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Divorce Affects Confidence – Even If You Are the Person Leaving
One of the most difficult parts of moving on after a divorce is to figure out who you are without the other person. This feeling of uncertainty is natural because no matter how long your marriage lasted, a piece of your life and personality was conditioned to be a certain way with that person.
Divorce has its challenges and keeping your confidence intact during this process is certainly one of them. You are learning to be single again, and adapting to life without your partner can shatter your self-esteem. For this and other reasons, even if you are the person initiating a divorce and leaving the other person, your confidence could be affected.
Divorce makes us question and wonder who we are.
We have to take a good hard look at our lives and what positions we play in life. This is especially true if you were the type of spouse who deeply rooted your identity in your marriage and took a great deal of pride in it. Some people are dependent on this identity and pride themselves on being a spouse.
It’s perfectly natural to be co-dependent, especially in a marriage. Unfortunately, too much co-dependency could make it harder to let go during a divorce.
Divorce can also shatter confidence because of the manner in which it is being carried out. Depending on the circumstances, it may not be so easy to let go. If the divorce wasn’t a mutual or amicable decision, this could lead to one person holding on more than the other and subsequently feeling low in confidence.
While you will grieve the loss of the future that you once hoped for, stay encouraged that things will eventually get better. It is important to remind yourself that you still have a life and a future outside of divorce. It doesn’t have to become your identity and drain you of your confidence. Be reassured by the fact that fresh hopes and dreams will eventually replace your old ones.
Ways to Keep Your Confidence Intact during Divorce
Caring about yourself, your health, and your mental well-being is a major step towards finding your confidence again. At the end of the day, give yourself some time to focus on you. If you have children, it is especially important for you to have your confidence intact and hold your head high for them.
Create a personal space to process things.
If you need room or space to breathe, ask family members or relatives to come babysit them or host them a few weekends out of the month as you try to process the changes stemming from divorce.
Find a new focus.
Throw yourself into a project if you have the capacity for it. Finding other things to focus on is a guaranteed way to put yourself in a better mental space instantly. For instance, volunteering your time or learning a new trade. One of the best ways to keep your confidence intact is to invest your time not worrying about the divorce.
Embrace the change and rebuild.
Understand that you are now free and independent of anything that has happened in your past. Rebuilding confidence after divorce requires you to embrace your new way of life and trust that you will survive the divorce. It will take work to rebuild yourself, but you are worth it and you owe it to yourself.
Now is the chance and opportunity for you to start doing all of things you wished you could have done with your previous partner but never took the chance to do. It’s the perfect space and opportunity to live your life re-imagined. This is a growing experience. Use this time to empower yourself.
All in all, confidence building requires a lot of work, especially during and after a divorce. With the right tools in place and the right support system, you will pull through this with your self-esteem and confidence intact. Don’t think it’s too hard to get through; you can make it if you allow yourself the space to do so.
The Five Stages of Grief
It’s not a secret that divorces can be incredibly painful, not just for the couple splitting up but also for family and friends who are around them. Divorce marks the demise of a marriage and all hopes and dreams that came into it. Like coping with the death of a close relative or a loved one, it’s basically reconciling the fact that what was once so precious and near to your heart no longer exists.
It is natural to experience bouts of grief as you start to process your divorce and let go of the ideals you held for your marriage. For this reason, it is wise to handle grieving over a divorce in a similar manner to other types of grief. According to expert psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, there are five stages of grief that give us hope that things do in fact get better and back on track over time.
The first stage for someone still completely committed to the marriage can be denial. Sometimes circumstances surrounding the divorce can be shocking and downright unexpected. If you are like others who could feel an impending divorce coming, your grief may not start here, but instead appear later down the line.
Next is the anger stage. It is completely normal for there to be anger between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. You may feel anxious and upset, especially if you thought things were secure and stable in your marriage.
The process of divorce is an extremely emotionally taxing one and it takes so much mental labor to endure it. There can be a lot of pain and fear of the unknown and how to move on in life. Some of the first things people who are divorcing become frantic about are their kids, their social status, or their finances and assets.
You will most likely have a lot of questions that you can’t answer by yourself. This can trigger you to become resentful about the entire situation, but with time, you won’t have to be. Seeing a specialist to help guide you through this process can be very beneficial, whether you are the person initiating the divorce or the person on the opposite end.
The next stage for most is bargaining. During this stage, many people who are not ready to accept the divorce become scared of what their life looks like without the other person. However, it is important to understand that no matter how much you want it to work, if the other person has thrown in the towel, you have to muster up the confidence to stand on your own and agree to walk away.
While bargaining may be okay before the two of you settle on a divorce, it can be a tiring and toxic situation to be in once you’ve committed to divorcing.
