Before marriage, people often fantasize about living a romantic and happy life together. During marriage, people learn to adapt to their partner. Part of this adaptation is to form a new identity together. This identity can look like husband, wife, mother, father, nurturer, and provider. As you grow and develop together, you also begin to acquire assets. Some of these assets require the sacrifice of time and finances.
During a divorce, you might have to let go of people and things you don’t want to let go of. After so much sacrifice and dedication, it can feel unfair. However, hanging on will only prolong your pain. When children are involved, the agony can be more intense. Sharing custody with someone you are no longer with can feel like the rug has been pulled out from beneath you.
Here are some pointers to help you to manage these emotions and difficult situations.
- Realize that Divorce is Not a Win-Win Game. During a divorce, no one gets everything that they want. You will win some, and you will lose some. The goal is to negotiate and find solutions that are fair to everyone involved. To do this, write out a list of what you will and not negotiate. Learn how to communicate what you need in a way that can be heard.
- Practice a Flexibility Mindset. Having a flexibility mindset is a part of developing resilience. It is the belief that you can cope with the challenges, have hope for the future, and reframe threats as challenges.
- Observe Instead of Judge. We become more compassionate When we observe our and others’ emotions and flaws without judgment. This mindfulness technique protects us from anxiety and depression.
- Rewrite Your Narrative. It can feel tempting to feel like you were taken advantage of, used, or thrown away in a divorce. Rewriting your story so that you are the hero in the hero’s journey can feel empowering. On this journey, who are you becoming? Who do you want to become?
- Sharing custody. Losing time with your children can feel like one of the most significant losses. When you are angry with your ex, you can only think of their wrong actions. Remind yourself of the ways that your ex is a good enough parent. If your children are safe, access to the other parent can provide you with alone time. This alone time allows you to rebuild, recover, and process what you are going through.
Your divorce might seem like the end of who you are and a bright future. It might feel like you are starting over at square one. Change and growth can be painful but also freeing. When you can shed the weight of your past, you are free to explore and become. Reaching out for help can help you along your journey.
Register for my webinar series Navigating Divorce: For a Brighter Tomorrow.