Decided to Divorce? Explore Your Options
Last time on the blog we looked at how you decide to divorce – it’s a big decision, not taken lightly. This time we’re looking forward. The decision to divorce is just the start – the next step is to look at what the future holds, and what routes you’ll take to get there. In Decided to Divorce? Explore Your Options we take a look at how it might be for you. Most people view divorce as a legal process. Which of course it is, but there’s much more to it than that. Divorce is up there at number two on the list of most stressful life events, according to the Holmes and Rahe Scale used by medics across the world. Divorce affects every aspect of your life and it’s best to be prepared for that.
Look after your emotions
Even thinking about divorce will bring a whole spectrum of emotions. Some might be positive – the thought of separation from your soon-to-be-ex-husband might feel exciting and liberating. But for many women, there’s a lot of negativity and self-blame that goes with it too. If you’ve had thoughts like… “I’m such a failure because my marriage didn’t work out.” “I feel so guilty and I’ll ruin my children’s life” “I can’t handle the stress of the divorce process, I’m too overwhelmed.” …believe me you are not alone. Far from it. These are common worries. They make you human. It’s important to look after yourself. It’s important not to let your thoughts and feelings spiral. If you’re feeling low, panicked or defeated, here are some self-care strategies to use:
- Prioritise rest and sleep. It is easy to exhaust yourself and the world looks much harder when you’re sleep-deprived
- Eat well. Sometimes self care isn’t a bubble bath, it’s a nutritious hot meal. Don’t feel guilty if you’re depending on freezer food or takeaway more than usual, but try to bulk cook something healthy, or be brave and ask a friend to bring something round
- Reach out. It can feel hard asking for help, but, you know what? Most people love to feel helpful and wanted. Don’t be afraid to turn to your friends and share how you’re feeling.
Consider the practicalities
Once you’ve opened the divorce can of worms, it can be tempting to move quickly. I get it – you’ve made the decision, now you want it done and dusted as quickly as possible. But that’s not always the wise way to go. Divorce will involve upheaval in all areas of your life. Where will you live? What does your money situation look like? How will you parent, if children are involved? How does it affect your work life? Before rushing into anything, let the dust settle. Take time to think through your options. Aim for open and honest communication with your soon-to-be-ex. Good communication is the key to good relationships. It’s also key to a low-conflict divorce.
It is so tough working everything out on your own. Friends are great for moral support, but not always your best port of call for balance and clarity! There are a number of places you can turn to as you decide how to take your next steps:
Relationship counselling can be helpful to strengthen a rocky relationship. It’s also there for people who want a calm and positive end to their relationship. A relationship counsellor will provide a space for you and your soon-to-be-ex-husband to come to decisions, communicate effectively and solve problems. You can have joint or individual sessions, or a combination of both.
Divorce is hard, there’s no getting around that. It can also be positive. But for some, divorce triggers overwhelming feelings. It can be very helpful to speak with a therapist about your fears, thoughts and behaviours. A therapist will provide a safe place for you to offload, examine any patterns in your life and begin to plan a way forward. You don’t need to be at crisis point to try therapy – in fact it can help you avoid getting to that point!
Divorce throws up all sorts of feelings about your self, your identity and your worth, as well as how to best handle the whole divorce process. A divorce coach (like me!) is equipped to help you deal with both sets of questions. An experienced coach is there to help you make a plan for your future that is in line with your values and goals. A coach will also help you tackle self-sabotaging behaviours that prevent you from reaching your goals. And a divorce coach will help you find your way through the trees, at every step helping you make the decision that are right for you. If you want help as you explore your options, contact me to book a free initial call. You don’t have to do this alone.
The Divorce Alchemist
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 practising family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self study and group programmes. Emma is featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com