If you are in the midst of a divorce or have been divorced for some time, the thought might have occurred to you that, for better or worse, you are not the same person you once were. This is not necessarily a negative thing: divorce may have changed you in positive ways. But the fact remains the same: you probably see the world differently than you did before divorce.
Here’s a look at the top 5 ways divorce can change a person:
1. You are more cautious. Though you thought that marriage with your former spouse was the best decision at the time, divorce might have taught you that you should definitely look before you leap. You may be much more cautious than you once were, not only with relationships, but with a variety of decisions in various aspects of your life. This change could be either good or bad depending on how it affects your life. If you become too cautious, you might be missing out on enriching opportunities, which divorce shouldn’t prevent you from experiencing.
2. You rely on yourself more. During marriage, you might have found it natural to come to rely on your former spouse for a variety of things, from everyday tasks to deep emotional support and intimacy. During and after divorce, you might decide that you can really only rely on yourself for both day to day duties and self-satisfaction and fulfillment. Becoming more self-reliant can be a great thing, but if taken to the extreme, it could lead to you refusing to trust anyone to do anything or not to accept genuine love and encouragement from others.
3. You view romantic relationships differently. It’s obvious that your perception of dating and long-term relationships will change as a result of divorce, but it’s important for you to understand how and in what way. You might become cynical and bitter, thinking that every relationship, whether involving yourself or your loved ones, will inevitably end in divorce. Or you might try to get back at your former spouse by pursuing as many romantic relationships as you can without regard for how they might end. It isn’t necessary to justify or apologize for your altered feelings about relationships to anyone, but it is a good idea to be aware of how you approach relationships post-divorce and to be honest about these feelings with anyone you’re considering starting a long term relationship with. It’s not their job to help you work through them (unless your long term relationship is not romantic, but with a licensed therapist!), but it’s possible that someone you date or choose to marry might give you yet another, perhaps more positive, understanding of what it means to be in a relationship.
4. If you have children, you might view parenting differently. You would like to think that divorce has not altered the way you feel about your child or children, and that’s probably quite true: you love them the same as you did before the divorce. But divorce might affect the way you understand your role as a parent. You might try to compete with your former spouse and lavish gifts and attention upon your children, all in the hopes that they might “like” you more than your ex. Or you might decide that even though you love your children, you don’t want to have as active of a role in their lives as you did before divorce. Though there are most likely better responses than those two, it’s important to reinforce to your children the fact that you love them just as much now as ever, and that divorce won’t and can’t change that.
5. You may appreciate the people in your life more. Inevitably, when divorce happens, some people in your life stick with you and support you throughout the process, while others leave. Instead of dwelling on the hurt caused by the people who weren’t there for you, try to focus on being appreciative of the friends and family who were by your side. Hopefully, you also had an excellent divorce attorney to give you legal guidance during the process. Be thankful for these people and what they have meant to you, and might continue to mean to you, in the months and years ahead.
Divorce may change the way you see the world, but an awareness of those changes are the best way to understand who you are and who you are becoming after divorce.
Adam Bowers is a writer living in Atlanta interested in all things law. He currently writes for Atlanta Divorce Lawyers.