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Moving on after divorce

Julia Faulks / 26 January 2016

Following a divorce, you may find your life changes in unexpected ways, and there could be many different signs that you are struggling to cope.

Dropping wedding ring
You may find that the reality of what has happened can kick in several months after a divorce.

No one gets married to get divorced, but with statistics revealing that the divorce rate for people over the age of 60 is rising, we look at how you can begin to move on, especially if you’re struggling to cope with the aftermath. There are many factors involved when it comes to a marriage breaking down, but whether your relationship has come to an end unexpectedly or it was on the cards for many years, it’s natural to go through a grieving process when your marriage comes to an end.

Find out about the divorce process.

What are the signs that you are not coping?

Not everyone will go through the same feelings and emotions following a divorce and there could be many different signs that you are struggling to cope.

“There could be an over expression of emotion where you find yourself talking to whoever will listen, yet still nothing makes you feel better. You may also withdraw from socialising and not feel able to go out and see friends as much,” says Dr Sherylin Thompson, Counselling Psychologist.

Other common signs that you may want to look out for include the following:

  • You are not able to sleep.
  • You find yourself crying a lot.
  • Your diet has changed, whether it’s eating more or less.
  • You are unable to talk about what is going on and feel ashamed.

Sometimes there is an initial feeling of feeling free – and somewhat elated –when a divorce is finalised. But you may find that reality of what has happened hits you months later, which can often result in a period of depression.

Seeking further help to move on

“With any kind of grief you are going to feel very sorry for yourself initially and it’s okay to have an initial ‘pity party’. But if you start telling yourself that things are so awful, it’s never going to get better, I’m on the shelf and my life is over, then I think you need to seek further help, because that really is not good for you,” says Dr Annie Kaszina, author and relationship coach.

It may also be helpful to consider the following:

  • Accept that friendships may change: When you go through a divorce your social world can change dramatically. “True friends will be true, fair-weather friends may fall by the wayside and people who you never expected will show up and be there for you,” adds Dr Annie Kaszina.
  • Take charge of your life: Try new things or pick up on a hobby that you used to really enjoy doing. Grab every opportunity and experiment with new places to visit and new things to do – and remember that every ending is a new beginning.

Is it possible to be friends with your ex?

Most counsellors and relationships coaches agree that yes – this is possible, as long as you make the effort. “You have to let go of a lot of anger and judgement, but most people are too angry and afraid to live without anger.

“When we are angry we become righteous and think that it was all their fault. When we stop being angry we have to acknowledge that we played a part in our relationship’s downfall, and that reality is often very uncomfortable for people,” says Nick Seneca Jankel, relationship coach and author.

Find out how to change your name after a divorce.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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