How to Handle a Young Divorce
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How to Handle a Young Divorce

Going through a divorce at any age is tough, but it can be even harder when you go through it earlier in life.

How to Handle a Young Divorce

Going through a divorce at any age is tough, but it can be even harder when you lack social support due to your age. Here’s how to navigate through this trying time.

Why Is Divorcing Young So Hard?

In the U.S., the average age for men to divorce is 32 years old, with the average woman ending her marriage at 30. Many people divorcing in their teens or twenties feel isolated because their friends are still married or even dating.

However, those are just averages — 13.4% of married women aged 25 to 29 get divorced, as do 10.1% of men in the same age group. No matter how old you are when you dissolve your marriage, you’re part of a large cohort of people seeking a new chapter in their lives. Separating is sometimes the healthiest choice you can make in your relationship.

Tips for Navigating a Divorce

You will get through this.

Forgive Yourself

First, it’s important to let go of any guilt you might be feeling about ending your marriage. Being divorced isn’t a personality trait. Rather, divorce is an action you’re taking, and it often says more about your resilience and courage than an inability to commit. Let go of any negative stigma you’ve internalized about getting divorced.

Look for Support

There are many ways to find support during your divorce, ranging from legal spousal support — where your spouse pays 40% of the difference in your incomes until you get back on your feet — to group therapy, where you can discuss your emotions with other divorcees. You may also need to lean more on your friends and family during this difficult time. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and ask for help.

Focus on Self Care

It can be tempting to turn to drugs, alcohol or other bad habits after a divorce, especially if you lack social support. But now is the time to be kind to yourself. You’re going through a lot.

Start by getting into a healthy routine, like sleeping eight hours a night and waking up at the same time every morning. If you’re new to the whole self-care thing, build good habits into your life little by little, such as swapping your nightcap for herbal tea or taking a 15-minute walk every day.

Enjoy Your Hobbies

If you’re depressed, you might stop enjoying things you previously loved doing, but it’s important to still engage in hobbies and activities. It will help you rekindle your relationship with yourself and keep you from becoming more depressed and isolated.

Maybe you used to love horseback riding, but your spouse never liked it, so you stopped doing it for years. It’s time to literally and figuratively get back on that horse. You can even sign up for new activities you always wanted to try, like scuba diving or modeling for an art class. Engaging in hobbies helps you meet new people and let a little joy back into your life.

Be as Public or Private as You Like

While going through a divorce, you may need a shoulder to cry on and want to explain everything that happened. Or, you may want privacy and won’t want to talk about the divorce at all. You might experience both of these feelings at different points in your divorce or with different people.

It’s totally up to you whether you want to share or withhold details. If friends or family members get nosy or you simply aren’t in the mood to talk about your divorce, you can politely but firmly tell them it’s personal and you’d rather not discuss it. Thank them for their concern — they may just want to comfort you — but explain that your divorce is a sensitive topic.

Accept Your Feelings

Rather than trying to suppress your anger, frustration, confusion, sadness or outright exhaustion, accept that it’s OK not to be happy all the time. It’s normal and even expected to be emotionally drained during a divorce, so don’t try to hide your feelings or force yourself to be positive. Instead, practice mindfulness.

You don’t need to be a yogi master to sit quietly in meditation for a few moments a day, noticing your feelings and seeing how they affect you. All you have to do is bring your attention to the present moment, notice your thoughts and let them go. Your feelings will pass through you like clouds in the sky — here one moment, gone the next. The sun will come out again before you know it.

This, Too, Shall Pass

Getting divorced young comes with its own set of challenges, but it does have some distinct advantages as well.

You still have decades ahead of you to look forward to, years to shape your personality, career and overall choices. A divorce in your twenties can give you a new perspective on what you want and who you are. And although the present moment may be challenging, it’s a short blip on the radar of a long, wonderful life. You’ll be back to living in no time.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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