meet a new special someone.
Create a Bucket List
Whether you want to experience new things simply for yourself, or as a way to cope with grief and make new friends, an after-divorce bucket list is a must. Take advantage of your new lifestyle and find ways to bring joy back into your life after divorce. The possibilities are endless, but here are some suggestions for the ultimate post-divorce bucket list.
Post-Divorce Bucket List
Organize Your Finances
Maybe not the most fun item on your bucket list, but one of the most important! Be sure that after a separation, you know the ins and outs of your finances. Update your will to reflect your change in marital status and ensure you have a plan in place for your loved ones to follow when you die. This will give you, and them, one less thing to worry about in the aftermath of divorce.
Whether you’re staying in your old place or moving to a new one after divorce, mix up your decorating. Get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy, and make your place a reflection of your new chapter. If you have kids, get them involved in the process, while still honoring anything they’d prefer to keep the same as you all move forward.
Take yourself to dinner and a movie. People watch in the park solo. Go to live shows by yourself. Doing date-like things by yourself permits you to feel whole, and reminds you that you don’t need another person to complete you.
Empower yourself by taking a solo trip, even if it’s close to home. Do the backpacking trip you always dreamed of, or just rent an Airbnb in one of your favorite places. Leave the kids at home, leave your friends behind, and see what you can find out about yourself on your vacation.
Learn Something New
Have you ever wanted to learn to fly a plane? How about speak a new language? Sign up for a class and try something new. Maybe you didn’t have time for it when you were married, or maybe you’re not sure how you’re going to pass the weekends when the kids are with your ex. Make the best of your new situation and better yourself in some way. If you used to rely on your ex to do certain things around the house or yard, learn how to do them yourself.
Audit Your Social Media
Support all the effort you’re putting forth in therapy and take a good, hard look at your social media accounts. Do you need to unfollow your ex? What about in-laws? Find the right balance between who has access to your life online, and who you have access to in return. Auditing your social media can also mean you unfollow people who only post their highlight reels and instead follow more authentic people.
Plan Friend Get-Togethers
Whether it’s an extravagant Friendsgiving meal in November, monthly game nights, or a sporadic hang to catch up over drinks, be sure you’re planning get-togethers with friends. Others may be hesitant to invite you to things so as not to make you feel sad about being single; so it’s your job to show them you’re still ready and available to spend time with them.
Most importantly, give yourself time to reach your goals as a newly-divorced person. You don’t have to follow anyone else’s timeline when it comes to healing and moving on.