Life After a Divorce: What to Do When You’re Feeling Lost
Divorce after 50 can make you feel like everything you’ve known has been taken from you. The life you planned and your vision of the future may disappear, leaving you with a feeling of not knowing what to do or where to go from here.
But when you feel like this, don’t panic! There is merely one thing you must remember:
You May Feel Lost Because Your Internal GPS is No Longer Working
So many of us had our entire lives invested in our marriage and our families. It was the lens with which we viewed the world. Our concept of being a spouse and a partner was our GPS. Whatever decisions we made through our long-term marriages – whether they were personal or professional – were seen within the context of, “Well, is it good for the marriage and is it good for the family?”
When your decades-long marriage ends, that GPS and final destination are thrown out the window. But that doesn’t mean that you are destined to wander around in the dark.
Once marriage ends, our sense of purpose changes. We feel like we’re merely surviving and have not yet given ourselves the gift of dreaming again. We are so busy with dealing with the daily roller coaster of emotions and figuring out logistics and finances that we forget to do the one thing we must do.
We must step back and ask, “What is my vision now that I am divorced and over 50? Where do I want to be?”
Identifying that vision becomes our new final destination. And until we identify that vision for ourselves and then take the steps to get there, it is impossible to move forward.
You can go on auto-pilot and go through the daily motions of life, but it will be very hard to move on and reclaim the happiness you deserve unless you figure out your vision, and have a plan to get there. You must do this for yourself.
Need a little help? Here’s an exercise to start on getting rid of your roadblocks. Ask yourself the following questions.
What Do I Want?
If that question seems overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! Some answers can be as simple as saying, “I want to be happy in my home,” or “I want to feel confident again.”
What is Stopping Me from Getting What I Want?
The things that are stopping us – the obstacles to our vision – are the daily BS things that we face and frustrate us. I want you to list those. Be honest and complete, but don’t spend too much time getting caught up in the obstacles. I know for me, those obstacles included the following:
What’s stopping me:
I am staying in the home although he has left, but I don’t know how to shake the feeling that he is still “here.” There are pictures of us together, some of his books are here, and I feel like everything just seems frozen in time.
What’s stopping me:
I didn’t feel great when we were having marital troubles, but now that I’m alone, I feel like my self-esteem is completely gone. I feel like I don’t have any purpose and it’s awful. How do I rebuild?
Once you have a few of those obstacles in mind, the fun part begins. You are going to learn how to kick those obstacles out of the way by coming up with an easy plan that erases them and gets you closer to your destination.
Start Overcoming Those Obstacles by Writing Down What You Plan to Do
You don’t need some crazy D-Day type battle plan. It doesn’t need to be a PhD dissertation. All you need are some simple steps that you can start taking today. If you need some help, look at the quick plans I created for myself when I felt lost after my divorce.
Life After Divorce: An Obstacles-Be-Gone Plan
I am not feeling great about myself right now. There are several things I can do to change that. If I am not already seeing a therapist, or one that I really like, I will start searching and asking for recommendations to find someone who can work through this process with me.
I am also doing to do things for myself for a change. I am going to list things that I like to do – hobbies, physical activities – and will put them on a calendar so I remain accountable and committed to doing the things that I love. It’s time to put myself first.
The Road Ahead
Following this plan means you have done two awesome things for yourself. First, you now have something that sticks – something you can use to help boot out those silly roadblocks that are up in your face.
And second, you now know where you want to be. You have the vision of knowing what you want. You have identified your final destination. When you know your final destination and the steps to get there, nothing can stop you.
When during your divorce did you feel the most lost? How did you find the best direction for you to move on? What would you include in your own “obstacles-be-gone” plan? What do you think is the best way to get on with life after a divorce? Please share in the comments below.
Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce coach, whose website “Surviving Your Split” helps readers navigate their divorce with less stress and drama, so they can move on with their lives. For your Free Divorce Warrior Survival Kit, stop by Surviving Your Split or drop Martha a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit her on Facebook.