If you’re getting a divorce, one of the hardest periods in your life is ahead of you, so you had better be prepared. A divorce can be something you have desired or it may have come as an utter surprise, but it will, either way, be extremely stressful. This is one of the greatest changes to your life at the moment, and it’s best if you prepare yourself on time. As the first couple of months can appear to be the most chaotic, here are some pieces of advice on how to handle the challenges with the least frustration possible.
Telling friends and family
Despite the fact that a divorce is a family split-up and an extremely personal matter, you will have to inform your family and friends about it, too. They have been there for you when things were going great, so it’s only fair that they get an update about your relationship, even though it’s far from best news possible.
There are several ways around this. Surely, you are going to inform the people closest to you in person, but you can’t really sit down and talk to each and every witness of your marriage. For this reason, sending a divorce announcement via an email may be an excellent idea.
Regardless of whether you are doing it in writing or in person, there are certain steps to follow so as not to end up overwhelmed or feeling uneasy.
• First, think how you wish to present your divorce, or what you want to get out of it. If it’s understanding and a calm process that you aim for, then explain how it is an unfortunate event but everything will turn out better for both of you and your ex-spouse.
• Secondly, feel free to ask for the right kind of support, or share the right information. Do not burden people who aren’t close to you with unnecessary details, or respond to too inquisitive questions. The playdate parent needn’t know about your alimony worries, but rather just when you can pick up the children. On the other hand, your friends can be a shoulder to cry on.
• If talking about the divorce makes you feel uncomfortable, just remember that you are in control of such conversation. A too curious person will wish to know every detail, but you should avoid it by simply saying “And how is your family life?”, or something like “Yes, it’s all good for now. What’s new with you?”.
In short, avoid unnecessary stress whenever possible.
Helping your children
Informing your children that the family is falling apart is no mean feat, and you will probably feel guilty about the whole process, no matter how inevitable and beneficial the divorce will be. You will explain the matter in different ways depending on their age, but certain things are the same for everyone.
• Be honest – you needn’t share every single detail of your separation, but children deserve to know the reason for the divorce if you expect any understanding from them.
• Tell them you love them – don’t just think that it goes without saying. In a time of crisis, they have to be reminded one more time how much you care for them, especially since smaller children tend to think the divorce is their fault.
• Keep the routine –to support your statement how few things are going to change, avoid moving them from their school and taking them away from their friends and after-school activities. They need some common, firm ground.
• Accommodation announcement – let them know about changing the accommodations if needed, as well as financial impacts. This is no time for more big surprises, so they should know what to expect.
• Do NOT talk badly about your ex-spouse – not only is this extremely harmful for your child’s well-being, but it can be used against you later in the court of law during alimony settlement or custody battle.
Let the children know they have a choice about who they are going to live with and bear in mind you could even organize an appointment with a counsellor to help them get through this difficult period. Stay positive and optimistic for their sake.
How to fight anxiety
Even if this divorce is exactly what you’ve wanted for a long time, that still doesn’t mean it is going to be stress-free. There is too much turmoil which will interfere with your sense of well-being, and you may end up feeling stressed and upset. In case you have children, your feelings will probably reflect on them, so let’s see how you can keep it together:
• Stay healthy – it may sound rather obvious, but let’s remind ourselves it’s much easier to feel optimistic and ready for challenges when we are healthy instead of the situation when we’re fighting a cold. On that account, do eat healthy meals and try to exercise regularly. Even if you’re not a fan, this would be the best time to start.
• Find support – you’re bound to have a lot of fears and doubts about the upcoming events, such as where you are going to live, how you can survive financially, and so on. Feel free to ask for support and advice from your loved ones, or find professional help if you prefer.
• Make a plan – make a sound plan for your life in the upcoming period. When there is chaos, try to introduce some order into it. Be in control of what is happening to you. Set small goals, and work towards them. You will immediately feel better.
The upcoming period is bringing a lot of changes your way, but they needn’t all be negative. Now is the time to be your best self, too, in order for everything to turn out good for you.
Every beginning is tough, and when you realize divorce takes up to 12 months to process, it can be hard to remain positive. Still, take it one step at a time, and you will be making progress in all fields, slowly but surely.