There are two types of frontier women in life after divorce. The first one knew there was struggle and challenges in her marriage. She did everything she could to save the marriage but said it was over and got a divorce. But then there is the second type of woman who didn’t see it coming. She was blind-sighted, and that makes it even more difficult than divorce already is. And now she is standing out in the open – alone, scared, and without supplies or tools to make her way through this new, unfamiliar frontier.
The Single Woman Frontier looks very different for these two women.
I call it a frontier because some days can feel like the Wild, Wild West, and you don’t know if you are going to get out alive. And if you are the second type of woman and don’t have the divorce trauma tools and supplies you need to make it, well that life after divorce is going to be harder for you, as opposed to the first woman who had time to prepare and process some emotions prior to this new journey.
Let’s take a look at what the Single Woman Frontier looks like.
Life After Divorce: Doing it All Alone
So now you’re tackling everything solo. From making decisions to going places, fixing broken toilets, getting your own health insurance, and dealing with family issues…solo. Or it could be something as simple as fastening a bracelet with your one free hand, and everyone knows how hard that can be! Even if your marriage wasn’t the ideal partnership, you still had someone else there to bounce things off of or do basic tasks with. And when you’re doing all of the day-to-day minutiae on your own, it can become exhausting. It can feel overwhelming. You may even experience decision fatigue. In fact, decision fatigue and feeling overwhelmed from doing it all alone are probably the first part of the Single Woman Frontier that you will experience.
Going to Sleep Alone
Nighttime has a way of making women in the Single Woman Frontier feel some type of way. There you are lying in bed, in the dark, thinking about this or that. Thinking becomes overthinking, which leads you down a rabbit hole of worry:
- “How will I get to sleep?” or
- “What if I need to go to the hospital?
- Who will I call?”
The night can be a lonely place, a difficult place for a single woman. When I was navigating the Single Woman Frontier, I found myself nervously looking behind shower curtains and texting exes I should not have been texting, looking for a false sense of security.
Learning New Things on Your Own
While some parts of the Single Woman Frontier can be overwhelming during life after divorce, they can also feel intoxicating. Whether you’re gaining control over your finances or learning how to use those power tools, when you are on your own and you are figuring out how to do all those things, it can feel amazing to know you no longer need him to do it for you. The power that comes with learning something totally foreign, like fixing that toilet, can really give you a confidence boost and feel empowering.
You are going to have time to yourself. This is a great time to start a new hobby or pick up a new skill. I started my business after my divorce. I have seen women go from the couch to running marathons and triathlons. How transformational is that?! Accomplish something new, do something you never thought you would have done.
Get started now. Make a list of all the things you’d like to do or would like to try. Then pick one and schedule it. It could be as simple as taking a cooking class or joining a walking group. Whatever it is, you can do it.
When you’re filling out personnel forms at work or in a doctor’s office, having to check the box for Single or Divorced and noting your emergency contact can be triggering, painful reminders of the end of your marriage and can reinforce your loneliness. If you can’t put immediate family down as your emergency contacts because they live far away (or maybe you simply don’t want to), then who will you put on that form? You have to be ready for this because it will come up when you least expect it. So go ahead and think about it now.
Get Out There and Enjoy Your Life
Your attitude will dictate the process of healing after divorce and how hard this process will be for you. And one thing that is really difficult is getting out there, but you have to open your circle.
- Say yes when people invite you to go for a walk, make plans, connect with people.
- Do not try to do it all alone.
- Meet new people that you wouldn’t run into on a day-to-day basis.
I know you might think I can do this on my own. But don’t be too self-reliant. Being overly self-reliant is actually a trauma response; it stems from having to be too responsible as a young child. Ask for help where you need it and from those with healthy habits.
- Go out and join groups where you can experience joy with others.
- Create new relationships, take a class, join the church, ALANON, women’s therapy group…go where you will have support.
- Go to places where people have transformed. I have a Facebook group for women and a private membership community for women to talk and share. We love on each other. You need to be loved on.
- Surround yourself with people who love you and will support you, people who will offer you, unconditional love. Say YES.
Wild West Relationships
Experiencing life after divorce, I was seriously wondering if a healthy relationship is really real. I was incredibly cynical about a future relationship. I was on the hunt for a healthy relationship, but it felt more like I was chasing a Yeti.
We all have the desire to be touched. We want to be sexual beings, but we don’t want to be hurt again. I get it. Even if you don’t think you want to date, we are hardwired for closeness, hugs, and sexuality, all while being single and not wanting our hearts to break again. It is a tricky place in the Single Woman Frontier. No matter where you are in your journey, these needs are going to pop up.
Most people back off their self-care when they think they have made progress and start to feel better. But we can’t do that with our divorce trauma healing. We will jump in too fast. Keep working on yourself, and you will know when you are ready to dive into this part of the frontier. I made a lot of mistakes when I was going through this myself, but it brought me greater awareness about myself and what next steps I had to take. We need to not shame each other but create a safe space to talk about this together.
Listen, the frontier can look scary and way too wild sometimes. However, there are many frontier women who have been where you are in their life after divorce and made it through. Be sure you look to those frontier women with healthy habits and those who have transformed. And if you find yourself bitter and resentful about having to do hard things, I want you to flip that attitude. You can work through your resentment on him but don’t carry that resentment in your new transformation life. Let’s make it empowering and not painful.
Create your own life after divorce. You can do this. This is your invitation from me to stick with it.
I can’t wait to do it alongside you.