Divorce is a major life upheaval. Even if yours was amicable, you lost someone very significant in your life, and you lost a version of yourself, too. It’s normal to feel heartbreak or grief, even if you know it was the right decision. But as you begin to pick up the pieces and move on with your life, you may find a number of benefits of being single that you weren’t expecting.
Society likes to paint marriage as the be-all and end-all of happiness, but the truth is that singledom may hold just as much, if not more, joy for you. Too often we equate being single with being alone, when that does not have to be the case.
Rising divorce rates are often viewed as a worrying sign of the times. But we think that more people finding the courage to leave unhappy marriages is something to celebrate. Here are a few more things to celebrate about post-divorce life.
5 Benefits of Being Single After Divorce
More Time For Friends
Far from spending all their time moping at home, the average single person actually has a more active social life than the average married person. Although the societal narrative tends to be single = alone = lonely, the truth may actually be the opposite. According to a study, single individuals are more likely to stay in touch with, and give and receive help from family, friends, and even neighbors.
If you think about it, you probably didn’t need a scientific study to tell you that. Couples do tend to get stuck in their own little bubbles. Simply put, if you have someone who is always there, it’s easier to turn to them for everything than to keep in contact with all your friends. When you’re single, you’ll find you have lots more time to reconnect with old friends, deepen valuable relationships, and even forge new connections.
The old adage is corny but rings true. Your most important relationship is with yourself.
After spending years in the same intimate relationship, your sense of self is likely to have become entangled with your partner. After a divorce, it’s natural to feel a bit untethered and unsure of who you are. But this is actually a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with your authentic self, make independent decisions, and learn about who you have become over the years.
In the early days after a divorce, it can be tempting to fill up all your free time with lots of activities and social plans. And while it’s great to reconnect with your friends, try to keep some time for you to just be with yourself. Go for walks on your own, take yourself on solo dates, put on some loud music and dance in the kitchen, and embrace your inner dialogue.
You may even find yourself discovering new tastes in music, movies, or books that your married self would not have considered. The just-divorced phase can be confusing and tumultuous, but we say embrace the chaos. Accept the fact that you are changing and give yourself time to get a bit lost—you may just find yourself.
Becoming More Self-Reliant
Rediscovering yourself, making your own decisions, doing things by yourself—these are all things that will help you trust yourself more and become more self-reliant. The degree to which this is true depends on the type of marriage you had, but it’s normal for married couples to depend on each other in various ways. It can even get to the point where you get stuck in a rut, avoiding learning new things because your partner can do them.
Whether it’s changing a tire, devising a monthly budget, or poaching an egg, sooner or later in your single life, you are likely to be faced with a challenge that you have to attempt by yourself for the first time. Facing such challenges can actually help boost your confidence and your trust in yourself, which can make you stronger and happier in the long run.
This is not to say that you should only rely on yourself: family and friends are a vital support network post-divorce and you should not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. But as you work your way through all the little challenges in your newly single life, you’ll find yourself discovering capabilities in yourself that you didn’t even know existed.
Follow That Long-Lost Passion
When people get married, it’s common for their interests to converge and for them to leave behind some of the passions of their younger lives. Especially if you have kids, you probably haven’t had time to keep up your hobbies even if you wanted to. After your divorce is the perfect time to rediscover old pastimes. Why not dust off that old guitar, easel, or surfboard and see if the passion is still there?
If you don’t have an old hobby you want to pick up, now could also be a great time to try new things and find a fresh passion. Maybe you have always wanted to try martial arts, learn to play the piano, or get into baking. And don’t worry if you don’t find something you love immediately. Like we said before, this is a time for embracing the chaos. Tinker, try new things, go out of your comfort zone. You have the time for it.
If you are a cuddler, you may find the first while sleeping alone quite difficult. However, on the whole, single people actually sleep better than their married counterparts. The reason is simple—whether it’s due to your partner snoring, rolling around in bed, or getting up to go to the bathroom, couples experience more sleep interruptions than people who sleep alone. So get ready for many hours of blissfully uninterrupted slumber!
On top of that, say goodbye to arguments about sides of the bed, alarms, the number of blankets, and whether the door stays open or closed. As a single person, you get to make all the decisions, and if that means sleeping like a starfish across your double bed, so be it.
Even if your divorce has been far from easy, it can help to look on the lighter side and identify the positives. In time, you’ll heal, and you may even feel ready to start dating again. Or you may find that the benefits of single life suit you, and you’d prefer to enjoy them a little longer.
Do whatever is right for you. If you find yourself struggling, it’s never too late to seek counseling to help you through.
As an editor, Ellen Klein covers topics such as financial management and risk management, as well as health-related topics. She’s a realist and believes that planning for life’s unknowns is best. When she’s not busy with volunteer social work, she can be found scribbling away at her keyboard.