Divorce is rarely easy. If you’re in the middle of one, it’s likely your emotions are still raw, and you have a lot of concerns about what the future holds for you.
This is a normal part of the process, but there are things you can do to make your divorce less painful.
Find a good divorce lawyer.
You want to ensure your divorce is given the time and attention it deserves. Some law firms have the goal of “churning out” as many divorces as possible to improve their bottom line. But the result is that you are treated like a number, not a person.
Instead, you want a lawyer who will take the time to listen to you and understand your concerns. You also want someone whose goal is to keep things amicable (but who isn’t afraid to fight for your rights when needed!).
If you work with someone who starts out in “fight” mode, your divorce proceedings will start with this tone as well – and that will make things more painful for all involved.
First, be honest with yourself about what you are going through. Divorce hurts. It also takes time and costs money. You will experience bumps in the road, and some things may not turn out as you expected.
It’s also important to be honest with your lawyer. Remember, they are there to advocate on your behalf – not judge you. (And trust me, we’ve seen and heard it all before!) The more information you give us, the better we can do our jobs.
Put your children first.
You may feel hurt. Betrayed. Angry. And those emotions may cloud your judgment when it comes to your divorce proceedings. As hard as it may be, try to put those emotions aside, particularly when it comes to your children.
In most cases, it is beneficial for the children to have a relationship with both parents. So, remember, even though you are ending your marriage, you will still need to maintain a relationship as co-parents.
Be civil with your spouse in front of your children. Keep adult topics private. And if needed, have the tough conversations with a therapist or your attorney.
Seek family counseling.
If you have children, your divorce means a major life transition for them as well, and it may be one they don’t totally understand or agree with. Communication is important to helping them deal with the change. But it’s possible that your children aren’t getting consistent messages from you and their other parent. Or they may feel uncomfortable bringing up certain topics.
An experienced family therapist can help you navigate these issues and protect the emotional health of the entire unit.
Take care of yourself.
Lean on family and friends for support. If you don’t have someone in your life who offers the kind of emotional support you need, find a formal divorce support group. Or seek counseling on your own. Don’t minimize or ignore your feelings of grief and loss.
Take care of your physical health, too. Eat well. Exercise regularly. Don’t let medical appointments slide. If you’re not physically feeling well, it will take a toll on your mental health quickly.
And seek out fun. That could mean getting together with old friends. Taking up an old hobby again. Or trying a new activity. Say “yes” to every invite you can, even if you don’t really feel like going.
By embracing this new stage of your life, it will make letting go easier.