After Divorce: The Rule of Three

The period after divorce is chaotic as demands fight for attention and everything seems to require a decision and an action. It’s overwhelming with its ability to impact every single facet of your life. And it’s confusing as you struggle to make the right decisions when your emotions are smothering your abilities to think rationally.

So here’s something simple. Straightforward. And yet still helpful.

I call it the rule of three.

Rule 1 – Find Something to Release

In the last few years of my first marriage, I made extra money tutoring. I spent up to 15 hours a week teaching math after my day job of teaching math. Accepting the jobs had become habit. And then the marriage ended suddenly and I had to cancel the tutoring jobs that I had while I worked to find my equilibrium.

In those weeks, I realized that tutoring was something that I no longer wanted to do. In addition to becoming a habit, it had become a burden. A drain on my energy and attitude. And so I let it go. And I immediately felt a little better.

Divorce is an opportunity to examine what is in your life and to discard that which no longer serves you. Find one thing that you’re doing out of habit, out of concern for how others see you or because you feel like you “should” do it. And then release it.

Rule 2 – Find Something to Reintroduce

My ex hated the smell of pancake syrup and bubble gum. And so out of respect for him, I eliminated these foods (okay, food-like compounds) from my diet.

After he left, I found that frozen waffles were one of the few foods that I could choke down. With plenty of syrup, of course. And I enthusiastically chewed the pinkest, fruitiest bubble gum within the confines of the car.

Identify something that you have let go of or allowed to slide from your life that you used to enjoy. What have you eliminated because of time, responsibilities or because of your ex? Find it and then reintroduce it.

Rule 3 – Find Something New to Try

I have always been a doer. I struggle with slowing down and simply being. A few months after my marriage ended, I decided to challenge the view I had of myself and I booked a three night meditation and yoga retreat. To add to the test, I left all of my books – my preferred method of escape – behind.

It was a difficult few days, but it was also a transformative and incredibly powerful experience. I met a fear head-on, shook its hand and discovered that it wasn’t so bad after all.

Reflect on those things that you have told yourself that you “can’t do” or “won’t do.” And then pick one and try it.

 

So that’s it, the rule of three –

One to free in order to create space,

One to bring back to help you reconnect to self

And one to investigate to teach you to be curious rather than afraid.

 

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11 thoughts on “After Divorce: The Rule of Three

  1. I also did these three things without even realizing there was a method – it must be like the stages of grief: universal. And I do feel more like myself than I have in years – less anxious, more relaxed, happy and grounded.

  2. That’s interesting that this seems like a universal thing. Just like the two previous commenters, I also did all three. Although it seems like I am doing the third one over and over again, just for good measures 😜

      1. One of the first things I tried was rock climbing. I am a bit afraid of heights, so I thought it was a perfect thing to do 😊 My next adventure includes having quit my job and embarking on my own journey. Time to change things up completely and listen to the voice that has been wanting me to follow my own path for a long time.

  3. I did these things, too, like letting the dogs on the couch and in bed with me. But it would have made it easier to have this list. Reassurance.

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