The divorce is done. The complexities of the divorce process and the uncertainty of it all are over. A new life stretches before you full of apprehension and buoyed up by hope.
This is a time of great vulnerability and a time when most people are in no shape to make a whole lot more decisions about their life after divorce. That's the way it always is so you are not alone and it will pass. Here are some simple principles to help guide you through the swirling waters of life after divorce.
The first principle: You are on an emotional rollercoaster and not likely to be totally rational
Given that your emotional mood is likely to swing violently it is not the time to make emotional judgments or decisions. Even if you were doing the divorcing the sense achievement and release will have an unbalancing effect upon you.
This is not the time to move to another part of the country, look for a new job or have sex with an attractive stranger. Contemplating a long term relationship is certainly not a good plan. However, if that's why you wanted the divorce, then there's going to be no stopping you. However, casual sex is probably not going to be a good idea.
The second principle: Stay close both geographically and emotionally to your children, maintain your role in their lives.
This is really vital to the well being of your children and gives you a continuing parental purpose. However good you are as a mother or a father your kids really need one of each. Just because you don't love each other anymore (or actually can't stand each other) it does not mean your kids don't love you both. Staying in touch via Skype (as one Family Court judge suggested) is just no good at all. Be there for them and stay close.
The third principle: Take the time to grow a little and get to know yourself a bit better
Being single again maybe something you have only briefly experienced before. An early marriage or a number of long term relationships make the experience of the life of a single person only fleeting. Take time to explore the single life and by so doing explore your own.
Understand who you were before you were part of a couple and hence be better prepared for the options you will face in your life after divorce. Again, now is not yet the time for big decisions. Use it wisely to be better prepared to make them in the future
The fourth principle: Take the time to rebuild your finances
The simple truth about divorce is that there are only two considerations that concern the law, the money and the children. The other truth is that very, very few couples can afford to divorce. Life after divorce for one if not both of you will be (or is) financially difficult. Plan, budget and do all you can to stay within the income you have. Going into debt right now is really where you don't want to be.
The key is to make the most of your assets and being realistic about your new financial situation. Speak to a financial adviser. Make sure the kids are OK and that there if sufficient secure funding for their future. Avoid, if at all possible, making the children pay the price of your divorce. If university is likely then you really need to plan for that.
The fifth principle: Relationships can be tricky (you must know that!) so go very slowly
It's all too easy to race off towards another relationship thinking this one is going to be perfect. It isn't. It's also very easy to just hit the internet dating sites and indulge yourself in delights of post divorce pleasure-seeking. Attractive though this might be it is just not a good idea. You are fragile and vulnerable you will be hurt and you will hurt others. Choose a site that caters for the sincere and well balanced person looking for a real relationship.
Take it slowly, make friends first. Build carefully show yourself and your kids that you are still a rational and sensible human being. And most importantly remember that life after divorce can also be single, happy and fulfilled.