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You’ve lived you life for someone else for years, so what do you do now that the divorce is final? No matter how amicable your divorce might have been, this is often the time when people stop to take a look at themselves. What will your life be like from now on? What will change and what will stay the same?

Grieve: There are many feelings that you may experience about your divorce. You might be sad, hurt, angry, or disappointed, and all of that is okay. Even if you wanted a divorce, it can still be extremely difficult to understand that a part of your life is over. Give yourself time to work through these feelings, and don’t feel like you have to be instantly happy just because the papers are signed. Whether you need to speak with someone or just take some time to be alone, working through your feelings can help you be prepared for a new relationship in the future without dragging emotional baggage around.

Visit Your Past: Remembering who you used to be before you got married can be a great start to figuring out who you want to be now. Most people give up some of the things they had previously enjoyed in favour of their partner’s preferences, so now is the time to see if you’re still interested. Did you always love football but your spouse was never into sports? Were you really into a craft or hobby for which you could never find the time? Do some of the things you used to love, go home for a visit, and get in touch with old friends to explore the old you. Visiting your past can also help you recognize what didn’t work for you before.

Live Your Dreams: Chances are you had some goals for your life that got set aside when you said your vows. Dust them off and see if they still hold any interest. If you always wanted to write a book or learn to dance, go for it. This can help you decide where to go from here. Also, future relationships can be built around your dreams instead of crushing them.

Try Something New: It sounds cliché for a freshly divorced person to lose a bunch of weight, try a new haircut, or suddenly change jobs, but there’s a reason so many people do these things. When you spend several years or even decades being married to someone, you can feel pretty lost when they are suddenly gone. Exploring the world outside your previous marriage can help you understand what you want to do with your life now that you’re single again.

Don’t Rush into Relationships: Biologically, humans seem to be programmed to want a partner, even if they’ve just gotten out of a bad marriage. But you don’t have to rush into another long-term relationship just to validate that you are still desirable. Being single for a while will give you more time to make sure you know who you are and what you want for the future. When you’re ready, get yourself back on the dating scene without thinking every potential partner might lead to something permanent.

Recognize that this is your opportunity for doing many things you never thought you could. Rely on the people around you who are supportive of your new life. Take this time to do what you want instead of worrying about a partner who isn’t interested in or is jealous of your time. Reinventing yourself can change a divorce from an end to a beginning.

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