Why it's scary: Even if you initiated the split, or totally agreed to it, the reality can sometimes feel like you've lost a limb. Habits and daily routines once dictated or influenced by another adult are now up for grabs. "After my first marriage ended, I felt like I was suddenly living in a vacuum," says McCarthy, who was inspired to write her book when she realized how much her resistance to new things had tainted not only her marriage, but also other relationships.
How to deal: Refuse to let fear or anger dominate you. "If you're caught up in being a victim, you can't gain any kind of wisdom or take responsibility for creating your best life, because part of you is still locked in the past," says Borysenko. "Once you realize you have no choice but to change, many interesting things can start to happen." Now's the right time to lean on your support group—even if you have to invent one first. "I made a list of all the people I could call and get together with," says McCarthy. "I felt stronger and safer knowing I had lots of people I could turn to."
Instant sanity-saver: Exploit your new freedom. Try things you've always wanted to do but couldn't or didn't get around to while you were married. Sign up for a pottery class, join a hiking club, or audition for a community theater production.