Divorce can be as traumatic as developing a terminal illness, going through the death of a loved one, or filing for bankruptcy. It is one of those life events that no one chooses to go through unless they have to. Unfortunately, that is the case for most people who are divorcing.
A marriage goes through an organic change during divorce. Admiration is replaced by disgust and resentment. Now you are dividing the house, the kids, the pots and pans. It seems almost ludicrous to itemize the casserole dishes and rice cooker in the property settlement agreement – as someone you once trusted with your heart and soul is now reduced to one-half of the household goods. The ins and outs of divorce can seem perplexing on a grand scale.
There are ways, however, to lessen and even eliminate some of your trauma while you are winding your way through the maze of divorce:
- One Day at a Time:
This may sound simplistic, but take my advice and begin living one day at a time. You can’t change the future by worrying or fretting over it. Once you have prepared for what is ahead, don’t continue to focus on it. You may have a divorce hearing in three weeks. Fine. Do what you have to do – file papers, meet with your attorney, etc. – for that meeting and then live your life. No matter how you may feel at the moment, your divorce is not your whole life. Remind yourself of that often.
- Anchor Yourself in the Now:
Everything is changing, but one thing is for sure. You are probably going to sleep in the same bed tonight that you slept in last night. There is at least a fragment of continuity – no matter how small it may seem – in your life. So make it the best it can be.
Take down the pictures of your soon-to-be ex, and replace them with pictures of happier times. Maybe, at some point in your life, you traveled to Europe or you went to Hawaii. Put those pictures up. They were of better days, and these are the things you want to think about.
There is no reason in the world that – no matter where you may be living – not to make your environment more pleasant and inviting. Hit the garage sales and enhance your space with mirrors and valances and potpourri. I know that it probably sounds a wee bit crazy to redecorate while you are going through a divorce, but, actually, it is a wise thing to do. Now you can make your environment the way that you want it. Begin living for you, and find pleasure in where you are right now. Don’t let your estranged ex prevent you from creating a pleasant environment for yourself.
- Seek the Support of Others:
Divorce support groups are everywhere. You can find them at churches, medical clinics, and even listed in your local newspaper and online. It is important that you cultivate a group of friends who are going through a situation similar to yours. In groups like these, you will make friends for life. When your life is back on track, you can help other people who are just beginning the divorce process. There is strength in numbers, and a divorce recovery group will provide you with some much-needed camaraderie and validation.
- Don’t Be a Lone Ranger:
Whatever you do, don’t isolate. You don’t have to brave it alone while going through a divorce. I assure you, there is light and life on the other side. As you heal, you will begin to see that the future is full of possibilities that you never considered before your divorce. Now is the time to reinvent yourself and to become a friend to yourself and others.
One day, you will wake up and not feel that weight in the middle of your chest. You will begin to realize that – little by little – you are healing, and – eventually – you will emerge from your divorce a stronger, wiser person.