I remember getting married and how stressful that seemed. Tying that (so-called) life commitment, making everything perfect, managing the guests, band, caterer, etc. I think at this point I could have listed getting married as one of the most stressful times of my life. But little did I know the stress involved with dissolving a marriage. I found a neat little blurb about managing stress after divorce from the Iowa State University. It made some good points, and I know that I experienced what it talks about, never really thought about it though.
It focuses on three points; 1) restructuring the family, 2) loss of significant relationships and possessions, and 3) the need to establish a new identity.
Restructuring the family was probably the hardest thing I encountered after the divorce. We had a 2-year-old daughter at the time and having split custody affected me. Parenting roles were more difficult to manage. When our daughter was sick who would stay home with her or who would take her to the doctor. Other things to consider was the fact that there were no longer two people to carry out the daily household chores and that going from 2 to 1 income would affect our way of living. There were times things simply got overwhelming. So what did I learn? It only takes 5 minutes to do the dishes so just do them. Things don’t need to be perfect either, provide a safe, loving environment and eventually I would find the time to do all those things I was neglecting. Making the right priorities and putting together a financial budget was also critical.
The loss of relationship with my wife and my daughter were both extremely hard, especially with my daughter. Even 2 years later I still struggle, at times, with not being with her. I missed my wife at first but not so much anymore. However, I miss being married. I miss the significance of that type of relationship. However, I am glad that I did not run out and find a new woman right away. I highly recommend taking the time to heal, improve, and try something new. It has done good things for me and made me a better person. Now I am a bit more confident that my next marriage won’t end the same.
Establishing a new identity can be more difficult for some than others. I can’t imagine how it is for those that have been married 10, 15, 20 years and then divorced. The role of husband and wife has been an identity for so long and to have to start over and rethink everything can be stressful. I guess that is why I took the time to heal and take on new hobbies. I am glad I did because I realized that I like photography, I like reading, and I am a good person.