How quickly you “recover” from divorce – if recovery is even the right term?
Plenty of factors come to mind, and I’ll bet you have your own list. What comes to my mind?
Money Makes the World Go Around…
Money is the first. If you’re worried about paying the rent or mortgage, worried about the doctor and the dentist, worried about putting healthy food on the table – everything else fades in importance.
Sure, romantics will say “money can’t buy you love.” And I agree.
But love won’t put dinner on the table or pay for a prescription when your child is sick!
Supportive Family and Friends
Support of family and friends is next on my list. If your parents are alive (and compassionate about your situation), if other family members and friends can lend a hand now and then, if you can pick up the phone when you’re feeling depressed and hear a kind adult voice – these seemingly small elements of human connection are tremendously helpful in times of strife.
And of course, when you’re in court, meeting with legal counsel, or just can’t be in more than one place at one time – a friend may be able to assist as you juggle the demands of kids and working.
A Secure Job (or Any Job)
If you’re in the workforce and secure in your job – two substantial “ifs” for many women with young children in a still sluggish economy – you’re less likely to be worried about the first factor, and possibly other elements of your personal identity.
And believe me. If ever you want to tackle an identity crisis – try divorce and layoff simultaneously! Been there, done that – and wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy!
If you’ve always worked – even through marriage and parenthood – you could be surprised at how lost you may feel if you’re suddenly out of a job.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it isn’t!
If you have your health, you’re ahead of the game! If your kids are healthy, count your blessings!
Divorce transitions are hard enough, but if you’re dealing with illness or injury – yours or that of a child – the complications may seem even more challenging: a move may require finding new doctors; changing status may mean changes in health insurance; stress is hard on everyone, and can impact our children as it impacts us.
Friends and family to console you?
Big. HUGE. They can remind you that you’re loved. They can offer a shoulder when you’re worried about your children. They can be salve to your self-esteem.
A therapist if you need one?
Also an enormous help, and don’t be afraid to reach out when you feel like you’re losing it! In the high conflict divorce, or when you’re divorcing a “character disordered” or narcissistic spouse, you may well be the victim of rampant psychological manipulations. You’d be crazy not to seek help when you’re the target of a crazy-maker.
And remember – your attorney is not your therapist! He or she is not there to hold your hand, but rather to get you divorced!
How Your Kids Are Doing
Obviously, if your ex is co-parenting civilly, and if support arrangements, custody and visitation are working smoothly, your children are more likely to make the transition well. They won’t be put in the middle, they won’t be forced to “choose sides,” and while the logistical and emotional changes are not to be underestimated – you and your ex are laying the foundation for their future – like adults.
If your children are struggling – acting out or withdrawing – or if you (or their other parent) have already moved on to another relationship, your children have more to contend with.
And if you are the one doing the majority or all of the parenting, consoling, listening, worrying, dealing with conflict and being the “vessel” that holds their anger – clearly you’ll be longer at recovery than if you have a loving “village” to help your kids along.
Love and Sex
Not to be underestimated, there are times when lovers – or love – can be just what the doctor ordered.
And who doesn’t love the little pep in your step from this energetic means to remind us we’re alive?
What Few Talk About
A factor few people talk about above a whisper?
He or she who does the leaving – not the filing of papers – but the one who wants out.
If divorce is what you want (regardless of what your spouse wants), you’re certainly more likely to be recovering faster.
You aren’t the one who was left. You aren’t the one who was caught off-guard. You aren’t the one who feels thrown away – even if you are aware of the problems, even if you feel the love was gone, even if something inside you says “yes, this is the better way.”
You are most likely the one who was able to process and prepare sooner, which is not to say that finances or logistics will not be a problem.
This also isn’t about whether or not you have someone else waiting in the wings; it is about whether or not you have the emotional upper hand – which isn’t to say that you don’t have adjustments ahead, second thoughts, and challenges with your children, and even – possibly – a tinge of regret.