You stare at the overwhelming stack of paperwork, wondering where it all went wrong. Your logical thinking plays tug-of-war with your emotions. You’ve never felt so vulnerable, and you hate it.
Divorce is a total gut-punch. Of course, no one expects it to be easy, right?
But then it hits you–that sudden feeling of cautious optimism. Your logical side gives that final tug on the rope, dragging your emotions into the mud. You start believing that maybe–just maybe–you’ll be alright.
And the good news? You will be.
Figuring out how to get through a divorce isn’t something you plan for, but it is something you can handle. Here are seven things to remember when going through a divorce:
1. Stop Blaming Yourself (Or Your Ex)
No one ever wins playing the blame game. Wallowing in guilt or shifting the blame to your ex will most likely delay the ultimate goal of moving on. Remember, your marriage began and ended with the two of you. (“Two” being the operative word, here.)
For example, one of the most common reasons for divorce is communication issues. Whether it’s arguments, attempts at compromising, or discussions over where to eat dinner, it all boils down to one key element–talking. If every conversation turns into a knock-down-drag-out fight, it’s not one side at fault; it’s a lack of communication all around.
Of course, every relationship ends for different reasons. Infidelity, money problems, intimacy issues, falling out of love–you name it. After such a life-altering decision, it’s normal and expected to feel a million emotions at once. Assigning blame seems like the easiest path to escaping emotional turmoil; yet, all it does is lead to a dead end.
The hardest step in moving on? Acceptance. Even if the relationship’s decline does fall on one person, what good does dwelling on it do? While it’s easier said than done, realizing that the marriage is over (for a good reason) is crucial to kick-starting the healing process.
2. Consider Hiring a Divorce Attorney
If you’re unfamiliar with your state’s divorce laws or need help navigating through the divorce proceedings, hiring an attorney is the way to go. Not only do they provide expert advice, but they also work to ensure you receive your fair share of assets.
When it comes to complicated situations–kids, income, retirement, etc.–an attorney helps guide you in the right direction. After all, the legal process is confusing, right? Mistakes during divorce proceedings are not ones you can afford to make. (Literally, in most cases.)
3. Indulge in a Little “You” Time
You’ve spent most of your days focusing on custody arrangements and court costs–how about taking some time to focus on you. Buy that gym membership you’ve been contemplating. Eat at the new Thai place your ex refused to try. Start writing the blog you swore you’d start a year ago.
On the one hand, figuring out how to cope with a divorce is a devastating disruption of normalcy; on the other, you have the newfound freedom to make yourself the center of attention. The best part? Keeping busy may lead to a happier state of mind.
4. Make Your Mental Health a Priority
Speaking of “you” time, monitoring your mental health is just as important as keeping up with that new gym membership. The psychological effects of divorce bring as much strain as the physical and financial burdens.
Both men and women are more susceptible to depression, illness, and even mortality when dealing with divorce emotions. Be sure to know the difference between the typical, emotional effects of divorce and signs of depression.
Start a meditation routine. Go for walks. Eat healthy, hang out with friends, and catch up on sleep. Speak with a doctor or therapist if you need a little help. You can’t move on if your mind is stuck in neutral.
5. Your Kids Need You to Be Civil
Going through a divorce is hard enough without involving the kids. Remember, they need as much support as you do.
When deciding how to explain Mom and Dad’s split, consider their age: younger kids are fine with a simple explanation, while older kids may need more details.
Most importantly, maintaining a civil relationship with your ex is necessary for your kids’ well-being. They don’t need you fighting in front of them (especially the younger ones)–they need you working together to provide stability, love, and reassurance during such a confusing time.
6. Avoid Spilling the Details on Social Media
Using social media to vent about marital issues is, shall we say, awkward.
No one is sure what to do after reading a profanity-laden status update ripping your ex. Should they like it? Comment on it? Laugh at it?
Your friendship group is likely to change after a divorce, but throwing them in the middle of it is a quick way to eliminate it. Don’t encourage them to pick sides, and keep in mind that they’re just as bummed about the situation as you are.
7. Remember, You’re Not the Only One Learning How to Get Through a Divorce
Although you may feel like it, you’re not alone in struggling with the effects of divorce. The aftermath can leave you reeling, wondering what to do next; but, the silver lining is plenty of others are in the same boat.
Reach out to family, close friends, or anyone else in your support group you can count on. Look for divorce support groups in your area or online. Connecting with others in a similar situation provides the self-confidence and determination you need to move on.
Get More Divorce Advice
Attorney at Law Magazine offers a variety of articles pertaining to divorce. Knowing how to get through a divorce is necessary, but what about other helpful advice?
Whether you have questions about divorce proceedings, dividing assets, or the experience in general, we are here to help. Visit our columns page to find all the resources you need.