Sometimes you have days of introspection when you reflect on your life, and how things come full circle. You wonder if you made the right decisions, taken the right paths, are raising your kids the right way and what you may have missed along the way. This weekend was full of those types of thoughts for me, and I started thinking a lot about what I learned post-divorce that enabled me to move forward.
If you are in the throes of a relationship, wondering what is going to happen next, these lessons may be helpful to you too.
1. You will be happy again. Divorce ranks in the top 3 of the most stressful things that can happen in your life. Being with someone who you thought you would be with forever and whether it ends amicably or non-amicably is just freakin hard. There is no way to describe investing your emotions, time and efforts with someone and watching it fall around you suddenly. And this occurs even if the signs were there. Even if you were fighting and not communicating with one another. It doesn’t matter. Not being with someone you love and shared so many memories, children, and experiences with is utterly devastating.
Divorce Tip #1 – Divorce is difficult. It is a process in which you make some difficult discoveries. As you go through your divorce, focus on the whys of the divorce. In other words, look at how the divorce will help you to get to the next step and phase of your life. What will be some of the benefits? How will you live your life differently? When you decide to have your next relationship how can you love in a way that fosters a successful relationship? Changing the narrative of your divorce in your mind and refocusing away from the pain in your heart and mind is the first step to divorce recovery. Journal and jot down three things you learn about yourself and your divorce daily. Use this as a form of self-reflection. Get out those feelings in black and white and in this process you will also see your progression.
2. Fight fair, but don’t lose yourself in the divorce. Divorce brings out some scary sides of people. You will see sides of yourself and your soon to be ex-spouse that was not exhibited in your relationship or that may be more amplified. People going through the divorce may become anxiety ridden, others controlling, greedier and others may even have mental breakdowns. Take a deep breath and pause. Your life will be different. But, you will discover that you are strong and resilient. Yes, you deserve things. You shouldn’t compromise completely. But, don’t get so caught up in the financial fight of a divorce that you lose and compromise all of your values. Fight fair. Do your research. Hire a forensic financial consultant if you have to do so. But, don’t do to an extent where it causes irreparable damage to your soon to be ex-spouse and your kids. These are actions which cannot be undone.
Divorce Tip #2 – When you are married, you may get use to a certain standard of living. Yes, you deserve to live well. And when people divorce they have different reactions to the process of changing their lifestyle. Get what you deserve. Secure yourself and your kids. But, don’t do things to such an extreme that will permanently destroy your family. If you have children in common, you will still have to interact with your partner with decisions related to your kids. Don’t allow the ending of your marriage to be one in which your children suffer in such a way that it impacts their future. Remember, your kids are watching carefully, and you are influencing decisions they will model in their future relationships.
3. Look at each new day as a new adventure. When I first got divorced, I felt lost. When you are with someone for so long, you take for granted how much they are a part of your life. At first, it’s difficult to adjust to living and operating on your own. If you have kids, this journey can be even more challenging. But some pluses will come into your life post-divorce too. You get to make decisions on your own. You can plan and take a trip if you would like to do so. You will have some downtime from your kids if you share custody. It’s all perspective. While your life will not mirror your married life, you will have some other advantages that you may not have had while you were married.
Divorce Tip #3 – Divorce is a great teacher. Statistics say once you divorce once your chances of long-term success in 2nd and 3rd marriages decline significantly. And I think I have figured out the reason why this is the case. You get smarter and make quicker decisions about getting out of unhealthy relationships. You realize you don’t have to stay in something that is not working or doesn’t serve you well. It’s called self-care. Once you have experienced a relationship that doesn’t work and have lived through that once, you are less likely to live through it again. But, on the other hand, when you find a partnership that works, you value that relationship much more because of going through a difficult one. So, divorce while a painful lesson can help you to create a better relationship in the future.
Divorce is hard. But having an understanding of what to expect prepares you for some of the emotions and setbacks you will feel in the process. It is a grieving process similar to what we experience when we lose someone we love to death. But, the beauty of it, is that we can learn from the process, treasure what was also good about that experience of being married and take it with us to create better future experiences. Now that you have some tips to help you successfully cope with divorce, realize that you will survive.
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