Deciding to divorce? 10 must-read blogs
Deciding to divorce? Whether you are seriously thinking of divorce or it’s just popped into your mind, this one’s for you. It’s a round-up of my most popular blogs on working through the decision to divorce.
Most of the clients I work with think about divorce for a long time before they actually decided to leave. Sometimes for five years or more. In my view, deciding to divorce is actually the most challenging decision of the whole process – and I don’t say that lightly.
There are so many questions that you should be asking both yourself and any professionals that you work with as you make your decision.
Then there’s the emotional fallout, the fear, and uncertainty. It can stop you in your tracks – leaving you in a hellish limbo.
And, of course, at the moment we are in the middle of a global pandemic – adding a whole other layer of complexity to already challenging times.
So if divorce is on your mind and you’re not sure where to go with those thoughts – read on for a swag-bag on information and resources that will help.
As you read, just click on the title of each blog to go through to the main article.
Before we begin: a reminder to stay safe
This blog is for you if you have the gift of safety and time. I’m not an expert or specialist in domestic abuse where you are at significant risk of physical or severe emotional harm.
Remember that you can ring the police on 999 and then dial 555 if you are in an emergency and cannot speak.
Not sure whether that desire to divorce is just a reaction to a row, or something more serious? Is this a passing phase or a niggle that won’t stop? This blog can help you work it out.
So you’ve worked out whether the signs are there, but you still need to decide whether or not to divorce. This blog helps you through that process. The decision to divorce is a personal one – no one else can do it for you. Though, it may of course be thrust upon you against your will. If your spouse decides to divorce you, it’s challenging if you don’t feel the same way – you can read more about that in the post about the grief cycle further down.
But if it is you making the decision, it’s wise to draw on all your intelligences: your head, heart and your gut. This blog takes you through how to do that. And if you need support, a divorce coach can help you make that decision one way or another (no good divorce coach will ever push divorce on you!).
If you’re waiting to feel calm and confident about divorcing – good luck! You will likely wait forever. Just as you’re never ‘wealthy enough’ to afford children, you are never confident enough to divorce. Fear will always be there – but it doesn’t need to stop you in your tracks. You can handle your fear and get it to work with, rather than against you. This blog shares how.
The guilt and social stigma of divorce, particularly when women leave, still holds strong. Only yesterday I was talking to a potential client whose biggest concern was her baby:
“I’m going to take him away from his father if I leave and he’ll have to live between two homes”.
Here’s the thing. Divorce is about the ending of your marriage, it isn’t actually about children. It’s the ending of a union between adults – it isn’t the ‘breaking of a family’. Of course, children will be affected, and they will need loving support from their parents and those around them as changes happen. But family can transcend divorce.
Once the initial shock is over and the children have had chance to express their feelings and settle into new routines, post-divorce family life can feel happier and more settled for children than when their parents were unhappily together.
Good mothers leave bad marriages. Good mothers also leave marriages that aren’t ‘bad’ per se, they just don’t make them happy any more. And that’s also great role-modelling for your children. Would you want them to stay trapped in a situation that made them unhappy?
Many women I work with don’t recognise their relationship is, or was, abusive. This isn’t because they are stupid. It’s because some abuse is so gradual that you don’t notice it happening. It becomes your normal. But the impact is devastating. Just like water wearing away at rock over time, high conflict relationships erode your identity and self-esteem. Women become shadows of their former selves. They become withdrawn, timid, and uncertain.
You may be reading this and thinking, ‘Well, that’s definitely not me.’ But do yourself a favour and read this blog (click through on the title). If it doesn’t resonate with you – brilliant. you can move right along.
If it does, know that you may need to handle your divorce differently and ensure that your solicitor understands how to handle high conflict divorce without inadvertently making it worse! Knowing this from the outset is a hugely important first step.
It’s important to remember that divorce doesn’t say anything about you as a person. Divorce doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It doesn’t mean you are a bad mother.
Divorce means that your life is changing. How you frame it is up to you. You decide what it means or doesn’t mean for yourself. It can mean you’re stepping into the strong, playful woman you once were. It can mean you’re finding strength you never realised you had. You get to tell this story and this blog will help you do just that.
The grieving process in divorce, or any other life difficulty, is not linear. You may find yourself moving backwards and forwards for a long time. You may find yourself stuck at points too. This is all normal.
Often you’ll feel like your moving forward, making progress and then boom, something happens and one of you changes your mind about something. Quite often you’ll find you are in a different part of the cycle to your ex – and being aware of this can be helpful in ensuring communication stays on track.
When emotions are involved you should expect the unexpected. Knowing that you are likely to feel like you’re on the world’s loopiest rollercoaster means you won’t have a meltdown when you find your emotions are running you (and your ex) ragged.
Every person going through divorce has a divorce story. It often holds you back. It often keeps you in a place of victimhood, and it’s difficult to take control from that place.
The thing is, you may not realise your story is a story rather than ‘the absolute truth’ because you repeat it so often to anyone who’ll listen. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t bad, it’s just not helpful. This blog can help you get some distance and move forward.
It’s important to remember that there are two sides to every divorce. The idea of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ isn’t helpful here – of course you both think you are ‘right’! And, the difficult truth is, proving yourself to be right isn’t the way to get your divorce on a smooth track. If you want divorce to happen, you need to be able to see both sides and move forward.
You’ll easily come a cropper if you ignore how your soon-to-be-ex thinks and feels. As you proceed with your divorce you need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their case as well as your own. That way you can best plan, mitigate, and find solutions.
Let’s finish this round-up on a high! The ladies in the Absolute Academy love to remind me how I’ve helped them become the CEO of their divorce. Seeing yourself as the CEO supports you to feel that you’re in charge of you and not that divorce has the power over you. See your divorce as something that is happening for you (for your greater good) and not something that is happening to you (over which you have no control). And make your decisions from that empowered place.
The decision to divorce
Deciding to divorce is a big step. If you are safe, take the time you need. Recognise that the emotions you feel are normal. Guilt, grief, fear, shame, sadness, anger – they are all a healthy part of the divorce process.
Know that you can choose to honour your own feelings and that divorce does not make you a bad or weak person. You have the power to decide what’s best for you for now and in your future. If you want help with any part of the divorce journey, from making the decision, to working through emotions, to navigating legal and financial processes, reach out.
I can support you every step of the way as you become CEO of your own divorce – and life. Just book in a free call here.
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