Divorce Survival Flowchart

When I found myself suddenly single with no prior experience dealing with break-ups, I initially turned to books for ideas on how to heal.  The books had no end of suggestions, but they were buried in pages and pages of text that I simply could not manage to wade through at that time.  I needed a simple fix, something that would tell me what to do that didn’t require a full-night’s sleep or a full mental capacity to understand.  I created a version of the flowchart below to help me get through those early days, weeks, and months.  Maybe it can help you too.

I’d love to hear what you do or have done when you find yourself in these moods.  What would be on your flowchart?

Thank you for sharing!

16 thoughts on “Divorce Survival Flowchart

  1. An excellent book for this stage is, “How To Survive the Loss of A Love”. Colgrove is one of the authors.
    I call it a book to cry with. It has both info on grief and poems expressing feelings. Written in short, easy way that fits the beginning shock and numbness, when it is difficult for the mind to function.

  2. Lisa, you have such a unique perspective – I wish I had this flowchart three months ago! Like you, I had a stack of highly-recommended books but my ability to focus and process was so impaired – which is why your blog was just what I needed at that time. I had to stop cooking for awhile because I would forget I had something on the stove until the smoke alarm started screaming!
    It was just after the winter holidays when I became “suddenly single” so outdoor options were limited and my odd work hours often don’t coordinate with my friends’ more standard schedules. When I was sad and/or lonely, I would go to local antique/vintage stores, bookstores and garden centers with indoor greenhouses. Most of these were staffed by the owners and they would almost always be happy to chat about what they sell and their passion for it. Plus, these are kinds of places where other customers are comfortable striking up a conversation with a stranger. The greenhouses were a mini tropical vacation of sorts – warm, humid, green, scented, birds chirping. My wanderings during this awkward time resulted in several new friendships and the possibility of a new career path.

    1. I used to wander stores too. It felt good to make these “single-serving friends” (a la Fight Club) who knew nothing about my situation. That is awesome that you have made true friends and career opportunities from those early explorations.

  3. Haven’t thought much about it in recent years but I’d say for awhile the best I could do was simply to go through the motions of daily life. One foot in front of the other with no end in sight at the time. No pressure on myself to force anything to happen before I was ready. Then I tried to find enjoyment in things I once enjoyed only now not as half of a couple but as a whole single person. Some of what ‘we’ had done together are still some of what ‘I’ enjoy today.
    In my case dog training became a focal point. It was social to the extent of interation with others having a similar interest and a reason to travel in order to enter various events. I learned teamwork. There was a sense of validation and recognition in our accomplishments. In retrospect I’d say it was more about the journey than the destination, IMHO.

    1. It was the journey for me too, but when I realized I would be spending quite a bit of time “journeying,” I knew I needed destinations along the way.

      1. Funny you mention that as I am about to reach a ‘destination’ then begin a new ‘sojourn’. Retirement is looming so I will get a boat with intentions of cruising the Florida coast. It is all about the experience of no particular place to be.
        I hope mine is a salty dog, sea sickness is no fun for man or beast

  4. I recently found a great little book, which I gave to a friend, called “Things To Do Now That You’re Single Again.” It sounds trite, but I love it. There are good little uplifting reminders, great ideas of ways to take care of yourself as you’re dealing with stress and grief, and the pages and chapters are really short and crisp and easy to read when, as Karen mentioned above, you can’t focus well or retain much. It gives you great, small-bite ways to feel that you’re making progress and working on your new life, because all the big stuff feels so overwhelming at that time. I wish I’d had it when I was divorcing, but I’ve had it on my bedside table since James and I broke up in December. It’s dog-earred now. 🙂

  5. Good flow chart. I am not into yoga (yet) – as many of yours end there with good results. But I definitely agree – make it simple to focus on new things by stating your intentions. For me stage one was get informed. I could focus a lot on texts and books in the beginning, but now I am yearning for activity. I took your advice on learning to cook and tonight made my kids a healthy, easy recipe from the Ap by Georgie Fear I downloaded from your link to her blog. I am going to attempt to learn the guitar next. I volunteered last weekend and accomplished something great this week through that. Joined Meetup. Etc. All great things to get your mind off the fear, anger & depression. Thank you again!

  6. I think this one needs to read: Survival Chart. It applies to Everyone ….
    Under each one, I suggested: Take a big deep breath.
    Under angry, I often clean (attack dirt/clutter)

    1. So true – this does apply regardless of what is causing the stress.
      I wished I cleaned under duress; my room would have been immaculate that first year:)

  7. smommy – I am a single mom, by choice. I decided to separate from my husband and an unhappy marriage over three years ago. My son was two at the time. I am pretty much raising my kid on my own with occasional support of my family when I need it. (I don't like to admit I need it, ever!) My soon to be ex-husband (STBX) is an alcoholic and after we separated and he moved back to San Francisco, he became a drug addict also. Life is a struggle, but a sweet one since I have this awesome boy and we love each other sooooo much! Now, if I could magically be divorced, that would be great...but alas, I cannot force him to sign the documents. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there are moments when it seems so far away and unreachable.
    smommy says:

    That’s a great idea…I’m totally adopting that survival chart. Thanks! Needed this.

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