Divorce brings about the death of hopes and dreams. After all, when people marry, they have great expectations.
Life after divorce for a woman can be overwhelming. I know. I have been there twice. It can totally disrupt your life.
- Are you thinking about filing for divorce?
- Are you in the middle of divorce proceedings?
- Have you been caught off guard by your spouse wanting a divorce?
For many of you, a fresh start is not what you signed up for, and being a single person is not your idea of bliss.
This article is to prepare you so you aren’t totally blindsided, along with giving you further resources. So let’s take a look at what to expect in your new life.
Emotional fallout is part of life after divorce for a woman
Divorce changes life with losses for both sides. And with loss comes emotional pain. If you were married for a long time, you may struggle more with emotional ups and downs.
You need to remember that being “divorced” is an event, not your identity.
Emotional fallout for the person filing for divorce
Don’t be surprised by negative emotions when you file for divorce. The end of your marriage carries a certain sense of failure.
- You may feel embarrassed if your family upbringing believed “until death parts us.”
- You may feel sad because what you hoped for in the beginning did not work out.
- You may feel angry because your spouse was not who you thought they were
- You may be afraid if your spouse was abusive and domineering.
These are just a few of the negative emotions that come with life after divorce for a woman who is filing a petition.
Emotional fallout for the one whose spouse is filing for divorce
Many women feel shocked and betrayed when they find out their spouse wants a divorce. So many just don’t see it coming. I know I didn’t.
Many women wonder about their identity. “What is wrong with me that he wants to leave?”
Worse yet is seeing your spouse with another woman. It just increases the feelings of being unworthy, ugly, overweight, or whatever you struggle with.
These are some of the realities of life after divorce for a woman whose spouse is filing for divorce.
Emotional fallout from a mutual decision to divorce
Just because you both agree to the divorce does not mean you won’t suffer emotional consequences.
While you may have a sense of relief that you won’t have to put up with each other for much longer, there still is often a sense of failure, embarrassment, and loss of a dream.
Financial fallout for a woman after divorce
A change in your marital status can affect your financial status more than you realize.
Divorce is expensive. Not only are the legal proceedings costly, but you now have the expenses of two homes instead of one.
Many couples have learned to live with two incomes and that comes to a screeching halt with divorce. Many women experience a 27 % decline in their standard of living after divorce. (1) There are many contributing factors for it.
These are some of the financial realities of life after divorce for a woman.
Divorce proceedings are part of the process
If you were married in a civil ceremony requiring a marriage license, then you will also need to untie the knot through a similar process. Just be aware that getting married is much easier than getting a divorce.
The divorce process is not fun. It can be extremely stressful. Much of your personal information becomes public: your assets, salary, etc.
Divorce proceedings can be lengthy. Here are the usual steps:
- Filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. Every state has their own rules. Paperwork includes many details about yourself, your spouse, your children, why you want a divorce, and how property will be divided.
- Serving papers to the spouse who did not file for dissolution of marriage.
- Initial hearing
- Discovery – of assets, potential assets, income, debts.
- Financial affidavits from both parties – proof of income, bank statements, income tax returns, as well other items.
- Trying to settle out of court – if not possible then go to court. This can be expensive with numerous dates which often change.
- Finalization of the divorce
People sometimes become very weary as they walk through the steps and supply the many required documents.
And just because a divorce is finalized, you still may have trouble with the recovery process for what was awarded to you. Further attorney fees to get what is yours is a possible reality of life after divorce for a woman.
Family and friend dynamics change for women after divorce
Contested divorces are more difficult to deal with due to quarrels and blame. A lot of other people get sucked into the mess:
- and friends.
Be prepared. In many cases you may need to find new friends.
When you have children
Single parent have some challenges ahead.
Life after divorce for a woman can be extremely complicated when you have young children. You have to make a living, but sometimes child care is not readily available at a reasonable price.
While there should be a united front when it comes to dependent children, not every ex-spouse will be your ally when it comes to child support, visitation, joint custody, holidays, and family traditions.
Unfortunately, kids become pawns in a game of who will be in control for their allegiance. Making them take sides can be emotionally harmful. It can also damage your relationship with them in the long run.
These are some of the possible and unfortunate realities of life after divorce for a woman who has children.
What happens to the ex-family after divorce?
This can be a very unpredictable and uncomfortable situation.
Parents and siblings of your ex-spouse are caught in the middle. For most, they want to support their child or sibling and find it awkward to continue interacting with you.
Some ex-families will completely disappear from your life unless you have custody of their grandchildren.
What happens to mutual friends after divorce?
Just like your children, mutual friends can get caught in the middle having to take sides. Many find it too much of a challenge.
Other friends will see you as a threat to their marriage because you are now a single woman and available.
This is an unfortunate reality of life after divorce for a woman. She will undoubtedly mourn the loss of some of these friends.
The healing process is part of life after divorce for a woman
Professionals agree that a divorced woman will go through stages of grief similar to a new widow. The first year is usually the hardest as significant dates roll onto your calendar.
Sometimes the hardest thing in the recovery process is knowing your ex-spouse is still alive and in a new relationship. It can contribute to a personal identity crisis.
It is important to have a good support system to maintain your mental health. It is unfortunate, but according to a gallop pole, 30% of divorced women turned to drugs – prescription, recreational, or illegal – to relax after divorce.” (2)
Starting a new relationship after divorce
A new person is not the key to healing from your previous relationship.
One of the big lies that the majority of women believe is that they can’t be happy and fulfilled without being in a romantic relationship.
Yet one of the worst things you can do is right away jump into the dating scene in search of a new partner. This is a great way to repeat past mistakes and ignore red flags.
