It happened, those words that no one in a marriage wants to hear, “I want a divorce.” You may have seen it coming, you may not have. After coming to terms with how your spouse is feeling, it becomes time to start looking at things that you can do to cope and manage the hurt that comes with that process. It may seem like the pain and the hurt will never go away, but it does lessen as time goes on and eventually will go away.
Divorce is a slow process and one that does not happen overnight. So here are 5 tips to beginning to deal with the divorce that you did not want.
5 tips for dealing with a divorce you did not want:
1) Counseling is cheaper than a divorce. Your spouse asked for the divorce and told you it was happening. Initial reactions can be disbelief and wanting to create a tit for tat kind of scenario. The best bet would be suggesting that the two of you get counseling together, if not to save the marriage, to at least help make the split as amicable as possible. It may not wind up saving your marriage, but it could save you thousands of dollars and a ton of anger and heartbreak if it is a nasty drag-out divorce process.
2) Rediscover your friends and family. When we are in a marriage, things like friends and extra family can get pushed to the wayside. Take time for you and schedule time with friends. When you dont want to get a divorce, spending time venting to some friends that are willing to listen can help you begin to process what is happening. Also, spending time with friends can really help to take your mind off of all of the nastiness and bitterness that can come up during this ime.
3) Take time to grieve. Divorce is a loss and one that like a passing of a loved one, takes time to process. When the divorce is one that you did not want, there can be many additional feelings that come up as well. Just as when you are grieving the loss of a loved one, you will be angry, sad, in denial, bargaining to make it all work somehow, and finally accept that this is happening and begin to move on. Allow yourself time to feel all of the above things, if you want to cry, go ahead and cry. If you want to be angry and yell, find a way to let that out. Write a letter to your spouse (that you wont be sending) and get all of your anger out on paper. Bottom line is there is no time frame for how long it will take you to grieve, give yourself whatever time it takes.
4) Take time for you. You can get lost in all of the emotions and paperwork that come with divorce. It is important that you are taking time for you daily. It may be stopping at Starbucks for a latte before your day starts, it may be curling up on the couch to your favorite movie. Enjoy your time and do things that make you feel good. It wont make the hurt go away, but it can help lessen the pain one moment at a time.
5) Treat everyday as a brand new day. Treat it like this because it is true. When you get up in the morning you have a chance to make that day be however you want it to be. You can be hurt and angry, but then choose to not allow that to take over and choose focus on you.
Going through the process of getting a divorce that you did not want hurts. But using the 5 tips I listed, you can begin to make this process a little easier and begin to heal a little sooner.
“New beginnings are often designed as painful endings” -Lao Tzu
Patrick Schultz MA LPC NCC