How to Rediscover Your Identity Without Going Too Far

A divorce is a trying time. You’re dealing with a lot of emotions about a significant relationship in your life, about your partner and about yourself. When people are married, especially for a long time, they become accustomed to compromise and loose somewhat of their own sense of identity. One of your tasks during a divorce and afterward is to rediscover your sense of identity, and redefine who you want to be without your spouse.

Unfortunately, with all the overwhelming feelings floating around, it’s far too easy to lose your sense of perspective and go too far in your quest to rediscover your identity. Look out for yourself as you go through this vital and reaffirming process.

Don’t behave inappropriately in front of your kids.

First and foremost, don’t behave inappropriately in front of your kids. As you’re dealing with a divorce and all that entails, it may be tempting to badmouth your spouse, drink, neglect your responsibilities and behave like a kid again. Don’t do any of that in front of your kids. If you behave inappropriately in front of your kids, you undermine your authority as a parent, and you also provide a poor example for your children to follow. Don’t forget to remain a parent to your kids while you go through the rediscovery process.

Avoid bringing new partners to meet your kids too soon.

When you start dating after a divorce, you may have a difficult time with your kids. Children may resent the intrusion of a new partner, and have a lot of feelings to resolve regarding a divorce. Be sensitive to your children’s needs. Avoid bringing new partners to meet your kids too soon; give them a reasonable time to mourn the divorce and cope with their feelings.

Beware of behaving inappropriately during a divorce.

Beyond protecting your kids, you should also beware of behaving inappropriately as you’re going through the divorce process. Don’t spend a ton of money going on an exotic trip to a far-away-place, and don’t buy expensive things for the home. Don’t flaunt new partners in front of your spouse and don’t abuse your spouse to your friends. Never destroy property or otherwise damage anything belonging to your spouse, and don’t assault your spouse. Be careful what you do during your divorce, as all of these things can impact your divorce settlement (and some of them could potentially expose you to criminal charges).

Don’t spend outside your means.

Retail therapy is a common way people deal with feelings of loss, and other difficult emotions. However, you must avoid spending outside your means. Keep your new income and living situation in mind as you buy clothes and furniture for your new place, engage in new hobbies or travel. It’s tempting to try to buy happiness, but there isn’t enough money in the world to soothe a divorce, so don’t spend yourself into debt trying.

Pursue interests you’ve missed.

One of the healthiest things you can do to rediscover your identity after a divorce is to pursue interests you’ve missed. Love going to museums, but haven’t been in years? Make it a point to visit a museum you’ve missed. Used to go to concerts all the time? Go listen to some good music. A divorce is a great time to reconnect with the things you used to love before your life became a compromise.

Reconnect with friends, and make new ones.

Finally, reconnect with your friends to help you through your divorce. Old friends can help remind you of who you once were, and new friends can help you develop the burgeoning sense of self that you’re nurturing after a divorce. Your friends are probably glad to spend time with you as you go through this process, and you can meet new friends pursuing new hobbies or even in support groups or meet-up groups for people going through a divorce.