Breakups are hard, but divorces are harder… particularly for men. A study by Kingston University analysed the impact of divorce trauma on men and women. After surveying 10,000 people in the UK between the ages of 16 and 60, they discovered that during a 20 year period, women were happier and more satisfied with their life after divorce, despite the negative financial impact.
Statistics revealed there were 101,669 divorces of opposite-sex couples in England and Wales in 2017. So that’s a decrease of 4.9% compared with 2016. Meanwhile, there were 338 divorces of same-sex couples in 2017 (74% being female couples), which was more than three times the number in 2016. However, this stat is likely skewed due to marriages between same-sex couples only being possible since 2014.
Finding happiness after a divorce is almost guaranteed.
So what do the stats tell us?
It means there’s hope. In fact it’s better than that. Most people report there is life after divorce and many report they are much better for it.
So happiness clearly isn’t a concept out of your reach.
You almost certainly will find it again and you’ll be better for it. It’s just that the wait can be a bit painful sometimes. Often there can be a tendency to overreact. So that might look like complete withdrawal or we can go the other way and get just a little bit desperate.
Both reactions will fade of course.
So, below we’re going to discuss ways to overcome the trauma of a relationship breakdown and speed up the healing process so you can find peace sooner rather than later.
Firstly, let’s look at the four main reasons women file for divorce. You may or may not be surprised to learn that they are:
- Financial and emotional security endangerment
- Extra-marital affairs
All of these reasons come with their own unique emotional baggage. Overcoming the pain of divorce is relative to each individual, but what’s important to remember is in order to heal and get on with the business of living, self-care is the number one priority.
Seek help when need it – don’t wait.
There is no shame in looking for a bit of help and support. Whether it’s through therapy, friends and family, talking through your feelings and allowing yourself to be supported is just downright healthy.
So, surround yourself with people that form a positive support system and you will find the path to healing is paved more mindfully. Spending time writing a journal as you navigate this road to liberation can be a cathartic process.
It’s also a great way to reflect on your journey when you do find you’re happy again, as looking back can help us see just how far we’ve come.
Transitions are transformative.
Okay, so it may be awkward and painful at first. That’s okay. Always keep sight of the fact that the transition is a real opportunity to redefine who you are and what you stand for.
Women are far less likely to turn to alcohol, drugs, new relationships or casual sex to distract themselves, which means they can prioritise their needs and seek new and healthy interests that introduce them to new opportunities.
As with all transitions, it takes time to settle into a new routine, but it’s the perfect time for personal exploration, self-love and a heap of fun while you do.
After divorce, all introspection is liberating.
Ask yourself what made you so unhappy in your marriage?
What were the symptoms? By learning why and how your relationship broke down, you can look inwards and work out what made you stay longer than you should have, why you left, and what your own part in the relationship breakdown was.
This internal inventory is an incredible tool that liberates you from the pain of ‘why?’ and lets you step out of the emotional fog to focus on your future. With your newfound introspection, the world and how you view it – including your place in it – changes. It’s subtle at first, but you soon realise how different you are post-divorce. It doesn’t have to be a stigma of shame or even a badge of honour. By simply embracing the person you’re becoming or are yet to become, you can show the world that you aren’t defined by your trauma. You are strong; you are a survivor, and you have something more to offer.
Being alone can be scary at first. All the things you used to do as ‘we’ are now as ‘I’. But I is an empowering pronoun. It speaks for one and says, ‘this lone warrior can do anything she wants.’
So, what is it that you want to do? Maybe write a list of all the things you enjoy, then work out how to incorporate them into activities, hobbies, and socialising. Book a yoga class, go on a walk, join a book club, travel the world! Just take care of your oneness and you’ll find yourself smiling a little more each day, until one day you wake up and ask yourself why you ever stopped.
Resilience builds character.
You survived a divorce! You might not see it yet, but you’ve just earned a trillion resilience points. Everything in your life has changed, and you’re still here fighting for your health and sanity in the wake of all that pain and loss. You’re incredible. You’re resilient. You’re so much more than a statistic. Be proud.
For further guidance on dealing with your emotions following a divorce, visit our help section online at the Be Female Group here.
- HNGN. Women are happier after divorce, study finds. Source link: http://www.hngn.com/articles/7530/20130712/women-happier-divorce-comes-through-study-finds.htm
- ONS. Divorces in England and Wales: 2017. Source link: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/divorce/bulletins/divorcesinenglandandwales/2017/
- Divorce lawyers: crisp&cosolictors. Source link: https://www.crispandco.com/site/divorce-statistics/