5. You experience the loss of extended family that cuts you off or takes sides.
It is not unusual for extended family members to side with their blood relation, no matter the circumstances of the marriage and divorce.
It was surprising and hard for my client whose in-laws stopped talking with him when he thought they had been so close. The cutoff was total, although the children continued to see their grandparents, and he supported that.
This is a situation when you recognize that you have no control over the decisions of others, and perhaps you will eventually forgive them. In the meantime, appreciate that your children (if you have them) didn’t lose grandparents in their parents’ divorce.
6. You lose some friends who choose sides or abandon both of you.
People you thought were good friends now may be awkward with you or perhaps avoid you. Sometimes a friend might intervene to try to fix your marriage or to offer well-intentioned advice you have not requested.
You will see over time who your true friends are. Those friends are happy to invite you along to dinner or a movie even if you aren’t part of a couple anymore. They are supportive without being intrusive. You can trust them not to gossip.
Those are your real friends. Reach out to them for support and for social events. My clients talk about the discomfort of being the “third wheel” or the “only” single person when socializing. Remember: No one cares that there is a single person in the group. If shame is causing your discomfort, let that go and enjoy the independence.
7. You may have a financial loss, less money to live on, and less financial security.
This causes a lot of anxiety when you wonder if you can ever retire, or if you will end up homeless on the street. You will have to adjust to living on a smaller budget and will become more conscious of where your money is going.
You might go back to work or increase your work in order to rebuild your sense of security. It takes a while, but you may find that you enjoy your work, that you can live on less, and that your future begins to look less frightening. Women usually have a harder adjustment than men; the idea of returning to work can be daunting to someone who has been out of the workforce for some time.
However, you might find work exciting and a welcome challenge, especially if you are sharing kids’ time with your ex and have time when you might otherwise be feeling lonely.
8. Moving out of a beloved home into a small, rented room is part of a big change in your standard of living.
The home or apartment you lived in with your ex may have been created by you to be a welcoming and loving home, filled with memories and reminders of good times. Now you find yourself in a new place that does not carry the stamp of your personality.
To make your new place a home, bring photos and personal possessions that will make you feel comfortable during the transition to singlehood. Give yourself some time to settle in, meet your new neighbors, and get to know your community.
9. You experience the loss of a deeply held commitment to yourself.
You may have promised yourself you would never get divorced. I had a “rule” that I would “never” get divorced.
Whether it was your decision or not, divorce is like a moral injury, when you are caught in a bind because you couldn’t stay married, and in separating, you weren’t being true to long-held core values.
You may feel you’ve let yourself down, or let others down, and struggle with your own sense of guilt or of not being a worthy person. You have to keep reminding yourself that your relationship may have failed, but that doesn’t make you a failure.