Guilt usually follows the bargaining stage. We may begin to look at ourselves and wonder how we let this situation happen, or try to find a million reasons or scenarios for how we could have stopped it.
If the divorce is in fact your fault because of an infidelity or another negative reason, it is important to own up to your part of any actual mistakes you may have made. However, it is also important not to let someone blame things on you or get you to take responsibility for things that were entirely out of your control.
The guilt stage can be especially hard for those with children, but it’s essential to maintain your confidence and hold your head high during this time. With this stage comes feelings of sadness and depression which is very normal, but you have to work through it.
Acceptance is the last stage. Once you truly accept the situation for what it is in its entirety, you start to feel relief and regain your confidence in yourself. It’s not about refusing to let someone you love go but a matter of loosening ties that are no longer healthy for you and bring painful memories.
It’s about sorrow and empowerment; allowing your innate strength and resilience to help you grow into who you were made to be. This doesn’t mean that you don’t still have some ill feelings towards the other person, but it does mean that you have recognized things for what they are and moved on.
Recognizing these stages of your divorce will make the most sense in hindsight. However, they are still helpful to identify during the divorce, so that you know that your process is normal. These are steps that most people go through during a divorce experience.
Maintaining Your Confidence and Self-Esteem during Arguments
One of the most crucial times that it is important to maintain your self-esteem and confidence is during an argument with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Arguments can become dirty and ugly. You or the other person can start to unravel and say hurtful things that you have been feeling or harboring in your mind.
To maintain your self-esteem and confidence, here are some things to remember and hold on to during any argument:
Know the other person’s fighting style.
If you know that your soon-to-be ex-partner is inclined to throw low blows or hit below the belt to get their points across, protect yourself and ask them not to do that. Stand up for yourself and don’t allow yourself to be bullied or talked down upon during an argument.
Put everything into context.
Don’t internalize things about yourself that you know aren’t true. It is important to have a real connection with yourself and not to let anyone project negative feelings on to you. Don’t devalue yourself.
Try not to attack the other person with mean or hateful words.
Try not to attack the other person even if this is how you are feeling in the moment. Chances are they will retaliate and try to be equally as harmful.
Know when to step away and when to resume.
Knowing when to step away can help you stay in control of yourself and keep your cool during an agreement. If you know that you are prone to shut down, do yourself a favor and remove yourself from the situation until you can gain composure.
Try not to be passive-aggressive during an argument.
Doing this blurs the lines of communicating the points you want to pass across, and it also places your true feelings on the back burner. When you communicate directly and tackle a subject head-on, you come across as confident and clear.
Overall, keeping your self-esteem and confidence intact during an argument requires you to be compassionate and gentle with yourself, while also being firm in whatever it is you are arguing about. Having good self-esteem also requires that you respect yourself and your morals enough not to let what someone says about them change them.
Don’t let your partner’s criticisms of you make you feel like you are “less than” you are. Love yourself enough to know when things are not worth arguing about any further.
Maintaining Your Confidence When Your Spouse Is Leaving You for Someone Else
Although it is heartbreaking to think about, divorce can bring marriages to an end for several reasons. What’s particularly unfortunate is finding out that your spouse might be leaving you to go be with someone else.
Whether they decide to leave with someone they had an affair with or someone that was kept a secret for a while, it can be a shattering blow to your confidence to make this discovery. It can feel like you are being abandoned and helpless because you were blindsided or surprised by the situation.
It’s perfectly normal to feel this way because you have invested so much of yourself into a relationship just to see the other person walk away, and with someone else at that.
You were lied to and your trust was broken.
It may seem impossible but there are ways to cope and get through this. You have the strength to keep your self-esteem intact to push through this and get to the other side.
How to Remain Confident
There are some important things to remember if you find yourself in this situation. Consider the points below to pull yourself up and out of a rut if you find yourself having a battle with your confidence during this time.
Understand your self worth.
Understand that the person leaving isn’t a reflection of you or your worth. It may sound cliché, but it is very true that it doesn’t matter how amazing, great-looking, or rich some people are; people who are committed to leaving their partner for another are headstrong about it.
Never ask for details about the other person
Don’t ask to meet with the person your spouse is leaving you for and certainly don’t ask about details about how long they have been seeing each other. Once you both finally commit to the divorce, you have to recognize that no matter how their relationship happened, nothing is going to ease the pain of knowing they are moving on with someone else so quickly. Embrace the situation for what it is and try your best to let go of wanting to know all the details.
Always remember that you are good enough
Don’t tell yourself that you weren’t “good enough” because that is a lie. It’s never your fault and you need to remind yourself of this daily. Even though it can feel like an immediate attack on your self-worth, your spouse leaving for another person has nothing to do with your value.
