Too tired to divorce? Here’s what to do
Too tired to divorce? At the start of lockdown did you think waiting until September was the right idea? September often has that ‘new year’ feel to it. This year the changes are even more striking. Children are back to school after six months. The world feels like it’s turning again.
So new year, new you, right? Lockdown has shown you you’ve had enough of your marriage (find out it that’s you here). Once and for all. So time to get cracking. But what if you’re too tired to divorce?
This blog takes a look at that tiredness. We see why it’s happening, why it’s understandable and what to do about it. In small, bite-size chunks – so even the most exhausted can start to take action.
Are you too tired to divorce?
This time of year brings it’s own pressure. Maybe it’s pressure you’ve put on yourself. You’ve been holding it together all through lockdown and summer, thinking autumn’s the time to make changes. But now – you’re on the floor.
Or maybe you’re under pressure from others. Perhaps your boss has turned the heat up now things are more ‘normal’. Or maybe the new routines of school and work are eating into your time and energy.
Here are 3 clues you’re experiencing extreme fatigue
The thought of change is both enticing and impossible
You long for a life where things are different. But that mountain feels too high and too hard. Do even see the mountain? There’s so much current stress in the way. You know your life isn’t what you want. But doing something about it is too overwhelming.
You’ve nothing left to give
Do you end up on the sofa at 9 pm zoning out in front of a series you’re not even that bothered about? Are you beating yourself up because you ‘should’ be doing something more productive? Or an email about PE kit from school has you in tears? Stop beating yourself up. You’re exhausted.
The whole world feels grey
When things feel too hard to change, and we hate parts of our life, everything feels flat. The world turns grey. Which saps our energy even more. That same old routine, dragging us down.
You’re not a failure if you’re tired
I’m a coach. So this where I tell you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get on with it, right?
Wrong. Your tiredness doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It doesn’t mean you just ignore it, pick yourself up and skip on. It means you’re tired. And that’s ok. It needs recognising. Allow yourself to be tired. You’re feeling too tired for divorce. And right now, that’s what it is. It’s understandable – you’ve got plates spinning, people counting on you, life pressing in.
But it’s not the end of this story. It’s just the beginning of a new one.
Here’s the truth about tiredness
Being in an unhappy marriage is exhausting. It’s exhausting because you know it’s not right for you. And that voice in your head isn’t going anywhere. However much you push it back or scratch ‘research divorce’ from your to-do list.
There’s the sort of tiredness from having too much on your plate. You know what this feels like. Women especially are raised to be wonder women, with the whole world depending on us. So it’s easy to get into situations where there’s nothing left for you. We’ll talk about how to deal with that.
There’s another sort of tiredness. You probably know this one too. It’s the sort of tiredness created when we’re not living the life we want. We are plodding through, being functional. Taking care of others’ needs. Paying the bills. All the time-draining our energy. We’re exhausted by the circumstances we’re in.
And here’s the truth about tiredness. If you’re in an unhappy marriage, staying is only going to make you more tired. You might think it’s sensible to put things off until life gets easier. But when will that be? Your life won’t feel any more energising until you are doing the things that give you energy.
So you’re too tired to divorce. What now?
If you recognise yourself here, don’t panic! You are not stuck in a marriage or life you can’t stand. But you can’t bulldoze your way out of this either – you’re exhausted and that’s the reality. So you need to work with that. Go gently. Here are some practical steps you can take to get ready for divorce. Even if you’re on your knees.
Lower your standards
We get used to how things are. We always clear our inbox or we always do the laundry on Wednesdays, whatever it is.
I want you to take yourself to a different place (away from home or your office) and think about all the commitments you have. Take a journal and write them down to get them out of your head. Who has created those commitments? And who says they have to be done the way they are now? Is it your expectations or someone else’s?
Is there anything that simply doesn’t need to happen anymore? Do you have to walk the neighbour’s dog each weekend? Is it crucial you attend that work meeting? Do you have to provide the refreshments at book group?
Lockdown showed us that many of the things we thought had to be a particular way work fine done differently. If you have tasks you can’t drop, want can you do more easily? Still have to attend the meeting – can you do it by zoom? If you still have to provide the refreshments, grab something from the shop rather than spend hours baking.
We’re trained to be superwomen so it can feel hard to reach out for help. Or we assume that others can’t do it as well as us. But what if there was space in your life for other people to take on tasks for you?
If you can afford it – pay someone to do the jobs you hate. If you can’t, collectivise. Could you alternate school runs with a neighbour to buy you some time each week? What about drawing up a rota for the book club? Could someone else handle the emails at work? Often, by being superwomen we disempower those around us. So don’t feel guilty. You’re lifting people up by letting them in.
If you’re the sort of tired that comes from being drained by life, you need to change your life. That might sound daunting. But this doesn’t need to be huge. Just doing something for five minutes a day that you enjoy can make a difference. It’s like opening a window – let the fresh air in and smell the possibility of change.
What can you do that’s genuinely nourishing and/or fun? Start small. Read a book you enjoy. Go for a walk. Make a cup of tea and sit listening to music that lifts you. Laugh with a friend. Think back to how you felt pre-marriage, and what you loved to do. What can you reintroduce from those times? Even if you have to adapt how you do it? Reconnect with the person who loves life and build on that.
If your too tired to divorce, get support. One of the biggest mistakes my clients make is trying to do everything alone. Humans are social creatures. We are wired to connect and support. And 21st century living is complex. We all have different areas of knowledge, responsibilities, skills.
So don’t do this alone. This applies x100 if you are exhausted. Get the help you need. We’ve already looked at ways to get practical help. Pay for it or reach out to friends and ask for meals, or childcare, or whatever you know will support you best.
Get emotional help. A coach, like me, provides a confidential place to talk, and to help you untangle your thinking. I can also help you make decisions and plan a way forward. Know which friends you can trust. You want them to provide space for you right now, not share their skewed advice or project their own experiences on you.
In time you will probably need legal or financial help. But get yourself to a place where you know what you’re asking for first. That means knowing what you want, and knowing where you are now. You can read more about when to instruct a solicitor here.
Prepare to be organised
You need to make space in your life for your divorce. That way it won’t be yet another demanding thing on your to-do list. It will be part of how you are living life now, to get to the life you want.
How do you do this? By creating physical space. You are going to need to get organised, so get ready to get organised. Create filing space, buy folders, label things. Have designated places to store paperwork (digitally as well) so you can make life as simple as possible for yourself.
Further down the line there is a world of difference between stressing about where you put that solicitor’s letter and knowing exactly where you can lay your hands on it. Take it step by step. Get organised about getting organised. Even if you prefer chaos and spontaneity in other areas of your life. Trust me – here you need to file!
Do your research
My Amazon bestseller ‘How To Be A Lady Who Leaves’ has everything you need to know. From making the decision to divorce, to how to manage the paperwork. Readers have said it’s like having a wise friend in their home to talk everything through. So if you do nothing else, get yourself a copy and know you’ve got a powerful tool to help you through. You can buy yours here.
If you want support getting your head around divorce, I’m here for you. Later in autumn I will be running Get Divorce Ready. It’s an 8-week programme walking you through exactly what you need to do, in what order, to get your divorce moving. You can find out more and join the waitlist here.
And if you want to work on a private basis I offer a range of options to give you the confidential support you need, exactly as you want it. Contact me so we can chat about what’s right for you.
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