Divorce – when all else fails, trust.
When your relationship ends you feel battered and bruised. You don’t feel like trusting anyone. You don’t trust your soon to be ex. Furthermore, you might not trust yourself that much either – what are the hell are you doing getting divorced? And all those people around you with their unwanted advice and opinion – who do you trust there? Divorce – when all else fails, trust explores this often challenging situation.
When all else fails, trust. And start with yourself.
Trust yourself first
It’s hard to trust yourself when you’re wondering what in Heaven’s name it was that led you to here. Perhaps you thought you were a good judge of character, yet your ex is not the right character for you.
You don’t do failing. Particularly if you’re a good girl who keeps people happy. And yet your marriage has failed.
You’re not a moaner, you’re not a quitter. But here you are. About to embark on the big D.
You have to trust yourself. Let all those thoughts and feelings have their say and send them on their way. They’re not helping you.
You’re not a failure because your marriage didn’t work out. You’re not a quitter because you are choosing your future over a life of unhappiness – quite the opposite, you’re a fighter.
Deep down, you know what’s right for you. Be kind to yourself and trust. You don’t really have a choice if you’re going to get through this the smart way. So in divorce – when all else fails, trust. Believe in yourself. Forgive yourself.
If trusting yourself is difficult it’s a sign you’re giving yourself a hard time. If your sister is saying “I told you he was bad news” (thanks sis) and your parents are telling you constantly that you will destroy the lives of your children, if your own mind is telling you you’re an idiot for getting here, acknowledge the guilt and shame that creates. And choose compassion – forgive yourself. Your marriage might have been a mistake. It might also have given you insight.
No one died from divorce. Divorce is available so that we can legitimately choose again and make better choices for ourselves and our children.
It may or may not be relevant for you to explore the reason you married your husband or stayed in an unhappy marriage longer than you perhaps was healthy. There are people who can help with that if needed. But you can choose to forgive yourself at any time.
You can put your hand on your heart and say, ‘That was yesterday. This is today.’
Forgiving yourself brings freedom. It draws a line under the past.
Build trust with your senses
Listen to yourself and acknowledge your emotions without pushing them away. That’s how you build a trusting relationship with yourself. When you make space for what’s there you get to notice. Really notice what’s going on for you and what feels good and what doesn’t. You tune into what your gut is telling you. And you become your own most powerful ally.
When you act only based on those feelings you start making decisions that are aligned with your highest values. You stop people pleasing. You lose the guilt about disappointing others, and you strengthen your boundaries. A boundary is simply a decision that says ‘This is not good for me and I am worth protecting.’ In divorce – when all else fails, trust. It takes practice and courage. And you are worth it.
Each time you act in this way, you trust yourself just a little bit more.
You no longer have to trust him
One thing I’ve seen from working with hundreds of women is how hard it is to trust yourself over your ex. It’s crazy just how programmed we are to give them the benefit of the doubt. They could have been having an affair (or multiple affairs), they could be spending money like water and giving really flimsy explanations and your brain is screaming at you “they’re lying” and yet, you believe them.
You believe them when they say they’ll be fair and deal with the financial settlement fairly and disclose everything. You trust them. Because you want to. You want to believe they’ll be as fair and as open as you want to be so your divorce can be as straightforward as possible.
And they might. And then again… so many women I work with have been let down because they trusted in their ex more than they trusted in themselves.
When you’re ready, find a lawyer you trust
Most people don’t need a solicitor the minute they decide to divorce. Many women spend several thousands of pounds going to solicitors when they’re not ready. They’re ready to end their marriage. But they aren’t ready for the divorce process.
They don’t know what they want or what their assets are. They spend all this money and nothing happens. Then they hold the lawyer responsible. It’s often not the lawyer’s fault. You keep calling, they keep billing. They told you they would.
But now you don’t trust the lawyer because nothing’s moved forward and the costs rack up. It’s not the solicitor’s job to make decisions for you. It’s not the solicitor’s job to decide whether you should divorce or to listen to you complaining about your ex. (And they might well listen – but they’ll bill you and they still won’t make your decisions for you).
Use a solicitor properly. Instruct them, don’t use them as a counsellor. Get clear on what you want, then take legal advice. Find a solicitor who listens to you, who understand you and shares your values. If you want an out of court settlement that is family-focused, don’t trust the solicitor who keeps referencing their success in contested cases.
Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t.
Build a team you trust
Trust that you are more than capable of making good decisions. The decision to end your marriage (if that was your decision), the decisions about what settlement you want and need, the decisions you make about what you want next from life. And trust you have the confidence to build a strong team around you.
And when you’re stressed, and in crisis, and all strung up with anxiety, it won’t feel like that. I know it won’t. And that’s ok. You won’t always feel like this.
And you are not alone.
It might not be your parents or your smug I-told-you-so sister, but trust that there will be men and women in your life you can share your thoughts with without judgement. There are places you can seek advice, support and just chill out.
If you’d like me as a trusted member of your team, you can work with me in a number of ways. If 1:1 coaching is what you’re after, I have three spaces left this year for full-day sessions where we spend six hours together and you receive a written plan of everything we’ve discussed and your next steps. This can happen in person or virtually. It’s a way to take time out, step back and make decisions wisely. It’s particularly useful if you are struggling to make sense of what’s happening and what you need to do first and next. Find out more here. By the end of the day you’ll believe in yourself. You’ll know that you can do this. Getting the right support changes everything.
If you know the support of other women is your thing, and you want a trusted community around you, The Absolute Academy is here for you. For a monthly membership fee you get access to the secret Facebook Group and online training portal, which includes access to Get Divorce Ready an eight week programme full of resources, lists, tasks that ensure you navigate your divorce the right way.
I’m there for you in the facebook group, as are the other members who’re in the midst of divorce too. You get a live Q&A with me each week and discounts on any 1:1 work. The Absolute Academy is absolutely a safe space you can trust. And it will move you forward, not keep you stuck.
Membership fees are increasing for new members only in January 2020 so if you’re thinking about joining, get in now and lock in your monthly fee.
Not sure about your next step? No problem. Book in a chat and see how I can help. Remember in divorce – when all else fails, trust.
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