Never compare yourself to the other person
It is important not to compare yourself to the person your spouse is leaving you for. If you find yourself doing this, find ways to stop it immediately. Write down a list of things that you like and love about yourself and pull it out any time you feel your mind start to wander to comparison.
Let go of you anger
Eventually, you will have to forgive the other person for leaving. It is a part of the healing process and you can’t really avoid it. Don’t bear the anger, suffering, and agony of an angry person around you. You can’t let their decision determine how you spend the rest of your life. Don’t let their mistakes suck the happiness, passion, and spirit out of your life.
Your marriage may have been the biggest priority in your life and your sole focus. It’s not just about being sad that your partner is leaving you for someone else or that you are losing them. You may simply be sad that you are losing something that was so important to you and this is a very valid feeling.
Seek professional help
If you find that you are still struggling to reconcile with the fact that your spouse is leaving for someone else, it may be best to seek professional help. Counseling will help you make sense of everything and how to repair your identity and confidence after your divorce.
People to See and People to Avoid When Trying to Build Confidence
Surrounding yourself with friends and family who support and love you is important to remaining confident and optimistic during a divorce. During this time, it is essential to build a support system and avoid people who give you negative feelings or project their doubts on your divorce process. Focus on being with loving individuals to maintain your confidence during divorce.
Don’t let your confidence be dictated by someone else’s feelings in any area of your daily life. This is important either you are the person leaving or the person who is on the receiving end of the divorce.
People to See
The first group of people to see when trying to keep your confidence intact is people who genuinely know you for who you are, outside of being a spouse. Having people who understand how valid your feelings are and give you emotional support can be a great outlet for relief. This can be close family and friends who can help you keep your head held high during these times.
Seek people who believe in you and your ability to move on and rebuild your life without your partner. These people can help you move forward and take your mind off of being stuck.
People to Avoid
Avoid people who make you feel less than yourself because you are going through a divorce. Many times, people who we thought were in our corner can take an “I told you so” or “I saw this coming” approach, which does not help the situation at all.
Making New Contacts
Develop new friendships and a new social network. This is especially important if you feel that your divorce has also caused you to lose your social network or acquaintances that you both shared. Join a group that has similar interests as you. If you are a religious person, anchor yourself into the people who are at your religious institution (a church, a mosque, etc.).
A divorce can feel like a rebirth of yourself in so many ways. It’s about rediscovering yourself and figuring out what’s next in your journey. This is especially true if you were married for a long time or if you have kids together. Surround yourself with people who allow you to do just that in a judgement-free way.
Where to Get Professional Support
The great thing about divorce is that you are not alone. According to the CDC, approximately half of all marriages end in divorce. This simply means that there are people who have experienced all the same emotions and feelings that you have and can be a great resource to you. Here is where to find support during this time:
There are a great number of divorce attorneys in the United States that can help guide you through the divorce process to make things a little easier for you and your family.
Divorce is still a legal process. If you and your spouse can’t come to amicable agreements over how to split assets and finances, relying on a reputable divorce attorney will help make the process smoother.
Counseling or Therapy
Most people avoid seeking professional help in this field because they believe it makes them appear weak or broken – they think they can handle it all on their own. In fact, it is the exact opposite. Seeking a counseling professional when you are going through a divorce is going to help you regain your control and confidence in yourself. It is an anonymous source that you can open up to without thinking of the effects it will have on your social circumstances or your family.
Counseling or therapy can be especially beneficial for people who are having a harder time reconciling with their divorce. It’s perfectly normal to feel lost and confused during such a major change in your life. Divorce can affect everything, from how you handle your personal affairs to having people to rely on for things you once leaned on your spouse for. A counselor can give you a safe space to discuss your issues, fears and concerns. They can help you unpack the entire grieving process and provide emotional support for you along the way.
Join a Divorce Recovery Group
Joining a divorce recovery group could be a great relief to many people having a hard time processing their divorce. It is natural to want to talk to your friends and family about it but sometimes you can feel as if you are a burden.
Some family and friends may not be available all the time when you need them, and this is another reason why joining a divorce support group can be beneficial. It is another safe space where you can open up with people who are dealing with the exact same issues as you. The commonalities will bring you together and you can learn so much from other people who are going through this same thing but approaching it differently. These people will listen to you, hear you out, and be empathetic to your feelings.
Having the right tools in place during your divorce can make or break the amount of time you spend getting through it. Seeking professional help is always a good idea if you feel that you simply don’t have the support of the immediate people in your life. If you are having trouble finding a reputable professional, speak with people who have gone through a divorce before and ask them for references.