Divorce. It’s rarely expected and it’s rarely fun. But there are ways to stay sane during a divorce and knowing what they are can help you get through a tough time.
People do not enter a marriage planning on splitting up down the line. Although divorce is much more common now, some people still feel an unspoken stigma attached to it. Because of this, married couples rarely know to handle a split if it occurs. Here are ways to stay sane during a divorce.
One of the most important ways to stay sane during a divorce is to grieve the loss of your marriage. The moment leaving a spouse becomes a reality, take some time to let that sink in. Whether you have been married one week or ten years, you will feel emotional. At some point you and your spouse had agreed to spend a lifetime together. The end of your planned future needs to have some time to settle. Don’t go on Tinder that night.
2. Get Advice
An attorney or mediator is highly recommended when you decide to get divorced. Please remember that a professional is not necessarily the best because they are more expensive. Make sure you and your selected representative agree. If you can’t afford a professional, or are opposed to the idea, reach out to someone you know who has gotten divorced. If nobody in your personal life has, you will be able to find somebody online. Remember though, laws vary by state and do change, so make sure to research what is okay in your area.
3. Ask for What You Need
Divorce is emotional. Especially if your spouse left you unexpectedly. Do not be so overcome with emotions – depression, anger, etc. - that you give in to all your ex’s demands. Make sure you (and your children, if you have any) are going to be taken care of. Do not refuse alimony and child support out of kindness or pride. If you need it, make sure you check those boxes.
4. If You Have Kids, Suck up Your Anger
Unless this is a case of abuse, your children are going to remain in contact with your former paramour. Never let a child hear you bad mouthing their other parent. Likewise, every time you and your ex are together with your child, keep things civil. You don’t have to go over-the-top,but respect that your ex is a parent as well.
5. Stay off Social Media
Stay off social media, at least in relation to the divorce. First of all, close family friends want to support you in person, not through a computer screen. Second, the temptation to badmouth your ex online could be strong. Don’t do it! Remember, everything you put online stays there forever. You do not want to add ammo to the fire.
6. Be Prepared to Say Goodbye
To friends, not just your ex. You will have friends who no longer talk to you. There are a variety of reasons for this. Some will stay friends with your ex, some can’t handle your divorce (this sounds strange, but it happens) and some you won’t want to stay friends with. Know that your true friends will be there for you. If somebody leaves your life because you are getting divorced, that is their issue.
7. Mine, Mine, Mine
Be prepared to compromise, give up some things and take others. You are going to be splitting up a household. Most of the time you can’t keep everything. This even goes for the family pets.
8. Know What Your Property is Worth
If this means researching online or even taking high-priced items to an inspector, do so. When you split your property with your spouse, chances are it will be an agreed upon percentage. An example is any state with community property, where, for the most part (there are some instances that will not calculate exactly), you split property 50-50. If you do not know what items are worth, this will be extremely difficult.
9. Don’t Forget the Paperwork
Your spouse is most likely listed in some pretty important documents. Those can include health insurance, your will, your emergency contact and beneficiary documentation. Make sure you remove him as soon as possible. Imagine getting into a work accident two years later and your ex-spouse is called. Or even worse, money which you intended to leave to your children and/or potential new partner going to the ex.
10. If It Becomes Abusive, Document It
Even if you are coming from the best relationship, stress has the potential to make people crazy. There are many kinds of abuse, including physical, verbal and sexual abuse. It is not okay for a former spouse to stalk you, hit you, force intercourse or use your child as leverage (outside of custody agreements). If these things are occurring, contact the authorities, but also document each instance. Take photos, make notes and remember to keep the dates and events recorded.
11. Do Not Think about the Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda’s
No matter who you are or what caused the divorce, at some point you will feel like you should have done something different. As if there was a magical event, or five, which triggered the separation. It is natural to feel this way and to wish you could go back in time and change things. Most likely this is your mind playing tricks on you. Even if, by some small chance, there was one moment which caused the divorce, it has already happened. Yes, reflect for future reference, but don’t bash your head into the wall trying to go back in time.
12. Know You Are Not Alone
When going through a divorce, you may feel like you are the only person in the history of marriages to leave their spouse. You may also feel, due to personal or religious reasons, that divorce is not allowed. According to the CDC, there are 3.2 divorces per 1,000 people so you are definitely not on your own.
13. Know That It is Okay to Be Happy
Some people getting divorced feel sad or mad. But there are some people who feel relief and even happy. If you are one of those people, there is nothing wrong with you. You are perfectly normal. Divorce does not (usually) come out of thin air. Ending a negative relationship can bring tremendous relief, which may make you feel happy immediately. It is important to remember though, just because you are happy, does not mean you will never have a moment of despair.