My divorce was four years ago. Since then, there have been a lot of things I’ve done wrong (which is fine, because how else can I grow?), but there were some things I was doing right and didn’t even know it.
Looking back, there are some things that have stood out to me, and I realize now they have made all the difference.
No, these aren’t earth-shattering things like backpacking in India for a few months. They are really small things I did that gave me confidence because they allowed me to get to know the new me.
It’s inevitable: you change when you go through a divorce. Even if you want it and feel happier not being partnered any longer, it’s still a life-changing experience. Here are six things I did after my divorce and before I got into a relationship that helped me evolve into a better me — and they just might help you too.
1. Get a vibrator.
I recommend having all the sex with anyone you want to if that’s what you want to do.
However, there may be times (especially when your kids are gone and your friends are busy) when you mistake being horny for being lonely. These are not the same thing. Reach out to someone for a booty call if you want, but if it leaves you feeling unsatisfied and like you’ve made your void bigger, how is that helping you?
Get a vibrator. This is a must if you don’t have one, so you can take care of your sexual needs on your own. Soon, you will know the difference between wanting to get off and wanting to have sex and connect with another person.
2. Go away alone.
Even if it’s for a night or a weekend, go away by yourself and spend some quality time with you. This doesn’t have to be grand. I stayed in a hotel (that had a spa) for a night. It was a half hour away from my house. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to be bothered.
I wanted to tune out, pamper myself, and be fine with the stillness and quiet because that’s really freaking hard for me.
This trip showed me I could do it and that I didn’t have to drown out my sorrows with the “busy.” I got a massage and a pedicure, which was delightful. The rest of the time I ate and watched television, which was just as delightful. Ever since that night, I’ve had a different perspective about life during the times I feel lonely — which is a lot. I know I can be sad and lonely yet still be okay.
3. If you have kids, go away with just them.
Traveling solo with my kids was something I’d never done before. I was used to my ex-husband being there. I was used to having help. I was used to adult company. But when my kids and I went to an indoor waterpark, we had a blast. I really learned I was capable of doing all the adult stuff it takes to pull off a trip with kids. The best part? I got to dictate the schedule, call the shots, and decide what we were going to do without checking in with another adult.
We got room service and watched television on our last night there instead of going to the waterslides which was more than fine by me, but I know my ex would have wanted to continue the action.
4. Buy yourself something you’ve been wanting for a long time.
I bought a leather handbag I’d been wanting. Whenever I told my ex it was what I wanted for Christmas or my birthday, he thought it was a silly way to spend money.
It is so empowering to march into a place and slap down your own money and make your own damn decision without someone making you feel guilty for indulging.
It gave me the empowerment to believe in myself and want to buy my own things when I wanted them without depending on anyone else.
5. Find some divorced friends.
You are going to need someone to talk to. When you get into another relationship, oftentimes they become your person. My boyfriend of two years is that for me now. However, my divorced girlfriends helped me through so much, and there’s no one else that understands what I’m going through like they do.
They are my sounding board and we have an unbreakable bond. Had I met them while in a relationship, I don’t know if we would have grown so close.
6. Get rid of all your ex’s stuff.
This is just something that will make you feel better. I’m not saying you have to do it before you have another partner in your house, because that’s not always practical, but the sooner it gets done, the clearer you feel.
I cleared out my ex’s closet and I set up all my handbags and hats. It made me feel super organized, and now instead of feeling sad because the closet is filled with some of his old stuff, I feel like I have some part of my life together.
Your new relationship will happen when it happens. I’m not here to say these are musts before you fall in love again, but they helped me tremendously. The whole point whenever you go through something hard is to feel it, rise from it, and take the lessons with you.
These six things helped me level up to a better version of myself so that I was in a better place when I met my boyfriend — which is a big part of the reason why I was able to move on and give him a better version of myself.