How to Find Happiness and Success After Divorce

By Natalie Maximets

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

How to Find Happiness and Success After Divorce

Life is full of storms. Sometimes we ride them, other times they hit us so hard we can’t feel our legs. Divorce is often the second type of storm. However, things are not gloom and doom forever. Rebuilding your life after your relationship ends takes time and effort, but you can succeed if you do your homework.

It may be hard to make the first step. So, here is a bit of motivation for you:

▶ After her failed marriage, J. K. Rowling found herself in a difficult psychological and financial situation, but she didn’t give up. The writer focused on creativity, and the world met the Boy Who Lived.

▶ Wendy Davis, being a divorced mom, continued her education in the community college. Later she graduated from Harvard Law School and became a successful lawyer and politician.

▶ American actor Will Smith met the love of his life, wife Jada Pinkett Smith, two years after divorce from his first wife. Today, they are one of the most influential couples in Hollywood.
That’s just a shortlist of divorce success stories. Yours can be the next.

How Divorce Makes Us Feel And What to Do With These Emotions

Psychologists agree that people who have gone through a breakup experience five classic stages of grief on their way to a happy life after divorce. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

How Divorce Makes Us Feel And What to Do With These EmotionsPhoto:

At first, a person feels shocked and refuses to accept life’s changes. Then anger comes. A person can be mad at their ex-spouse, themselves, the situation as a whole, etc. Everyone has their own reason to be angry after divorce.

During the bargaining stage, people turn on a “what if” thinking. They start looking for ways to justify what happened and hope it will help them get rid of breakup pain. However, it is just an attempt to replay the past.

After realizing the new reality, some ex-spouses fall into a deep depression. At this stage, a person feels lost, sad, and tired, followed by a lack of appetite, unwillingness to see other people or communicate with them, etc. During breakup depression, some people may need the help of a psychologist or therapist.

Acceptance is the final step that allows people to move on. To accept is to let go of the past. It’s a period of reinventing ourselves and learning to live after divorce in a new way.

Even after accepting a breakup, you can still feel anger, guilt, or other negative emotions related to the grieving period. Over time, they’ll become less intense. However, it is crucial not to get stuck at any of the stages mentioned above but to get to the last one.

How to Be Happy Again After Divorce: Best Tips

To survive the breakup and heal mental wounds, you need to channel all your energy in the right direction. Which one to follow is up to you, but one thing is for sure, if you do nothing, your life will not change.

The following tips may not work for everyone. However, even if they are not suitable for you specifically, they will show you the direction you can go.

⓵ Take Care of Your Self-Esteem

Divorce can make a person feel guilty about a broken relationship and think they will never find happiness or achieve success again. It hits self-esteem and self-confidence. One of the easiest tricks to change it is to list traits and accomplishments you are proud of. It’s the first step to self-discovery that will help you look at yourself in a new way.

It won’t be easy at first because, usually, people focus on negative things. However, you should not stop. Try to praise yourself even for the smallest victories, like creating such a list.

⓶ Focus on Yourself

Your mental and physical health matters the most. Find a counselor to deal with negative emotions or talk to your support group. Do some yoga, go to the gym, start jogging in the morning to shift your focus.

Think about what you want now. Do you want to travel? Get out of your comfort zone and plan a trip to the country you always wanted to visit. Do you want to give yourself a makeover? Search for a stylist. Do you want to move up the career ladder? Work on your professional development. That’s what Sheryl Sandberg did after her second divorce. Now she is Facebook COO.

⓷ Get Rid of Garbage

Getting rid of the burden of the past, we take a step towards feeling free after divorce. This freedom is vital because it’s the key to a happy life.

However, getting rid of the garbage in your head isn’t the only thing you should do in your post-divorce life. You should also get rid of the trash that surrounds you. Of course, it doesn’t mean you need to throw everything away. It may be enough to change at least something around you. For instance, you can do a thorough cleanup or make a dream renovation in your apartment.

⓸ Give Yourself Some Time

Happiness and success don’t come overnight. First of all, they require people to work on themselves, and it takes time. So please don’t rush to take action right after your marriage is over unless you feel ready for it. Instead, be patient and give yourself some time and space to grieve and adapt to a new life. Then, create a plan of what you need to do to make yourself happy and stick to it.


Last Words

People have varying perceptions of happiness and success after divorce. However, the key is to stop living your life as a divorcee and draw the image of the person you want to become. Even though it requires deep self-digging, which is not always easy, from a long perspective, you can make not only yourself happy but also the people around you.

Natalie Maximets

Natalie Maximets is a certified life transformation coach at who specializes in mental wellness, self-care, and self-understanding, with emphasis on dating & marriage, family building, divorce & post-divorce emotional recovery.

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