By Laura Lifshitz
Whether you realize it or not, you formulated bad habits during your broken marriage that need to be left behind. We’ve all seen it: people get divorced or break up, and they carry that heavy baggage with them, bringing along a boatload of issues to the next relationship. We can’t completely ignore the fact that our experiences do shape us, but we can let go of certain bad behaviors and habits from our past in order to transition to a healthier future.
If you’ve dusted yourself off after your divorce and want to have a happier future, here are some bad habits to ditch from here on out.
Believing You Are A Victim
Yes, your ex could have been abusive or manipulative. Yes, your ex may have lied and had an affair. These are both horrible things, and difficult to recover from.
However, you are not a victim. You got out of the situation and while you may still have to deal with this person, you need to view yourself as empowered and not a victim. You need to see yourself as having options and being in charge of your destiny. You chose to marry the wrong person. Accept this, and move on knowing you will choose better the next time.
Living In Constant Anger
When your spouse cheated or shortchanged you and the kids, you were angry while married. Or, there were things your spouse did that were hurtful during the marriage and you felt bitter about it.
Now you’ve left this person…isn’t it time to set the anger aside?
What does being angry prove? What does it do to help you in your life?
It doesn’t. No matter what your partner did wrong then and no matter how bad of an ex he or she is now, being angry isn’t going to get you anywhere. If you want to move forward, accept who this person is and move along. Let it go.
Assuming The Worst In Each Romantic Candidate
Just because one person broke your heart doesn’t mean everyone else got a memo to do your heart in, too.
Don’t post your drama, heartache or skepticism online. Don’t rattle on about it during a date.
Start fresh. Keep your eyes out for red flags. Respect yourself and hold the bar high.
You’ve got to do whatever it takes to raise your own self-esteem and not settle.
Lowering Yourself & Settling
You most likely compromised yourself when you married your former partner in some way. Whether it was ignoring red flags or perhaps tolerating bad behavior, you weren’t getting what you deserved.
Maybe you were worried you would never get married, and rushed. Maybe you felt this was what you deserved. Maybe you were worried you would end up alone.
In any event, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to raise your own self-esteem and not settle.
See a therapist. Join a gym. Join a support group. Listen to podcasts of women going through divorce for inspiration. Meditate. Yoga. Dance.
Whatever you have to do to build your confidence, do it!
You cannot afford to lower your standards and choose a bad partner again.
Recalling Old Fights & Injuries
One bad habit I see many people doing in each relationship is holding onto each and every fight or bad word that was said. If someone is abusive, you should just leave the person. Otherwise, every relationship will go through low periods. When the fights happen, you have to resolve them and then, move on. Don’t recall them constantly and remind your partner of everything they’ve ever done wrong since date one. Just resolve the conflict, forgive and move forward. Too many people go tit for tat, turning their love into a big gaping black hole of complaints. Don’t go there.
Relying On Someone For Everything OR Letting Someone Rely On You For Everything
It’s common for one person to be codependent in a bad marriage. Whether you were the one clinging on or your ex-spouse was, set that bad habit free.
You must be independent enough to take care of yourself no matter what. Even in a healthy marriage, what if your spouse passes before you? You must take care of you and it’s unfair to rely on one person to be your everything in life. No one single human being can be everything to you with all of your vast emotional and intellectual needs.
On the other side if you were the one doing everything and being clung to, why did you find it necessary to be with someone who depended on you? Do you need to be in control? Is your self-esteem low and you need to feel “needed?”
Whatever the case is, walk into your future either free of codependency or free from letting others be codependent on you. The best way to do this is through being in therapy and committing yourself to making constant small, daily changes to progress forward. Codependency is not a habit you can break overnight.
Beating yourself up isn’t cool or tough. It’s destructive.
I see many people exiting bad marriages with feelings of self-doubt and low self-esteem. A bad marriage can do that to you. It’s up to you to be aware of your self-talk, by:
Noting what type of things you tell yourself. Are they slanted positively like, “I can get through this?” or negatively, like “I am not good enough or capable.”
Being aware of the thoughts that roll in when you are stressed. Do you default to the negative?
Watching and listening to your social group. Do they speak positively about themselves? About you? Surround yourself with positive people.
No matter where you stand in your life journey after divorce, make it a habit to evaluate your behaviors, feelings and choices regularly in order to constantly progress as a person. Journal your behaviors if you need to as well. You can’t go back to the past for it will only end up repeating a bad situation.
About the Author
Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated writer, comedienne, single mother and chocolate fanatic. A former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate, you can find her work in many places, like the New York Times, DivorceForce, Mom.Me, Women’s Health, Worthy, Working Mother and numerous other sites. Follow her on Facebook and her own website, frommtvtomommy.com.