Do You Have a Personal Divorce Support Team?

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By Mandy Walker, Featured Columnist - June 04, 2013 - Updated October 03, 2013

 

The decision to divorce is always painful and challenging and after months or even years of maintaining the façade of a happy marriage, there’s just no hiding the truth any longer.

No one likes their breakup being the latest gossip in their social network and yet going through divorce and keeping everything to yourself is virtually impossible and not a particularly healthy strategy. Divorce is isolating enough without a self-imposed exile.

Your Personal Divorce Support Team:

What you need is a Personal Support Team. These are your three or four closest friends in whom you can confide. They are the people you can call when the negotiations are pushing you to your limit – instead of shooting off a quick, acerbic email or voice mail to your Soon-To-Be-Ex that could be used as an argument against you in negotiating parenting time, you can call one of your Personal Support Team and vent.

Your Personal Support Team has your back. They are the people with whom you can share deeply personal information and be assured that it isn’t going to be shared with your STBX or used in any way against you. They are the people you can turn to tell your story.

Your Personal Support Team are not substitutes for professional advisers such as your attorney, realtor, therapist or coach but using them to brainstorm different options and proposals and to reflect will help you make the most effective use of your professional team and may help you manage your professional expenses. Ask your Personal Support Team to give you honest opinions without being judgmental and with their help you’ll be able to determine exactly what is in your best interests and the best interests of your children.

Your Personal Support Team is also the people who have the courage to tell you to take the high road when you’re really feeling bitter, angry and revengeful. They are the people to tell you when you’re in the wrong.

Choosing Your Personal Divorce Team:

Trustworthiness and personal allegiance to you, as opposed to your STBX, are the top criteria for choosing team members. While first-hand experience with divorce may be helpful, depending on the individual’s experience it may also be damaging so it’s not essential. Desirable team members are skilled at evaluating the pros and cons of a situation, are creative problem-solvers, bring different perspectives and most of all are good listeners.

As you identify potential team members ask yourself what strengths each person would bring. When you’ve narrowed down your choices you can approach each person and ask if they would be willing to serve on your Personal Support Team. Explain what being on your team means and why you see them as an important team member. If you have to persuade someone to support you, that person is not the right choice.

Don’t worry if you can’t identify four people immediately – you can always add to your team later or you can work with a smaller team. Conversely, try not to have more than four people – having more people means spending more time updating everyone, more opinions and the potential for more disagreements – not what you need at this time. This is definitely where quality matters more than quantity.

With your Personal Support Team in place you won’t be tempted to overwhelm your other friends with your divorce details, they won’t see you as being overly needy and you won’t feel guilty about ask them to support you in other ways whether it’s helping you to change your furnace filter, picking your kid from an after-school activity or joining you for a glass of wine.

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