The “D” Word; We’ve all heard it. Most of us have supported friends or family members through it. Maybe you’ve even gone through this terribly difficult transition on your own. Divorce.
Divorce is no easy feat. When handled poorly, it can wreak havoc on your personal life and your pocketbook. It can cause feelings of distrust, even paranoia, and it can easily pull some of the closest and strongest families apart. Divorce can cause days, month, even years of turmoil and stress, and scariest of all, it has the power to leave numerous and lasting negative effects on your children.
At Solid Foundations, we’ve seen divorces approached through traditional litigation get nasty – and we don’t want that for you! The legalese surrounding divorce can make the court system alone extremely difficult to navigate. Add to that the emotional processing one goes through during this transition; a seemingly endless, deep, dark spiral. It can become extremely overwhelming, and it’s easy to feel like you’re losing control.
It is not uncommon for our clients to feel like they’re unsure of how to handle their emotions, or where to turn for help. It is important to remember that you are not alone. There are tools and resources to help you navigate these difficult waters, while simultaneously helping to prevent divorce from devastating every inch of your life. The dedicated professionals at Solid Foundations have helped teach numerous clients how they can grieve for the loss of their relationship, and get through their divorces with minimal devastation.
The following strategies can help you cope with the difficult emotions during and after your divorce:
- Accept that emotions aren’t necessarily good or bad; they just ARE. You and your ex will both experience individual roller coasters of ever-changing emotions during your relationship’s transition. Your memories, both the good and the bad, will cause your emotions to come and go. Some days will be easier than others, and that’s okay! Try not to judge yourself for the way you’re feeling (or judge your ex for the way they’re feeling!), or feel guilty about the part you played in the eventual breakup. Accepting these emotions rather than fighting against them will help you find peace. The best news? You won’t stay feeling any certain way for the rest of your life! It may not always feel like it, so it’s important you frequently remind yourself that you WON’T feel this way forever!
- Try not to blame your ex. Okay, we know, easier said than done, right? Trust us, this is something that many of our clients struggle with. And don’t get us wrong, it’s healthy to seek support and to explore the challenges you had with your ex, to a certain extent. However, blaming your ex for everything is not only unrealistic, but it will also end up hindering your ability to change yourself for your next relationship. Learn from it. Grow from it. Move on from it.
- Tell the truth about what happened. Be transparent about the experiences and challenges that ultimately led to your divorce. This includes telling yourself the truth as well! This doesn’t mean run around the grocery store announcing infidelity led to your divorce. This means that honesty in this situation, with yourself and those close to you, is detrimental to your eventual learning from and acceptance of your relationship’s transition. How can this be a lesson on who you are as a partner, and what you need from your next partner?
- Focus on self-care. This is the fun part! If there’s one thing you had less time for while married, it was probably self-care. Use the time you spent caring for your partner to love yourself. What are some of the things that make your soul sing? Sure, self-care can include a face mask or mani-pedi. But it can also mean finally taking that painting class you’ve been eyeing, or spending 30 minutes before bed reading a life-changing best seller. Whatever it is, do it. Do it for yourself. You deserve to fall in love with yourself again!
- Externalize your feelings. Journaling is hands-down one of our favorite recommendations for our clients looking to better understand their feelings and what to do with them! Putting your thoughts and feelings down on paper will help lift some of the weight and pressure off your shoulders, while also giving you an analytical tool you can use to recognize and manage the varying emotions that accompany divorce. If journaling isn’t your thing, talk to a therapist, or a trusted friend or family member. What’s important here is that you find a way to externalize your feelings. Ignoring or not accepting your feelings will not change the fact that they exist, and when they eventually swell to the surface (and trust us, they will!) dealing with them later on will ultimately make grieving your relationship far more tedious.
There is life after divorce, and it can be a pretty great one if you let it. These tips will help you survive and thrive by helping you build a strong foundation for your post-marital life.
If you are struggling, remember, you’re not alone. The dedicated professionals at Solid Foundations have helped people just like you keep their lives on track amidst divorce. For tools and resources on how to cope with divorce, contact Solid Foundations Therapy for an appointment today!