A couple of weeks ago I saw the post below go through my Facebook newsfeed. It was written by a newly divorced Mom who had learned five realities of divorce while attempting to sell a home and raise her children on her own.
No one tells you divorce makes you an outcast. No one tells you people really do take sides, & they will do it in your face. No one tells you how to learn to get over it. How to sit with your grief.
No one tells you how vulnerable you’ll be & how everything feels shitty. No one tells you you’ll look back at the calendar with disbelief at how long divorce takes and the disentangling and how suddenly the people you thought you knew best…are total strangers. Ghosts.
This Mom is wrong, those things have been told. They’ve been told by experts, they’ve been told by other women who’ve gone through a divorce.
She didn’t discover some dark hidden truth about divorce, she just came face to face with the realities of divorce. Because who pays attention to other people’s problems until they are faced with those same problems?
The realities of divorce will be quite different from what you’ve imagined divorce to be. Don’t be caught off-guard like this woman!
I write about it and other divorce experts share the ugly side of divorce in books and articles daily online. The problem is, the experts aren’t being read or, if they are, folks reading our advice think, “That couldn’t happen to me, my situation is different.”
And, nothing stands in the way of a newly divorced person moving forward and creating a satisfying life more than the “I’m different” thought process. The idea that bad divorces only happen to other people. Or, the belief that people who experience pain and suffering after divorce do so because they did something wrong. These are thought processes that are prevalent among those deciding on and going through a divorce.
Most are under the illusion that divorce is the road to happiness and when faced with the realities of divorce are lost at how to process it and use it to their own advantage. Divorce is not the road to happiness, divorce is hard, harder than most bad marriages and when it turns your world upside down it’s in your best interest to be mentally prepared or you will drown in the “no one told me” pity party.
How to Handle The Realities Of Divorce:
1. The danger in not knowing and expecting the realities of divorce only keeps you stuck in a state of disbelief when those realities become part of your daily life. So, don’t allow yourself to go through a divorce unless you are armed with knowledge about what divorce is and can become. If you read something negative about the consequences of divorce, don’t throw on your shroud of, “that only happens to other people.” Instead, take it to heart.
2. During divorce, people will shun you and even your best friends will take sides and it won’t always be your side. Let them! It’s of no consequence when it comes to how you choose to live your life. Focus on the people who supported you during this painful period in your life, not the ones who turned their backs. That is a more productive use of your time.
3. Divorce means experiencing loss, it’s the death of your marriage. You must learn to adapt to and adjust to that loss and rebuild your life. First, you must grieve and “sit with” the loss. If you are unsure how to do that, Google, “grief after divorce.” There are over 30 million articles and books available for those who are coping with the grief of divorce. Find an article or book that brings you comfort, join a local support group or reach out to friends and family. The key is to admit your vulnerability and be willing to reach out for help.
4. Yep, everything can be “shitty” after a divorce. And when it is, you can feel powerfully vulnerable. Divorce forces people to change when all they want to do is escape the pain. Divorce turns everything upside down. You have to redefine who you are and what you want out of life. When you are in pain and seeking comfort from that pain it can be hard to focus on the one thing that will relieve the pain…embracing the change. Making those necessary changes is the only thing that will take away the “shitty” feelings that pop up during and after divorce.
5. Your lawyer isn’t going to tell you how long the legal process of divorce will take. There are legal guidelines but those can be tossed out the window because, the longer a divorce takes, the more money your lawyer will make. So, here I am, telling you, if you don’t become a proactive part of your legal divorce you will look back in disbelief at how long it took. Just because you hire a lawyer doesn’t mean you should not become an active member of your own divorce team.
6. Learn your state’s divorce laws. Learn your local court procedures related to Family Court matters. Hold your lawyer accountable at the first hint of him/her engaging in adversarial legal tactics. Divorcing couples do not have to come out the other side hating each other if they refuse to allow a dysfunctional family court system to determine the course of their divorce.
There you go, I’ve told you, again. Divorce is no walk in the park. Divorce is not the end of conflict. Divorce is not the road to happiness. Divorce puts an end to marriage but it also puts into play many, many other issues that can be stressful to deal with if you aren’t prepared to meet them head-on. Be prepared!