It’s hard to think about divorce without immediately jumping to the expense, struggles of dealing with court, loss of a partner, custody battles, alimony or child support — the list of doom and gloom could go on and on. However, once you can get past the negatives that seem to overshadow any thought or conversation of divorce, there is a silver lining: You are now free to do many of the things you couldn’t previously do when you were married.
Long-term relationships involve sacrifice on both ends, and some of the things you enjoyed doing while single are often freely given up — sometimes without even realizing it — in order to maintain a peaceful coexistence. It is easy to dwell on all the negatives in divorce (and there are a lot), but it is much healthier to try and focus on the positives that will come out of it.
Divorce doesn’t have to be the end of your world. Chances are that you were unhappy for quite a while, and now you have a new beginning to do all the things you couldn’t while married to your ex. I asked the divorcees of Reddit “what was on their post-divorce bucket list,” and it seems that the little things can often be the most gratifying once you’re finally back out on your own. Big and small, here are some examples of what you can look forward to after the decree has been signed and the dust has settled.
“Make my new apartment feel like my home”
Perhaps you had a spouse that decorated everything their way, or maybe all their junk cluttered the place up. But now you get a fresh start to do things your way. If you want to live out of a hamper instead of folding your laundry, feel free to do so!
“Traveling to places I wanted to go”
Many couples may be stuck in this person’s boat, where all their vacation time is used to visit your spouse’s family on holidays. You are now free to use your vacation as you please. You don’t have to be rich enjoy a holiday — travel sites and Groupons can find very reasonably priced packages, not to mention there are always simple options like taking a camping or fishing trip to get away from it all for a while.
“Keeping my schedule loose”
Some people like to fly through life by the seat of their pants. When they end up with someone who is the opposite, the once free spirit is often reigned in and shackled. If you were in that situation, you are now free to wing it through life once again!
“All the food in the house is mine”
It can be very frustrating to be looking forward to the last can of your favorite soda (or beer, wine, snack — anything that you might help you through a hard day of work) only to get home and find out that someone else got to it first. On your own, you never run that risk. Now, all the money you spend on food is for things you want, and there is no concern that someone else might get to it before you.
“Reconnect with the buddies”
You start getting serious with your significant other, and slowly drift away from your friends. Sound familiar? This story plays out for many — I’d even go as far as to say most — long-term relationships. Now that you are divorced, you have an opportunity to get back together with your old friends, relive past memories and make some new ones.
“Date like a mad man”
This isn’t usually recommended, particularly shortly after a divorce. However, if you’re able to start dating without feeling less fulfilled or falling into the trap of another serious relationship, go right ahead and date away! Maybe you were always good with the ladies and it will be just like riding a bike. Even if you weren’t, try and use the life experiences you’ve had as a confidence boost since the last time you were playing the dating game.
A few quick hits
- Working out and getting into shape.
- Enjoying all the things that you like, but your ex didn’t.
- The money (or what’s left of it) is yours to manage as you please.
- You are in control of what’s on the TV.
- Have a social life.
While divorce is going to be a difficult, expensive and painful, not everything is misery for the rest of your life. If you are ever feeling down throughout the separation process, consider making your own post-divorce bucket list. Here is one final thought that can help show what a divorce can represent:
“Freedom, freedom, freedom! Savor it! Sure, it can get lonely, but if you find the right roommate, easier said than done, freedom can be a fascinating yet foreign concept. No mother, no wife, no girlfriend, no boss dictating your every move. I’m not sure men even feels comfortable with it. But try it!”
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”