So, you’ve just been through through a divorce. When permanently separating from a spouse, there is a period of adjustment where you not only begin the process of dividing up your assets, but you also begin to disseminate your thoughts and feelings on your life as a newly single person. Though it is quite normal to feel alone and even lonely after a divorce, a pet can provide both companionship and comfort for you. With whom else but a beloved dog or cat can you share the fact you noticed your former spouse has gained 30 pounds post-divorce, and it really isn’t a look that favors them? Your pet won’t judge you when you note that your ex’s new hairdo is far less than attractive or that “their” version of spaghetti definitely wasn’t “all that.” These emotions, though natural, may not be socially acceptable to share with family and friends, but your best canine or feline pal is only too happy to provide you with a non-judgmental sounding board. Can pets be the divorced person’s best friend?
Are There Benefits to Pet Ownership for Divorced People?
After a divorce, both parties need support. A dog or a cat can provide a low-pressure support system that can be a big comfort while navigating your new normal as a single person. Here are a few of the benefits to be gained by pet ownership for divorced people:
A sense of stability
The aftermath of a divorce is a time of instability and change. It takes time to establish a new normal. Pets have a daily routine that must be met each day. Feeding schedules must be maintained, and daily walks are always highly anticipated events. When the rest of your life is completely upkettled, your dog or your cat can supply the routine you need, providing you with an important stabilizing influence.
At times, you may feel as though you’d rather hole up inside your home and adopt the life of a hermit. Though this tendency is quite natural, it is beneficial for you to get out in society at least once each day. If you own a dog, the daily walks you take with him will provide you with much needed sunlight and interactions with the people in your community, offering a powerful boost for your mood.
The gift of unconditional love
After a divorce, your self-esteem may be at an all time low. Since your dog or cat loves you unconditionally, their desire to be in your presence as often as possible can be a great morale booster, helping you to feel loved.
The blessing of a trusted confidant
Whether you need a listening ear for rehashing all of the things that went wrong in your marriage or simply a sympathetic should to cry on, you’ll find it all in your pet. Dogs and cats make for very attentive listeners, making them the ideal creatures to pour out your heart to. Best of all, they don’t judge you, and they really have no choice but to keep all of your deepest and darkest secrets completely private. Better than any counsellor, your dog or cat listens to your every complaint and never thinks any less of you for it. Owning a dog or cat after a divorce offers you a powerful form of in-house therapy available to you any time you need it for only the cost of dog/cat food and a few treats.
A chance to reduce stress
It is a proven fact that pet ownership is a potent stress reliever, helping to alleviate feelings of anxiety and even depression. Having a dog or cat to share your home with provides you with a built-in companion, helping to stave off some of the feelings of loneliness. Since your pet will need daily exercise, you will need to spend some time playing with or walking your pet, both activities that help elevate your mood and improve your heart health.
The opportunity for new social interactions
If your pet of choice is a dog, you will need to spend some time walking your best canine pal every day. As you get out and about in your neighborhood, you will have opportunity to meet new people, adding friends to your social circle.
An ever-present friend
In the early days of your life as a newly single person, you can feel very lost and alone. Sharing your life with a pet provides you with a friend that is always there for you. Whether you plan to spend the night with pizza and Netflix or catching up on some household projects, your best canine or feline pal will be only too happy to tag along.
How Do Pets Provide Emotional Support After a Divorce?
Our pets have an innate sense that connects them to our emotions. Sometimes, our body language alone is sufficient to communicate to a cherished family pet that we are hurting. But more than this, most dogs are able to comprehend much of the language we use. Over time, our dogs become masters of our tone of voice and gestures. All of these things combine to help our dogs understand when we are hurting and need a little extra love and support.
Can Owning a Pet Keep Me Healthier After My Divorce?
Believe it or not, any type of domestic pet can offer you increased health benefits. From snakes and lizards to rabbits, gerbils, birds, and of course, the ever-popular dogs and cats, any pet can help you enjoy better health. Among the health benefits you can gain from adding a pet to your home are:
- Reduced chance of depression
- Lowered blood pressure
- Improved mood and sense of relaxation
- Lowered cholesterol
- Greater chance of surviving a heart attack
- Fewer doctor visits for those over age 60
One of the most beneficial effects of pet ownership for the divorced person is the ability to experience regular touching. Studies show that even inmates display improved health and behavior after enjoying some time petting and interacting with pets. The act of petting a dog or a cat has a very soothing effect on the body, helping to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Can a pet be the divorced person’s best friend? Absolutely! From acting as a sounding board when you’re feeling blue to master cuddler when relaxing on the sofa and even a walking buddy to help you get or stay in shape, the companionship of a pet is sure to help ease the transition from life as part of a couple to your newly gained single status.