- Divorce SUCKS. At first. You got married with every intention of it working out. And you might have children with this person and I’ll say it first with no sugar coating. Telling them SUCKS even more. But, see #2 before you start filling up the Los Angeles River.
- There is a SILVER LINING. You get to have “relations” with someone new, after all! Just kidding (well not really, see #4). The silver lining is this: you will now have time to yourself and you can create the life you always wanted. Freedom is a gift from the Gods, and letting go of a destructive relationship will feel divine. And you’ll notice that your friends with children will jealous of the times when you get to go to a movie alone.
- You get a SECOND CHANCE at finding a new relationship and one that works better. Don’t get me wrong, I love marriage – the institution, what it means, true love forever, etc. Go ahead and do the work, however, to understand why this relationship didn’t work out and how you may have contributed (it takes two) — There are no mistakes, only learning opportunities.
- You will go through “DIVORCE PUBERTY,” as I call it. Right after splitting up, you will feel a little crazy, a lot unsettled, and maybe make some ridiculous choices before getting your feet under you. Just make sure you have one or two friends around who understand what you are going through and can listen without judgment…especially at times like when you divulge you found your old boss online and met him at the Ramada last week. These are the same friends who will tell you when you need to reel it in and who will also pick your face out of the pizza box.
- CUT TIES quickly. Get your court stuff and legal proceedings done as soon as possible. There is nothing worse or more energy sucking than dragging out the fighting. Make sure you consider how much mental stress and energy you are putting towards going to court. Mediation is a great choice, but don’t think you will get everything you want. If you both walk away feeling like you lost something, it was probably a good agreement. Psychologically, it really makes a difference in starting a new if you have a clean cut.
- Make sure your judgment/court filings (documents that bind you all the decisions like custody arrangements, child support, spousal support, who gets the dogs, etc.) are TIGHT and SPECIFIC. You might think you don’t need to choose what time Christmas Eve starts, but trust me you will. Better to be as specific as possible now. If you find out you can be besties, then by all means, flex it up down the road and never look at that court doc again.
- Don’t get into email wars or texting wars. DISENGAGE. Telling someone how crazy they are or stupid or irresponsible will never work. Keep correspondence short, simple and business like.
- Keep kids out of the arguments and NEVER ever put the other parent down. That behavior is the equivalent of cutting off a body part to your child. No matter how much your ex is a creep, your child wants and NEEDS to LOVE that parent, for their own development.
- It does get BETTER. When the dust settles and the arrangements have been made, life becomes manageable again, and frankly, better than before. This whole experience will make your stronger and give you a new outlook on life. Chances are you have been unhappy for some time. A clean slate will invigorate you.
- Lastly, ride the wave. BREATHE. You are not ALONE and don’t go through it alone. Find someone to talk to — a friend, a therapist, (not your boyfriend), a sibling… Join a support group or find others that have been through the process that can understand the crazy. If 51% of us are divorced, you don’t have to look far. There is a little underground club of us that know what it’s like. Sometimes we even use a special handshake that says, “We’ve got this.”
Where I grew up on the East Coast, we would sit by the radio and listen to the latest weather forecast to find out what our …