When you go through a divorce, it may feel as though your happiness is a million miles away. But sometimes, hitting rock bottom is what we need to make a change. Divorce Coach Emma Heptonstall and real divorcee and mum Jessica Harris* joined us at Dawn to provide their top tips on getting that mojo back right where it belongs.
LET GO OF YOUR ANGER
There’s no doubt that divorce can be a bitter pill to swallow. But bringing any toxic or negative elements of a relationship into this new stage of your life can easily prevent you from finding happiness again.
“Any nastiness and bitterness you hold will always damage you much more than the other person,” says Harris. “I understood that my son needed to be close to his dad, and so we remained amicable. We even sorted out our custody deal in the pub. When you go through a break-up, it is important to not get so caught up in the anger or bitterness that it prevents you from being happy.”
Heptonstall agrees, and says it could even cost you more in the long run. “Chances are, you won’t want the divorce process to be lengthy and drawn out. But getting stressed or bitter about it is more likely to make a divorce take longer, and possibly even cost you more money.”
TRY NEW THINGS
“Spend time figuring out what it is that you want,” says Heptonstall. “It is easy to solely focus on the children’s needs, but they’re not extensions of you and eventually they will leave home; so, address your own emotions to find a new sense of happiness.”
And trying out new things may be the last thing on your mind when you first get divorced, but Harris says that a break-up is actually the perfect opportunity to start meeting new people.
“I remember thinking that I just needed to start doing things. I couldn’t just keep things the same. So, the first thing I did was book a long weekend cookery course in Tuscany. It was a group holiday in a beautiful Tuscan villa. It was the first time I had gone away by myself and it felt very empowering, and it helped me rediscover myself a lot. I went on to book a single parents holiday with my son, revamped my house, had a big 40th birthday party, and tried out new exercise classes. Trying new things really does help you get your mojo back.”
THINK ABOUT DATING AGAIN
Just because you might now be focusing on your own needs doesn’t mean you can’t think about adding someone new to the picture.
“After about 7 months of focusing on myself I started online dating”, says Harris. “I felt ready by then. I hadn’t dated since I was 24 years old, but I suddenly had so much spare time that I didn’t want to spend just sat at home. It’s very cliché but when many of your friends are still married you can suddenly feel like the odd one out. This is why it is good to get out and back into the dating game”.
Heptonstall says that you should only date once you feel ready to let go of your ex. But if you can take on any lessons learned from your last relationship, dating again is incredibly healthy for you.
“When it comes to dating after separation, it is healthy to introspect and look at the lessons you have learned from your ex,” she says. “But after spending so much time investing more into your own emotions, your value system and finding out what is important to you – then why shouldn’t you get back into the dating game?”
*this name has been changed.