Nobody starts a marriage anticipating they’ll have to say goodbye one day. On the day we say ‘I do’, we’re so full of hope and optimism for the future, we can’t even envision a time when the person who seems so right for us now might be so wrong for us further down the line.
Nevertheless, divorce is a reality many of us have to deal with in our lifetimes — sometimes more than once. Divorce can bring on a lot of emotions that are hard to deal with, including anger, guilt, fear, anxiety and grief. There’s no denying that divorce can be mentally and emotionally jarring, even when we know at our core that severing ties is the right thing to do.
In many ways — and although this might not ring true at the moment — the hardest part is already behind you. You’ve made a life-changing decision to move on, you’ve chosen a divorce lawyer, and you’ve signed the papers that draw a firm line between your previous life and the one you have yet to live. But now, you’re faced with a brand new challenge: how do you take your first tentative steps into your brand new world? How can you come to terms with the fact that life will never be the same and how can you move forward, confident, happy and excited about everything the future has to offer?
Here are just a few traditions that people have found cathartic following a troubling divorce. With any luck, you’ll have a newfound spring in your step in no time.
SAY GOODBYE AND GOOD LUCK WITH A GLASS OF CHAMPAGNE
Sometimes, divorces just happen and nobody is really at fault. There is no villain in the piece — you just discovered you weren’t right for one another. For situations such as this, it’s altogether possible that you still have deep feelings for your partner, and cutting them off without so much as a final word feels unnatural and wrong. If this sounds familiar, you might want to do what other couples have done and share a final bottle of champagne together.
According to Huffington Post, some newly-divorced couples have found it therapeutic to toast to their new future with a glass of champagne after signing divorce papers. You can take the opportunity to talk honestly and openly, discussing the ups and downs of your marriage and expressing your hopes and wishes that they go on to live a happy, fulfilling life.
WEDDING DRESS WRECKING
Dress wrecking involves destroying or damaging your once-beloved wedding dress. This new tradition is normally captured by a photographer, who provides gorgeous new photographs that contrast artistically with your wedding day photos.
Dress wrecking became big in the UK in 2003, and the process symbolises something different for each woman. Some women wreck their dresses as a sign of devotion to their new partner — as the wedding dress can never be worn again, it can be seen by some as a symbol of commitment. For other women, such as Shelby Swink who was jilted at the altar, destroying her wedding dress was a way for her to move on and cope. Her would-be bridesmaids congregated and helped to trash her dress, dousing her with bright paints of various shades. Swink stated “A pity party was the farthest thing from what I wanted or needed”, further adding “I can’t even describe how liberating and cathartic the experience was for me. The moment the first bit of paint hit my dress, I was free.”
SELL YOUR OLD, UNNEEDED WEDDING JEWELLERY
Your engagement and wedding rings are meant to symbolise an everlasting commitment to your partner — a commitment you no longer want. So why keep hold of such reminders? There’s no point keeping them in some deep, dark corner of a dusty drawer when there are fast, easy and reliable ways to sell old jewellery. There are even convenient online calculators that will take into account current gold price and quality, giving you an instant quote, so you know just what to expect.
Saying a final goodbye to your rings and posting them off might be a difficult step, but take comfort in what you will be receiving in return. The money you get in exchange can be used to give you something you really want: a small holiday, a new look or, a brand new piece of jewellery with no ghosts or memories attached.
LETTING GO AND MOVING FORWARD
One cathartic exercise for many divorced individuals involves saying goodbye to the past and opening their minds to a more hopeful future. The process begins with you sitting down and writing down anything that comes to mind. Consider all the positives and negatives that are taking up space in your head. On some pieces of paper, write about how hard your experience has been, how it has made you feel, how regretful you are and how you wish things had gone better. On other pieces of paper, discuss how hopeful you are, what you want from your new life and what you wish to achieve.
Once you’re done writing, take to your garden and bury the negative thoughts. This act will help you put the past behind you in a rather literal way. Take your positive thoughts and either make a collage or put them up on your fridge to keep you hopeful and forward-thinking.
MOVE ON AND MOVE OUT (OF YOUR FAMILY HOME)
Some people indulge in a makeover after a breakup. It helps them feel like a brand new person. This is great, but when you are forced to live in the same house, you might find it hard to escape the memories that lurk behind every corner. This is why some people decide to have a completely clean slate and — quite literally — move on.
If it’s financially possible, it could help you to find a home that is yours and yours alone. You can decorate it how you like and while you’re packing up and organising, you can donate or sell any items that bring back painful memories.
FOCUS ON FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Finally, in this difficult time when you’re dealing with a huge loss, it will help you to focus on what you still have in your life — or more specifically, who you still have in your life.
If you’re a mum or dad, you’ll still have your children. They will be a huge help for you and will give you a sense of perspective. You might turn to your siblings or your parents for some comfort, or you could lean on your friends. Focusing on these relationships will show you that you are genuinely lucky and that life is still full of possibility and exciting opportunities.
Author Bio – Samantha Lyon is a published writer whose diverse interests include psychology, clean living and true-crime. She is also Deputy Head of Content Marketing for Exposure Ninja. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys painting, reading and obsessively watching Ted Talks.