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4 Destructive Behaviors Common to Post-Divorce Recovery

The period of time shortly following your divorce can be one of the most vulnerable points that you face in your recovery. This is where you’ll be the most tempted to let go of healthy choices and give in to bad decisions. But being aware of destructive behaviors can give you the best chance to avoid them. Here are four of the most common. If you can keep these out of your life, you’ll be in a great position.

1. Substance abuse

Many divorcees — particularly the ones not wanting out of the marriage — will use alcohol and other substances as a way of self-medicating when the papers are finalized. Unfortunately, a dependency can develop, and from there, it can turn into full-on addiction, affecting relationships as well as physical and psychological health.

2. Fighting with your ex

Once the divorce is final, there is no reason to keep dredging up the past with your ex, especially when you don’t have any children to keep you linked to one another. If you do have kids, you can still take steps to parent your child without bringing old arguments into play. Limit potential conflicts by conducting co-parenting decisions and interactions via email or text message.

3. Bad-mouthing your ex to the kids

Remember that every bad thing you say about your ex in front of your child is an attack on the child as well. That may not be how it seems to you, but it is to them. The fact that your child comes from both you and your ex, is not lost on them, and they’re superb at making connections — even connections you didn’t intend for them to make. Doing this can also lead to the No. 2 destructive behavior above.

4. Not taking care of yourself

Beyond substance abuse, other ways that you can self-destruct include not eating right, not exercising, and just exercising general apathy for life in general. These “sins of omission,” so to speak, can affect future relationships, work opportunities, and your overall mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, or worse.

What are some things that you have the most difficulty with now that your divorce is final? Are there any demons that you’ve been able to overcome? Share your journey in our comments section.


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