Look at a dozen articles on divorce. Look at two dozen. Can you draw any definitive conclusions?
Where are the answers that will help you – as you struggle to save a marriage or to leave one, as you weigh the pros and cons of fighting for child support over the course of years, as you try to salvage a career that is being battered by legal battles, as you determine if you can move out of state with your kids, as you wonder what’s wrong with you because you can’t “move on” emotionally after a spouse has deserted?
Maybe you’re trying to decide if the grass is greener for real, or if the relationships you dream of are the manufacture of the Grass is Always Greener Syndrome.
As if the emotional turmoil weren’t enough! Disorientation feels like it’s your middle name, as you look for information, for guidance, for solace, and for encouragement.
But viewpoints on divorce are all over the map.
- You will be better off emotionally. (Then again, you may not.)
- Your kids will be better off. (Then again, they may not.)
- You’ll regain your footing financially. (Right. You may not.)
- You’ll meet a great guy / gal and find true love. (The alternative? Not!)
Here’s the dilemma. Your divorce may go smoothly and relatively quickly. You may be parting ways with only the usual animosity, but knowing you gave your marriage everything you could, as you and your ex concentrate on the best possible co-parenting.
Perhaps you go for mediation rather than battling attorneys or your attorneys may choose not to
fan the flames of perceived and actual wrongs, resulting in keeping your legal fees in check.
You may have family and friends who help during this challenging transition. And even in the best of circumstances, it will be a transition with ups and downs – certainly for your children.
But you may also have a confluence of more painful factors to contend with – a spouse who wants out because he’s found someone new, the reality of an abusive relationship that you’re finally confronting, health issues that play into the mix – yours, or a child’s. You may be divorcing as part of a military family, you may splitting at the seams from financial strain as it is, your kids may present special worries beyond the not so routine “routine” of dealing with their parents’ split.
You may find yourself struggling to get work as you transition from being a Stay At Home Mom to a Work For Pay Parent, loaded with more financial and logistical responsibilities than ever. You may find yourself back in court, when you thought that everything was neatly settled and behind you.
There is no predicting what your individual circumstances will bring. But what you do possess is this: The ability to inform yourself, to manage your own behaviors, to act as a model for your children, and to find some pragmatic balance among the positive and negative possibilities – some of which you control, and many that you don’t.
- Stay informed at every stage, not only via your legal services providers, but by accessing expert resources for your state.
- Check resources like DivorcedMoms.com, written by other single mothers who have been where you are. Find articles that speak to you relative to the stage in the divorcing process, or number of children you may have, or reason for divorcing, and so on.
- Remember that you’re the adult, and whatever you’re going through, your children are going through the process with at least as many conflicting feelings and likely more. Children want to love both parents. Even adult children of divorce seek to love or at least understand both parents, as well as why they’re terminating their marriage.
- Focusing on helping your kids doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of yourself. Don’t neglect your health, your finances, or your own need for emotional support.
As for those articles that promise the best, the worst, and everything in between? How do you interpret advice telling you to move on after a specific time, or that your children are doomed (or for that matter, better off), that you are condemned to living alone once your children are raised?
For someone, somewhere – each of these perspectives is “right,” and we can factor these viewpoints into our own experience as long as we understand they are not absolute, and they may or may not apply. We, as adults and single mothers, need to continually question, continually inform ourselves, and make considered judgments as to what and where we can learn what we need in order to stay appropriately oriented.