Many women grieve the loss of romance and wonder, “Will I ever find love again?” Being desperate for a first date almost always leads to disaster from those who will take advantage of you.
The length of time you should wait before you start dating varies from person to person. A lot of it depends on how much healing you have fostered.
Your next relationship needs to have your full attention and that is not possible while you are still healing.
Resources for life after divorce for a woman
Going through any divorce is stressful. But an unwanted divorce completely pulls the rug out from under a person leaving them feeling empty, worthless, and numb.
Women need resources to help them navigate life after divorce.
Resources from the Creator’s Classroom
- Who am I after divorce?
- Is divorce guilt haunting you? How to cope
- How to get over divorce after a long marriage
- Christian dating after divorce
- Testimonies of God healing broken hearts
Christian blog resources for divorced women
- Jen Grice – Surviving and Thriving after Divorce. This is a Christian-based website, addressing all stages of divorce: during the messy legal process, when the decree is final, and the years following as you heal. You will find encouragement and hope in her electronic pages.
- Woman’s Divorce – Christian support for divorce. This website includes legal considerations, what about the children, different State resources and laws, finances, starting over, and all the other issues facing the Christian divorced woman. If this is the first time you have gone through divorce, this website is a good one.
Book and Bible Study resources for divorced women
- Your Restoration Journey: Rediscover your Faith & yourself after divorce. This is a wonderful 8-week Biblical study with many reflective moments for you to journal in the book itself. The themes are: Where is God, and What is my purpose? What is Next? (and everything in between). You will get insight into the author’s own struggles which many will be your struggles. Answers are all from a Biblical perspective.
- You Can Survive Divorce. This book is especially encouraging for those just recently thrown into an unwanted divorce. It gives you a reference point for finding hope that life will eventually have meaning and purpose in spite of the divorce.
Social media resources for divorced women
- https://www.facebook.com/MsJenGriceAuthor – Jen follows much of her blog, but of course, you can comment and also ask questions. You will see posts for her products, but also a lot of tips to help you in your post-divorce journey. She has a following of over two thousand, so she obviously has useful information. Plus she is the author of several books listed in this resource.
- Lily Mtongwiza is a Christian relationship coach for single women desiring a Bible-based marriage. She has a website, as well as a private Christian community on Facebook which covers all aspects of the single life, including Christian dating after divorce.
- Divorce Care – While this is a public page where anyone can see your comments, there are many who share freely how they are dealing with the same things you are going through.
- Divorced Christian Women’s Support Community – This is a private group so you can comment and ask questions without the whole world seeing them. Divorce is not the END! God still has a plan for you. This group will help you allow God to transform your life and help you rebuild a new future based on His word and promises. You will meet new people and learn new things.
Crisis services for divorced women
- The 24-Hour Crisis Line provides immediate help. We can help you determine if you or your loved one needs professional consultation or emergency services. 866-427-4747
- Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 support via text message. We’re here for everything: anxiety, depression, suicide, school. Text HOME to 741741.
- National Suicide Prevention Helpline – If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7. 1-800-273-8255. (Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio, 1-888-628-9454)
Online listeners and therapy services for divorced women
Local support groups are helpful, but often not available depending on where you live.
- Faithful Christian Counseling Services – The cost of these services are low compared to face-to-face services. They have a questionnaire to help match you to the right counselor. Their network is nationwide.
- 7 cups – the free services are with trained listeners who are not licensed therapists. They are available 24/7/365. So if you need to talk to someone in the middle of the night, that is possible. The agency also offers therapy services for a modest fee.
- Bliss – this is totally free support through a self-paced curriculum. It is not therapy. They specialize in depression, which many divorced women suffer from.
- Rethink my therapy – This therapy costs $99/month for unlimited phone and video appointments. They offer a free 7-day trial period so you can decide if they are a good fit for you.
- Hope For Divorce – Struggling in your marriage can be so painful, especially when divorce is involved. You may experience depression, anxiety, grief, and loneliness as you cope. Whether you’re going through a divorce or trying to save your marriage from one, they are there to support you.
Free online personal finance courses
- MoneySmart. This is a free online personal finance course created by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). You’ll learn about everyday financial topics, including the basics of credit, how to create a spending and saving plan, and how to protect your identity. It is also available in Spanish.
- Learning Lab by GreenPath. GreenPath provides resources such as worksheets, guides, and debt calculators to help consumers manage their finances. The Learning Lab has free courses and games that educate users on many different financial topics.
Online legal aid lawyers
- Ask A Lawyer On Call – Chat 1:1 with a lawyer online about your situation. Join for $ 5, then $60/month. Cancel anytime. Talk 24/7/365. Here is a link to join.
- Find a lawyer and affordable legal aid – This is a document from USGov.com. It includes links for finding low-cost help locally, as well as help for seniors, veterans, and those with disabilities.
Divorce coaches and recovery groups
- Divorce Care – Divorce recovery groups – are available in many cities throughout the United States. This link will help you find a group near you.
- SAS (support and services) for thriving beyond divorce – There doesn’t seem to be any spiritual emphasis, but there is a lot of important information about what to expect during the different aspects of divorce.
- What to do before you leave an abusive marriage
- What to do if served with divorce papers from your spouse
- Many other good references
Bible verses to help women after divorce
God never changes even when our circumstances do. This is the good news for life after divorce for a woman.
God loves you when others don’t
God is faithful when others are not.
God will not leave us when others do.
God cares about our broken heart when others don’t.
God can be trusted when others can’t be.
Feel free to download these images to remind you that the lover of your soul adores you, will not let you down, and wants to heal you and help you.
Here is the link to download them for free. Use them as bookmarks or as computer wallpaper. Laminate them and carry them in your purse or hang them from your review mirror. It is good to remember God’s promises.