How to rebuild your life after grey divorce

Feb 11, 2023
Source: Getty

While rebuilding your life after a divorce can be difficult, rebuilding your life after a grey divorce can present a whole other set of challenges though.

After being in a relationship for decades, suddenly living alone and having to start over your routine and life from scratch can seem overwhelming to even the most confident of people.

It’s okay to mourn

Second only to the death of a loved one, divorce is said to be the most traumatic event anyone will go through, and, as with all traumatic events, the first step in dealing with it is to mourn.  There is no hard and fast rule on how long to mourn or exactly how to go about it. We are all individuals and deal with difficult life experiences in our own unique ways. 

There will be a range of emotions to deal with, such as sadness, disappointment, anger, anxiety, guilt, shame and the fear of what lies ahead. All those will be felt even more by those that did not initiate the divorce, perhaps leaving them feeling betrayed as well.

Just take your time to mourn this setback in your life, because it is exactly that – a temporary setback. It won’t last forever but it is the first step towards the long process of healing and rebuilding your life after grey divorce. 

There are, however, certain things you can do to ease the pain and speed up the process.

Self-care is crucial

This should go without saying, but often still needs to be said. Self-care has never been more important than it is right now. For the mind to function properly, the body needs to be taken care of and fed the right type and amount of fuel. 

Eat right, do a little exercise and get enough sleep. Avoid excessive eating, drinking and delving in the past for too long. 

Discover your passions

Being in a long-term marriage and raising a family may have restricted you from following the passions you may have had in your younger years. 

Now is the time to discover and fulfil them, whatever they may be. Or you could find something new and exciting to do. Start a new hobby, indulge yourself, take that trip, join a club, do anything that may stimulate your body and soul and put some pleasure back into your life.

You’re single now, you can choose to do anything your heart desires!

Start a gratitude journal

Starting a gratitude journal is a great way of keeping you positively minded. 

Start off by listing your thoughts and all the positive aspects of your life, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Your health, your looks, your strengths and attributes, and the family and friends you have around you, are all worth remembering. Without them, things could be so much worse. Be grateful for them all.

Make a note each day of something different that you are grateful for. There are tons of wonderful things we could all be grateful for, if only we spend a little time seeking them out. The more time you spend searching for positive things in yourself and others, the less time you’ll spend wallowing in the gloomy past. 

Reading back also allows you to track your healing progress.  

Lean on your support network

Everyone has some family and friends around them, and there has never been a better time to lean on them, than this moment.

 Stay close to your close friends and family; these are the people that love and care for you the most, and chances are they would be more than happy to support you when you need a little extra TLC.

Take charge of your finances

Regardless of your financial situation prior to the separation, your finances will more than likely look somewhat different afterwards. 

Unless you take charge of your finances as quickly as possible, it can leave you in a far worse situation than anticipated. If you’ve been the type that let your spouse handle all the finances, it can be a very daunting affair.

The first thing to do would be to take stock of your assets, and income and draw up a list of your new living expenses. This will give you a pretty good idea of what your new lifestyle might look like. There is a ton of admin work to do, updating policies, wills, separating bank accounts, etc, but if you’re not up to it, don’t hesitate to seek professional financial advice before making any big financial decisions.

Make new friends

After a divorce, it’s quite natural, sadly, for some friends to drift away, especially if they were more friends with your spouse than with you. 

Some friends will also pick sides and they may not be on yours. 

If you find your friendship circle getting smaller, while it might be sad, do not isolate yourself. Get out into the world and make new friends – ones who share your hobbies and interests is a great place to start.

Start ticking off your bucket list

A good way of planning your healing process is to make your bucket list of whatever you wish to achieve, and start ticking each item off. 

There’s nothing more motivating than seeing your bucket list goals shrinking as you tick them off, one by one. And don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back with each tick you make.

Plan for your new future

It will just be a matter of time before you realise your grey divorce may have closed one chapter in your life but it has also opened another. Once you recover from the initial shock and begin to heal, you’ll start thinking about what the future holds for you.  It’s important to start planning for your new future as soon as you are able to think rationally and realistically.

Your plans will obviously depend on your personal choices, your age and particular circumstances. They may be to enjoy a quiet life somewhere in the country or to find romance and a new life partner. Whatever they are, start preparing yourself – mentally and physically. 


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