Divorce is one of the most agonizing and painful experiences a person can experience. When most people marry, they do so with the intention of “forever” in mind and, when this foundation to the future collapses, feelings of sadness, anger, despair and, in some cases, helplessness or guilt, can emerge.
Getting through a divorce is not easy. It is during this time where critical decisions must often be made, but due to emotional conflicts or outright aggression with the soon-to-to-be-ex, this can make for muddy waters. When emotions run high it is sometimes hard to think logically or clearly.
Focusing on being clear-headed and doing what's best for you (and your children if you have them) is important. While there is no clear-cut way to survive during and after your divorce since everyone and their experiences are different, there are a few things you can try to do to help you cope through this difficult time.
Let Yourself Grieve
The death of a marriage is a traumatic event and it is normal to grieve even if you know pursuing a divorce is the right thing to do or if it's something you really want. You're probably feeling saddened or angry. It's important to allow yourself to be able to go through the grieving process so you can move onto healing. It is OK to let loose and cry. This is a natural reaction the body and mind sometimes need in order to help get through difficulties. Once you get that grief out, you can pick yourself and move forward as you develop a plan.
This thought is often too overwhelming at first, but it's an important step, especially if you have children to protect and take care of. First, you'll want to contact a good divorce attorney. If you can get recommendations from people you know, this is helpful because you want to have an experienced lawyer who can protect your interests and offer recommendations and advice during a time where it may be hard to think clearly.
If you have friends or family willing to lend you a hand with the kids, house or simply to lend an ear, it's a good idea to reach out and accept help from others. Going through divorce is often also a confusing time and having someone as moral support can do wonders. You may also want to consider a good therapist or counselor to talk to. When marriages fall apart there are a multitude of emotions and feelings to work through. In addition to the sadness, guilt, and anger, there may also be blame. While there are lots of emotions attached to divorce, it is not healthy to dwell on the ones such as blame, anger and hate as these feelings will not enable you to move forward.
If you find yourself in a “stuck” place, a good counselor can help you move through the divorce, let go of the emotions that prevent you from being happy, and help you to focus on what you need to do to find yourself in a better place.
Avoid Provoking or Responding to Conflict
While there is always conflict in a divorce situation, it helps to remain cool and collected. Save the lashing out for times you are not around your ex. Promoting or prolonging agitation usually leads to escalating a situation which ultimately puts more stress on yourself. Ultimately, you want to focus on you and move forward. Putting emphasis and focus on anger at your soon-to-be-ex is only going to hold you back.
Focus on You
Yes, the marriage has ended, but this does not mean you will cease to exist. While the marriage was a large part of your life, it does not define who you are. Throughout the divorce, try to give yourself some focus during this time. Even people who are the custodial parents and have their children most of the time should try to carve out some hours to do something nice for themselves and makes them feel good.
Perhaps a new haircut, new clothing, taking up a hobby, or even registering for some classes can do wonders for the self-esteem and also helps facilitate the healing process. It doesn't matter what you decide, as long as it's proactive and not self-defeating or destructive.
Rely on Yourself
Many spouses find that during the marriage they've become a bit dependent on their spouse (either male or female) to take care of details – either big or small. It is essential to learn how to become self-sufficient and learn that you'll have to take care of the things you aren't necessarily used to taking care of.
In addition, your ex may not be a reliable person once the divorce process has been initiated. It's best to assume your ex won't be reliable, so this way if he or she does not follow through, you're prepared. If he or she does follow through, great! Just don't assume he or she be there, this way you don't get disappointed and/or stuck in a situation you weren't planning for even if he or she does have the best of intentions to help.
Going through a divorce is one of the hardest things to survive and, while it's sometimes easier to see the glass as half-empty, in the long run you're better off trying to see things half-full. Because in the end you'll be a stronger, happier and more fulfilled person who is full of strength and resilience once the trauma of divorce passes. Life will get better, and time truly does heal.
Surviving a divorce is not an easy thing to do, but working through one can make you feel stronger than ever after it's all over. Now you can look forward to the next chapter of your life.