Going through a divorce is probably one of the most gut-wrenching experiences a person can go through. This article focuses on strategies that should ease some of the pain, and should make it possible to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel!
One of the hardest realizations that people going through divorces have to come to terms with is accepting that the person they once shared their hopes and dreams with has now become their adversary. The manner in which both parties confront their differences greatly impacts the intensity of their adjustment and the difficulties they will face going forward. This article has been designed to highlight important steps you can take to make a significant difference in your adjustment to your divorce.
1. Grieve and vent as much as you need to, but then take the time to learn from what you've been through. The divorce involves two people, so it is important to honestly appraise your role in the break-up, rather than solely and narrow-mindedly blaming your spouse. The more you explore the issues that compromised your marriage, the more you will learn about yourself. The insights you gain should pay huge dividends as you go forward in your life.
2. Reach out to trusted friends and loved ones. These are the ones who will sustain you through this tough time. However, make sure to treat these relationships with care. These people are not obligated to be there for you. They want to be there for you. Show your appreciation by paying close attention to their needs as well, and don't take advantaage. Your loved ones will readily show their support if you are considerate of their feelings and schedules. make sure to ask regularly about what's going on with them! While no one expects you to always put on a "happy face" during this time, be careful of being so negative that your loved ones dread your call.
3. Focus on your kids' needs as much as your own. Your children did not ask to have their lives turned upside down. Be sensitive to the impact that the divorce will have on their lives. Even though you are in tremendous pain, do your best to maintain the continuity and structure of your children's routines. We understand that you will need to vent and cry. Try to do your grieving when the kids are not with you, so that you can be as emotionally available to them as you can.
4. Build a support network for yourself. Now is the time to reach out for the support of trusted friends and family. However, getting involved with a supportive group of people going through the same experiences can be enormously helpful. Spending time with other people who are also going through a divorce also can be key to defining yourself as newly single and becoming comfortable with this role. Your local Y or community center might offer a divorce group for people in your community. Divorce coaches offer individual and group coaching as well.
5.Make sure that you get the best legal representation that you can afford. Get several references, especially from people who have personally been represented by this attorney. It is frightening to put your faith in your lawyer, and to put your life into his/her hands. Interview several, and if a trusted family member or friend can come with you it might help. The person you bring with you might ask questions you don't think of or are too intimidated to ask. Also, they might be able to remember things that you don't or have another perspective about which attorney to hire.
6. There are some marital situations that lend themselves very well to mediation. Adversarial litigation is financially costly and usually emotionally draining, so in those instances where mediation can be effective, you and your spouse may be spared a heavy toll. Mediation might be effective if:
a. You believe that it is possible for you and your spouse to sit together in a room and reasonably discuss your differences.
b. Your assets are straightforward (in other words, you do not have multiple, complicated business dealings to divide and you both have a similar idea in mind about how to divide your wealth.)
c. You are largely in agreement about how you will divide custody arrangements, and can reasonably co-parent. If this is the case, you might be able to mediate a settlement that will suit the well-being and interest of your children.
7. Decide to take the high road. Although you are understandably hurt and angry, there is no benefit to you or your children to bad-mouth your ex-spouse. Not only does it make everyone around you uncomfortable, it compromises your healing and adjustment and keeps you in a negative place.
The life you build for yourself after your divorce is up to you. You have a choice to either move beyond the hurt and pain or to stay stuck in a bitter, angry place. The choice is yours!
Linda Lipshutz, M.S., ACSW knows how devastating divorce can be for you and your children. She has spent her career helping individuals and their families move through this difficult stage while maintaining their dignity and sanity! You are invited to learn more about Linda by visiting her website, Lifesmartscoaching.com
and click onto the link to Divorcesmarts, the page devoted to divorce issues. You are also invited to sign up for her two free newsletters, both designed to discuss difficult relationship issues. One issue is just for singles. To sign up, click the newsletter sign-up links on the website.