It is one of the most devastating times of your life. Your marriage is ending, you are getting a divorce. That which you thought would never happen is, indeed, happening. I have been there. I have done that. And I have one piece of advice:
Don’t go through it alone.
Divorce is the catalyst to depression, destructive habits, regrettable decisions, family division, and a whole host of pitfalls. The decisions you make at the beginning and during a divorce can set the stage for the remainder of your life.
When you go through a divorce there are three main issues that need to be addressed: Financial and legal issues, emotional issues, and family issues. A good lawyer and a good accountant can help you with the first set. However, emotional and family isues are beyond their scope. So where do you turn?
Therapists are fantastic at what they do, which is look at unresolved issues from your past. However, divorce is a problem in your present.
A good friend or family member?
While they will undoubtedly be an excellent support for you during this time, they may be ill-equipped to help you navigate the tricky waters of a divorce.
My suggestion (although, at this point it may sound completely self-serving) is to hire a divorce coach. He or she has been there, and worked with many others who have been there. A certified coach is trained and equipped in helping divorced people heal, and give you a strategy to move forward to a better outcome.
As a divorce coach, I help my client’s progress through four distinct steps…
The Initial Shock. When a marriage ends, it is a death. And with a death comes grief. Many describe the first few weeks like being in a fog. Waking up to new reality everyday takes some orientation. You need to take care of immediate needs while going through a very real grief process. Talking with someone who completely understands what you are going through will provide peace and strength.
Getting through the divorce process. The divorce process can be grueling. Hopefully you have great legal help, but a lawyer doesn’t have the time or the inclination to help you process your feelings. A divorce coach can help. Other issues come into play also: plotting a new relationship with my soon-to-be-ex, becoming a single parent, adjusting to new living conditions and finances, coping with major life changes. A divorce coach will take you by the arm and steer you clear of the mine fields.
Moving forward. Divorce is not only and end, it is a beginning. It is important to see it as a new opportunity in your life. A divorce coach can help you clarify your needs and your desires, set new goals, and plan a strategy to see those goals realized; to understand there is life after divorce, and to have someone encouraging you to look out the windshield instead of the rear view mirror. You realize there can be joy in life again.
Embracing a new life and new possibilities. As you heal, you’ll begin to embrace your new life and the new set of challenges it brings. Co-parenting your children. A healthy relationship with your ex-spouse. Dating again! Blended family issues.
The point is, healing cannot be left to chance. It is vital to recover appropriately. There is life after divorce, and your deserve it.
Sound good? Good. Let’s get started.