Your spouse suddenly walked out and now you are in shock. Where do you turn when you are about to lose your mind? You see the future as bleak and you require assistance in navigating your way around the divorce circus. Family can be very supportive. However, they may have to process their own feelings first before coming to your aid. Family may have mixed emotions, knowing you are in trouble, yet having long-term loving feelings towards your spouse.
Here are 8 places to turn when you need support:
1. Call United Way. They know what services and non-profit organizations are in your area. I was in a panic when I called and they gave me several good leads, in a calm manner. One was a particularly helpful women’s class at our community college.
2. Find a “Women in Transition” class which runs once a week for approximately six to eight weeks. They are taught at community colleges and elsewhere across the country. Speakers are brought in to discuss such topics as finance, mental or physical well-being, and moving on through a life transition. They give practical advice as how to bump up your credit score or strategies on calming yourself in court.
3. Check out MeetUp.com. There are specific divorce and single parenting groups, plus so many more like hiking, movies, and crafts. Go to the MeetUp.com web site and put in your city and interests. I am in a national women’s transition group through Meetup.com. My divorced pal goes hiking with them every week and to occasional movies. One can have support, camaraderie and try new activities. Snowshoeing anyone?
4. YWCA organization. This organization has job training and aims to empower women. They have a program for domestic violence. Some YWCAs have lodging available which can be a lifesaver if you leave in a hurry with no place to go. They often have recreational facilities such as a pool. I took swimming lessons at my YWCA for years, so check if your local one has children’s programs.
5. There are a plethora of regional women’s groups that have great online advice and support, plus offer workshops, seminars and retreats. Here is a partial list. Divorce Care is worldwide and has a series of classes in various facilities. Some locales have kids’ ones as well. The Women’s Center has two locations in the Washington, DC area with many classes. Others are The Next Chapter in Maryland, and Visions Anew in Georgia. The Lilac Tree in Evanston, Illinois has resources for divorcing women. Check your local area for women’s groups in general and divorce ones in particular.
6. Your place of worship. Some have a singles’ group with a variety of fun activities. My divorced friend goes to one at her Anglican church and enjoys the companionship of nurturing, understanding individuals. Some places have women’s’ groups which are supportive, but may not be specific to divorce. Another divorced friend basks in the unconditional love of the women’s group at her Protestant church. Jewish friends have found others in their divorce situations at their synagogues.
7. Some places of employment provide services to workers who are going through a rough patch, whether with divorce or a dying parent. They may provide short-term visits with a life coach or other professionals to get you back on track. Human Resources may have links to helpful organizations, even if the company does not provide the service itself. Take advantage of time-saving services provided at some work places, such as dropping off dry cleaning, pre-ordering dinner and other shortcuts to make workers’ lives less stressful.
8. Your girlfriends. Talking to my patient, understanding friends was what got me through this turbulent time. Some had trod this road before me and had numerous insider’s tips. Others tactfully pointed out potential mistakes that I was about to make. Some took my kids when I thought I would lose it. They are your support network. If you require more than what your friends can do for you, consider seeing a divorce coach or therapist. These professionals will listen, help you clarify your needs and devise a strategy to meet them.
Do not expect your lawyer or mediator to have a list of resources for you. I had to stumble around in the dark at first until United Way got me on the right path. Ask for help and advice when you need it.
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