When you are divorced, it's easy to look at married couples and mourn the relationship you once had. There are often constant pressures from friends, family and society to be married. Marriage certainly can be a beautiful and wonderful thing, but so can divorce. It doesn't have to be all gloom and doom and filled with desperation. I propose that it can be, in fact, an exciting opportunity. Embrace your new life as a divorced man by using your freedom to meet new people and discover what you really want. I would even go so far to say that there are certain benefits to being divorced:
1. "You" Time: If you have kids and have a joint custody agreement, you may actually have some time to yourself now that you're divorced. As a married man, your time was likely divided between your kids, work and spouse. You really had to make a conscious effort and get permission to have time for yourself. Now that you are single, there may be an opportunity to have some downtime and do things that you enjoy. It's ok to be selfish and indulge in activities that make you happy. What are things you liked to do when you were younger prior to the marriage? Do them!
2. "You" Vacations: Gone are the days that you have to worry about where your partner wants to go. You can plan to go to a destination that you've always wanted to go to on your own. Use this as an opportunity to go places you haven't explored yet. Also, it's easier to meet new people on vacation; you tend to be more relaxed and people are naturally more open to meeting others when away from their hometowns. So leave the computer at home, turn off your phone and hit the beach!
3. "You" Activities and Festivities: It's exciting to pick and choose different activities and festivities that you enjoy. You don't have to attend parties that your spouse would like you to go to or talk to people that you are "supposed" to talk to. Now you can concentrate on things that will be fun for you and engage in hobbies that you are passionate about -- maybe even mingle with interesting women. Get a new outfit and hit some parties and networking events. You may meet some other single friends or a new woman with whom to do activities that you both appreciate.
4. "You" Family Gatherings: Holidays and special occasions are often stressful while married because you have to figure out how to divide the time spent with each family, no matter what your relationship was like with your ex in-laws. Of course, after divorce there will be aspects that you will miss about the large family gatherings, but there are some perks to planning your own celebrations. Use this time to relax and be with your family. You might even start new traditions.
5."You" Makeover: Use this opportunity to really take care of your body and create a new image. Buy new clothes that make you feel amazing. Exercise and eat healthier. Often when you are married, you get stuck in a rut and you don't carve out time to take care of yourself. Exercise is a great way to re-focus your energy, get in shape and have that "you" time. Also, you'll sleep better, feel invigorated and have the confidence to date again.
It's natural to feel the absence of the family unit and the partnership you once had. But the time after divorce is also a period where you can embrace your new freedom, create new celebrations, rejoice in the blessings you have and open yourself up to possibilities to come!