Help during the early days of divorce cannot be underestimated. Divorce numbers rise post-holidays and if you are now getting divorced, please know this, you are not alone, even if you feel isolated and locked in a private world of pain.
According to the Office for National Statistics around 40% of all marriages in England and Wales sadly end in divorce. With applications reaching their peak in the post-holiday periods. So, if you are staring into the school year ahead, feeling a tsunami of uncertainty heading towards you and about to go through the process of divorce, there is help and support out there. You may be bombarded with lots of information and uncertain of which way to turn, this is normal… there really is no standard blueprint of the how to’s and what to do’s in all of this. For info on my private FB group see the link at the end of my blog.
I had a look back at our summer holiday road trip through France that began, rather than ended, in us agreeing to divorce. It all came hurtling back; all the stuff we buried in order to stick a holiday plaster on our marital stretchmarks. The fresh morning croissants, spending endless summer days together and a cheeky early evening French red, was in reality, sadly too late.
I want to share with you my honest thoughts and tips from this time, that I wished I’d known, to help you move forward – even if it all feels slow…
Firstly, I get it, it hurts this divorce business. It hurts, emotionally, mentally and physically and I would urge you to begin to slowly accept that this is how it is going to feel for a while. Through accepting something is happening to us allows us let go of the resistance to the changes happening (even if we don’t agree) and things can become easier. Although it is most likely going to be harder for you if it wasn’t your choice to divorce, you may be struggling to accept it is over and you feel you had no choice. Divorce is not a walk in the park despite what some social commentators may say and whether you decide to have a good or bad divorce, this time will be demanding of you to dig deep into parts of you, you never realised existed. Divorce is scary and yes it hurts. And, unless you have dinosaur hide, accept if you can your vulnerability, the uncertainty of it all and truly believe that you will be alright.
Each divorce is different
For many clients I have worked with, there is this sense of wanting to “get a divorce as soon as possible and then move on”. Of course there is, it is unthinkable that you want to be hanging around longer in this process than necessary. You yourself may know others whose divorce was quicker or maybe longer and you DON’T want to be that couple. If you can work together – (important for obvious reasons) to project manage yourselves through your divorce, then I recommend you do. So you, your children and those you love can live through this process with as little conflict, trauma and financial fallout as possible. Listen to your innermost thoughts or gut instinct? Where do you feel bad decisions in your body? How does your body feel when the right one is made? Listen to what feels right for you. If I had listened to some of the well-intentioned advice (which was born out of others fears) I would not have had divorce that we did. Trust you’ve got your own back.
I don’t feel so strong
Welcome to the part of your life where you learn strength, resilience and reconnect to who you really are. Every time you don’t feel so strong take some time out to nurture yourself, eat well, lay off the booze if needed, get some sleep, download a meditation app , exercise. You are always wearing your big pants even when you don’t feel like it or with divorce head frazzlement going on, you’ve forgotten you have them. Self-care or self-love – even when you feel too exhausted to think about you is going to help you stay strong emotionally, mentally and physically. It may just be a hot bath or a walk outside, eating a healthy snack or speaking to a friend. For more ways to practice self-love after breakup check out this article on Medium.
Begin to change your thoughts early on
A great way to stop the mind monkeys from completely ruling your thoughts with the negative divorce victim pity party is to begin the practice of gratitude. Something that may feel far, far away from how you are thinking. A simple way to practice is before you go to sleep is to thank three people who made a positive difference to your day – this could be a smile from a stranger, your neighbour checking in or a call from a friend. Next, think of three things you are grateful for; it may be your pet, your children, your health, food in your tummy, hot water to bathe in or your now big bed for one. As you get into the habit you begin to alter the automatic ‘go-to’ place of your thoughts from the negative to the positive, you sleep better, ending a possibly bad day on a more gentler happier note. For this and other helpful ways to support you through this you can download My 5 Secret Divorce Tips here.
What about the children?
I am a great believer in honesty. Children’s radars are spot on, they might not know or understand exactly what is happening between you and your partner, but they will be feeling it. Telling your children is never going to be without pain, but it can be without anger and an opportunity to define how you want your divorce to be. Sitting your children down and you both, together, explain to them what is happening, what may happen in the future and using this important conversation as a definitive intention for you as co-parents moving forward. As a child of divorced parents, I wanted to know that there was still love (not in love) between my parents, that they were going to be kind to each other and us, and that we would be okay. Reassurance is key as The Divorce Magazine article on helping children through divorce says:
“Some of the concerns that your children might have about your divorce might not be things that you, as an adult, will have considered. Young children might worry about seemingly small things, such as whether they will have toys at both parents’ houses, as well as larger things, including how much they’ll see both parents and other family members. Teens might be wondering whether they’ll still be able to stay at the same school, whether they need to move house and whether there will be financial problems.”
This too shall pass
Divorce overwhelm can feel like forever, like this complicated, painful and difficult period of your life will never end. Try to adopt a sense of acceptance of the processes that need to happen such as gathering documents, mediation and deconstruction of your married life. As well that some parts including your partner’s actions may take longer than others. Remember you cannot do anything about how your Ex speaks, acts or what they think about you and your divorce. However, you always have a choice about how you act, speak and think towards them and the process. I used to see each day as a birth contraction – once it had happened it was gone. Although the end result is a divorce which may not have been what you wanted, the process does end and you have the opportunity to choose whether you wish to rebirth your life beyond it.
Finally, I cannot express strongly enough the benefit of being compassionate, supportive and helpful to each other through your divorce – and this, of course, can be hard – the whole thing is, but kindness is the divorce difference.
PS Feel free to join our Facebook Divorce Goddess® Group. There you can share where you are, get and give support to others 🙂 and remember to answer the 3 questions.
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