After days and days of worrying, stressing, going crazy, and otherwise falling apart, I announced to my client that I was putting her on a “divorce diet.” She looked at me like I was crazy. I asked her if she’d ever been on a diet. Of course she had! I told her that divorce in some ways is like a diet. There are things you can and cannot do. There are tricks to surviving the process, and as a lifetime dieter, something that many people are familiar with and can relate to, I implemented a “Divorce Diet.” Here is the plan:
1. Clear your house of all the “temptations.” Many clients have files, boxes or bags of “evidence” they are holding against their spouse. Get it out of your possession. Give it to your lawyer, and if he or she thinks it’s of value he/she will keep it. If not, give it to your friend or family. It serves you no purpose to hold on to pictures, emails, letters, cell phone records, hotel keys or receipts that do nothing other than upset you. These are constant reminders of the failure of your marriage, your hurt, anger, etc. that keep you stuck and serve as triggers for “binging.” In the context of this “diet” binging may mean anything from over-eating, over-drinking, or any other behaviors that you may regret, or even worse, that can be used against you!
2. Journal/Record what you are consuming everyday. This does not have to be in any formal way or in any particular type of book. The point is to record what you are doing so that you can go back and see what works. So, for example, an entry might look like this: Yesterday I saw my ex in a brand new car. It really pissed me off so I ____(insert obscene gesture). Today I got a call from my lawyer telling me that she received a letter from my spouse’s attorney about my “vulgar” behavior. I’m embarrassed and that letter probably cost me a hundred bucks. Eventually your entries should get to the point of something like this, I saw my spouse in court today. She was ranting and making accusations. I sat quietly with my lawyer. The court officer told her to be quiet or get out. That same officer shook his head in disbelief and smiled at me. Everyone could see what a jerk my spouse is and I didn’t have to say a word. I’m so proud of myself!”
3. Get Real Support. Most successful diet plans provide some type of individual or group support. This is where the therapist comes in. If you cannot afford a therapist, find a group. There are many resources for support available. Find one! While your friends and family can provide some type of support, keep in mind that they love you and may have their own biases. They may not be able to tell you the truth or may actually add the proverbial “fuel to the fire.” Friends are great but don’t use them as your only source of support; they may not be able to withstand hearing about your divorce everyday, and you don’t want to lose that friend.
4. No Junk Food. There are some “foods” that are just absolutely not permitted-not even in moderation. These are:
Texting your ex about what a jerk, loser, cheater, liar he is. I don’t care what he or she said first or what buttons he/she pushed. Do not engage. Do not respond. This goes for email as well.
- Telling your kids ANYTHING about the divorce details or ANYTHING derogatory about his/her mom or dad.
- Posting information about your very personal and private life on Facebook or any other social site.
That’s it (for now)!