When a romantic/love relationship ends, it can be hard to adjust to the single life again. Many mental-health professionals advise that the end of a relationship is an opportunity to set off on a personal growth journey. Separating yourself from a spouse or partner, emotionally and legally, isn’t easy but with time and focused effort what you leave behind will be the start of true personal growth and mental freedom. Emotional disengagement is much more difficult than the legal stuff because there is no playbook to follow that tells you what and how to disengage. It is a much more challenging and ambiguous process that is different for each person.
So, how do you turn this incredibly difficult situation into an opportunity for personal growth?
Focus On What You Can Control
This is a good lesson to practice at any stage of life and especially when recovering from the loss of a relationship or divorce. Some examples of things to focus on that are within your control include budgeting and finance. Putting together a monthly or weekly budget can help you understand what you’ll need to manage and run your household. Organizing your household, getting your important documents in order, and creating a filing system. This enables you to know where all the important documents and paperwork are, making them easily accessible when you need them.
Conversely, even though it will be tempting, don’t waste time or energy focusing on who your ex is dating or friends who choose your ex, etc. While these types of issues are annoying and will be on your mind, you cannot control factors like these. Let them go and focus on what you can control.
Create Your Support Network
This can include friends, family, professional therapists, lawyer/legal counsel, or support groups (in person or virtual) of people on similar personal growth journeys. Engaging in regular communication with people in your support networks and support groups give you a platform to express what you are feeling, a safe space to be vulnerable, and an opportunity to gain additional support, coping tools/resources, and more, while at the same time helping you avoid feelings of isolation and disconnection. Join online communities where you can engage at any time with support professionals and others on the same journey, and where there is a ton of great information and resources available. Click the “support groups” link above to learn more about a bi-monthly group (the next session is May 28) where you can pour into yourself and grow.
Do What Makes You Happy
The time you spent with your partner is now “freed up” and you can use it on yourself. Reconnecting with old hobbies and finding new ones is a great step on the journey of personal growth and you will enjoy the process along the way. Do some introspection and consider what you like to do, what you are passionate about, and what you have always wanted to try and never had the time before. Giving time to new hobbies and reconnecting with old ones, makes you happy, feels fulfilling, occupies your mind, and creates a wonderful opportunity to focus on yourself and for personal growth.