There are many emotions that clients go through when contemplating, beginning, processing or concluding a divorce. The idea for this article comes from Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach who wrote an article here. Following are 12 ways to help you through this tough time with dignity:
1. Drink water instead of wine, do yoga instead of binge eating.
Drowning your sorrows in ice cream, chips, alcohol or any comfort food may assist temporarily, but it won’t help you long-term. In fact, “eating your emotions” may make maintaining your dignity more difficult. Head to the gym, take a yoga class, or head out on a long walk. The exercise and fresh air will help you find peace instead of guilt.
2. Don’t look for cheap sex.
Engaging in casual sex is just a Band-Aid for your very valid need to feel, lovable, and connected to someone who actually meets your sexual needs. But those encounters come with their own baggage. Instead of bringing someone else (and all that drama) into the picture, spend some time pleasuring yourself until you’re truly ready to date like an adult, instead of a horny teenager.
3. Be a problem solver.
Everyone who wants to divorce with dignity must become part of the solution. Don’t rely on your spouse (ex) to come up with the game plan. Discuss with your lawyer how to get through this time and how to finalize the terms of the dirove.
Rather than getting side-tracked with overly emotional reactions, feeling like a victim, playing the blame game, and taking a vengeful or defensive stance, look for actual positive solutions to the immediate problem.
Of course, you don’t have to solve every issue or challenge on your own. Do your research. Ask for help from those more knowledgeable than yourself, and stay open to examining their suggestions so you can take their input and choose how you want to solve whatever problem you’re facing.
4. Act as an equal to your ex.
For you to maintain your dignity, you must accept that you’re just as 100 percent human as the next person. Which means you’re neither superior nor inferior to your ex or anyone else You need to treat others with the same respect and courtesy that you want to receive. If others don’t treat you with equal civility, make it clear you expect that behavior to change.
5. Let your legal team know you want to stand your ground without getting ugly.
Attorneys learn to litigate and fight for what they believe is in the best interest of their clients. Set some ground rules with your legal representative so you’re better able to stick to the highroad. Your time is too precious to waste it on unnecessary and lengthy legal battles.
6. Don’t sweat small stuff.
The most important thing is your kids and their welfare.
Important is an equitable (notice I did not say ‘fair’) division of the assets and debts. Unimportant is anything that is replaceable — like the iTunes library or Netflix membership or the end table that you found at that one garage sale in 1989.
7. Don’t journal your divorce woes on social media.
Airing dirty laundry about your divorce on Facebook (etc.) just isn’t productive. And for goodness sakes, don’t go changing your relationship status until your divorce if final. If you are compelled to write, keep a private journal. If you are find yourself discussing on social media or in chats, shut down your account until the divorce is over.
8. Wait to find your next relationship until after your divorce.
Yes, I know divorces take a long time. But so does fully recovering from one emotionally. Finish up the legal and emotional work of ending your marriage before bringing anyone else into the picture. But, if your new relationship is the reason for your divorce, then the least you can do is avoid flaunting it.
9. Speak up for your needs.
It’s imperative that you take care of your kids … but also that you look out for yourself. There’s no guarantee that your ex will honor anything he’s promised to do. You may not get everything you want, but be sure to get what you need. Remember: being a doormat is neither classy nor dignified, so speak up!
10. Be fair.
Don’t hide or dispose of assets to prevent your soon-to-be-ex from receiving them. Do your part to move the divorce forward by providing requested information in a timely manner or by taking the actions you’re required to take (i.e., getting the house ready to put on the market) as quickly as possible.
Don’t be so generous that you suffer. Being fair is about both of you.
11. Don’t drag your kids into the drama.
No matter their age, spare your your kids exposure to your divorce drama. They’re facing their own challenges as a result of your divorce. Venting to a friend on the phone within earshot of your children still counts as dragging them into the drama.
12. Express your emotions constructively.
It’s normal to feel extreme emotions during divorce. But, feeling them and expressing them are two different things. No temper tantrums, ultimatums, pity parties, stuffing (a.k.a. ignoring) your feelings, or displaying your emotions to manipulate your spouse or anyone else (including your kids).
Your emotions are normal and valid. It’s good to honor them, but don’t let extreme feelings dictate your actions. If you need to schedule time to get them out in a healthy way, then schedule the time.
Divorce isn’t easy. It’s one of the most difficult life changes you’ll ever experience. For more information, see my divorce blog. For a consultation in Northern Kentucky call Michael Bouldin at Bouldin Law Firm 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.