5 Divorce New Year Resolutions Not To Make
Happy New Year! Are New Year Resolutions done already? I think I speak for everyone everywhere when I say I hope 2021 brings a barrel-load more joy than 2020. The last ten months have been tough for most people. Add divorce to the mix and you’ve got a top-shelf stress cocktail on your hands.
So, to get 2021 off to the best start possible, here’s my list of five divorce New Year Resolutions not to make. Doing any one of these five is likely to make your life harder and more expensive in the long run.
Read on for what to avoid – and what you can do instead.
Don’t keep putting it off forever
Most of my clients have been thinking about divorce for years. Not months – years. So if that’s you too, you’re not alone. But if you’re reading this, you know something has to change. You’ve given the status quo a shot, and you’re not happy. You haven’t been for ages. The situation hasn’t got better all by itself.
I’m not saying divorce is the answer. All I’m saying is that something has to change. You can’t stay like this for years. You owe yourself more than that – and you know it. So what can you do instead? Do you need to have a difficult conversation with your spouse, and see how they feel? Do you need to try relationship counselling? Or do you need to start getting divorce ready? Is your New Year Resolution to move forward?
Whether you’re certain you want to divorce or not, I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy of my book, ‘How To Be A Lady Who Leaves: The Ultimate Guide To Getting Divorce Ready.’ It’s currently on offer on Kindle for the bargain price of 99p! And the whole first section is there to help you get clear on whether divorce is the best next step for you and your marriage.
Don’t call the solicitor
New Resolution to call a lawyer? Don’t – not yet anyway. If you know that divorce is on the cards, please do not instruct a solicitor straight away. Not unless you’re in a high conflict situation with abuse – financial, emotional or physical. It might seem like the most sensible way to get the ball rolling. But, in reality, there’s a lot that needs to happen before a solicitor can be really helpful. And they’re expensive, so you want them to be really helpful!
A solicitor is there to give you legal advice. They’re not there to provide emotional support. And while they can be a sounding board as you mull through your various options, they’re an expensive way to do it. Your best, most cost-effective (and usually least confrontational) strategy is to figure out what you want first.
That means you need to understand your financial position now, and anticipated future living costs. None of that requires legal expertise unless you are in a very complex or abusive situation. I have hundreds of free, searchable blog posts that take you through everything from creating a divorce plan, to how to communicate with a high conflict ex. So start there, as well as with How To Be A Lady Who Leaves.
Don’t give in to rage
Once you’ve decided to divorce, it’s not uncommon for rage to descend. It’s a totally natural response. You’ve been holding it together for all these years. Whether your ex was terribly behaved, or whether it’s simply a sad mismatch of wants and needs, you’ve lived with it. Probably for a long time.
And now you’ve made the decision to stop – you’ve decided you want and need more from life. Anger often shows up because it’s part of the grief process. Your anger might be targeted at your ex, and often with good reason. Or it might be a more generalised rage at the world – at your friends who are happily coupled off, at you sister-in-law for those snide comments, at your cousin who keeps chipping in with ‘helpful advice’.
However your anger shows up, don’t let it boil over at anyone. Especially not your ex. Keep it civil. If your ex is high conflict, or just mean-spirited, they will be trying to get a rise out of you. Don’t give them the satisfaction. And it won’t serve you if you go to court either. Be as calm, unobstructive and boundaried as you can in all dealings with your ex. Then vent at friends or me later.
Don’t let them just have it all
Every so often in The Absolute Academy, one of the members says something like: “I just can’t fight anymore. I’m going to walk away.”
And I get it, I do. Divorce is exhausting. It’s usually a marathon rather than a sprint – energy is bound to drop. Add to that an ex who fights you at every turn, who is looking to score points, play power games and screw you for every penny, and it’s tempting to throw in the towel.
Don’t. No divorce goes on forever – you will get there in the end. And it’s far better to start your post-divorce independence with a sense of justice and the share of wealth you’re entitled to.
I’m not promising happy ever afters all the time. I wish I could. Sometimes you fight, you get a judge that doesn’t agree, and you end up with something that’s far from ideal.
But quite often, you get something closer to what you want than if you’d just walked away. And you get to hold your head up high. You’ll know you stood up for yourself and did the right and honest thing. If your ex got away with something because they lied – they’ll have to live with that.
Don’t make it your sole focus
This might sound strange, especially coming from a divorce coach. After all, when we set ourselves goals, often we’re told to go after them with steely determination. And many life and business coaches are renowned for telling their clients to go ‘all in’ with their ambitions.
And of course, you can go ‘all in’ with your divorce. It will need your attention and work to happen, and to happen in a way that suits you. But don’t go all in all the time.
Your divorce is unique to you. And it’s a major part of your life right now. But don’t let it define you. You are so much more than your divorce. You are a friend and family member to your loved ones – known for your particular set of quirks and hobbies. That doesn’t need to change because divorce is also in your life right now.
So as you embark on your divorce in 2021, a great New Year Resolution is to put some boundaries around it. Of course, you will need to meet deadlines and keep things moving. But know when to put it away – both mentally and practically. Have some fun as well, whatever that looks like to you.
Divorce is thought of as a sad event – and rightly so in many ways. It is sad that your marriage didn’t work the ways you’d wanted, for whatever reasons. Getting through the divorce process is an unwelcome annoyance at best, and a stress-inducing nightmare at worst.
But divorce can also be something to celebrate. It is a sign that you are making a new start. That you are willing to put the work in to create something better for yourself. And you should recognise your strength and courage in making that decision. So give yourself kindness. Make time for the things that soothe you and bring you joy, as well as all the tasks needed to get your divorce done.
New Year Resolutions
- Get support
- Put you first
- Be open and honest with yourself and others
I’m here to help
Divorce is a lot less stressful, and a lot more empowering, when you know someone you can trust has your back. Make one of your New Year Resolutions to do things smartly. I urge you to read through the blogs and How To Be A Lady Who Leaves to get you on the right track as we start a new year.
And if you’d like my help more closely, I’d love to be there for you. The doors to The Absolute Academy are open. That’s where you’ll find a community of women who are absolutely committed to getting divorced in a way that’s right for them. I’m in there with them every step of the way.
And if you’d like my 1-1 support I can do that too. Just book in a free chat to see how I can help you get divorced your way in 2021.
Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self-study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com