There’s no doubt about it — divorce changes your social station. Some friends drift away: they take sides, act as if your divorce is contagious, or worry that you’re going to steal their significant other. You go from a stay-at-home mom to a working mom and can no longer socialize during playdates.
Your lifestyle changes. You move to a smaller place. Luxuries such as gym memberships and regular pedicures are out of the question. You can’t afford to entertain (or so you think; more on that later) and you’re not invited to dinner parties because you lack a “plus one.” You gaze at other people’s lush vacation photos on social media – did everyone jet to Hawaii over winter break? — and wish you had the money to travel.
It seems that everywhere you look, there are reminders of your former station in life. You feel marginalized; you wonder where your “people” are and where you fit in. Don’t despair! Despite the change in your marital status, you’re still part of the human race. Here are some tips to help you reconnect and re-establish your place in the world.
Entertain more simply. You may not be able to afford hosting a cocktail party for 50, but you can certainly invite guests over for a potluck brunch. Your real friends don’t care about the size of your house, or a swanky spread. And the people who do care are not your friends anyway. The upside of entertaining on a budget? You may find that simple gatherings are more intimate.
Show up at other people’s parties. It may feel awkward attending your first social event solo, but push yourself out of your comfort zone and go. If you decline invitations because you’re embarrassed of being single, you’ll eventually be dropped from people’s guest lists. Be grateful to be included and join in on conversations.
Stay involved at your kids’ school. Don’t let judgments, either real or perceived, from married and/or stay-at-home moms keep you from volunteering at your kids’ school — especially when your children are young and still want you around! You may no longer have the time to helm a committee or spend copious hours helping with the fundraiser, but you can certainly sign up to work one-day events.
Plan activities during your ex’s visitation time. It’s common to feel lonely when your kids are with their other parent. You feel sad missing birthday parties and playdates. It seems that all your married friends are busy with their families and you don’t know what to do with long stretches of time alone. While it’s healthy to have some alone time, don’t get in the habit of isolating. Be proactive about socializing. Plan outings with single friends. If you don’t have that many, push yourself to make new ones. Suggest a get-together with other single moms at school. Go to meet-up groups for activities in which you’re interested. Get involved with causes and volunteer on the weekends you’re without your kids. Join a book group. Opportunities for human interaction are out there, so don’t use your divorce as an excuse to wallow in aloneness.
Date wisely. Some people meet “the one” soon after divorce but most need to go through a period of re-establishing their identity before they’re ready for a serious relationship, and this can take up to two years — or more. Be mindful when re-entering the dating scene. If you’re desperate for validation, it’s easy to fall into a rebound relationship with the wrong person, or get hurt by people who are just looking for a good time. Approach your re-singledhood as an opportunity to hone your dating skills and meet new people. And be savvy about dating apps before you sign up. Tinder is used primarily for hook-ups, while eHarmony is for folks shopping for serious relationships.
The best way to stay social after divorce is to re-tool your attitude. If you dwell on feeling alone, you run the risk of withdrawing from life. Think of the positives: you’re out of a marriage that didn’t work. If you share custody, you have regular breaks from the grind of childrearing. Your married friends, whom you envy, are probably envying you! So stop thinking about what you had, and focus on what you’ve got: an opportunity to bring healthy people and socializing habits into your life.
Want a divorce settlement that matches the vision you have for your life? Our skilled family law attorneys can help you reach your goals, and give you peace of mind. Please contact us today to schedule your initial attorney consultation.