- Divorce is a huge trauma. Accept that it’s ok to be hurt and angry and that it will take time to heal. Talk, talk, talk. Confide in your friends and family and especially those who are good listeners.
- Don’t get bitter. There comes a point when it can be unhealthy to continuously rehash old ground. The past can’t be changed, and you probably won’t agree on it. Pour your heart out but then decide you won’t be defined by a past you can’t change. Take positives steps to keep mentally and physically healthy. Exercise – even if that just means walking the dog. Eat well and don’t drink too much – alcohol is a depressant.
- Resolve finances outside court. Many couples feel they must go to court as they can’t have the difficult conversations they need to resolve finances. Mediation is a safe space to have difficult discussions you can’t manage alone. The mediator has plenty of experience and will guide you through a tried and tested process. You can’t move forward until marital assets are divided. A court battle creates more conflict and uncertainty, as well as a huge legal bill. Mediation is quick, affordable and works.
- Child arrangements. Remember that divorce ends your marriage and not your role as co-parents. Your children need you to find a way to be civil to one another. When parents communicate well, children feel safe. Remember that children have a right to spend time with each parent so their relationship can flourish. Don’t punish children for the actions of your spouse. A bad spouse can still be a good parent. They may not parent how you would like, but that doesn’t make it wrong. They may not have spent enough time in the past with the children, but divorce can be a wakeup call. Think about the future – do you both want to be invited to their weddings and graduations? What can you both do now to ensure that happens?
- There’s no shame in seeing a therapist or GP if you are struggling to cope. I see a therapist regularly and it helps me to organise my thoughts and reflect on how I want to move forward. Therapy is especially helpful when you are dealing with a trauma like divorce. Therapists are excellent listeners and you can off-load without any judgment.
- This too shall pass. The pain won’t always feel so intense. Its natural to grieve for the relationship and the loss of your shared future and family unit. The grief process on average takes 2 years. Feeling angry, hurt, despondent, frustrated and overwhelmed? Your feelings are normal and stages you need to experience to reach acceptance. Be patient with yourself and kind!
Author: Sara Stoner, Family Mediator, Broxbourne & Potters Bar
Call us on 01908 231132 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or to book a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) (11 Locations: Milton Keynes, Bedford, Broxbourne, Hemel Hempstead, London, Northampton, Oxford, Potters Bar, St Albans, Harrow and Watford).
Read more about family mediation at: www.focus-mediation.co.uk