Divorce can bring out the best and worst in a couple and also those who surround them. There will be friends and relatives who distant themselves; there will be those who will takes sides. There are those who will stick their nose into your affairs just to have something to gossip about or to stir up emotions. There will be those who will respect you for your decision and will support you. It is the latter that you want to surround yourself with for support as you go through this difficult time.
For me, I had my family but they all lived out of state. They were supportive and always willing to take a call from me; but it was different than sitting with someone who could hold my hand as they shook.
When my divorce took place, I lived in an area we recently moved to and did not have many friends. The friends I did have were all couples my husband and I socialized with; so it didn’t feel right to seek comfort from them.
I decided to take my comfort from a support group of people who themselves have gone through divorce. They understood the range of emotions I was feeling and they shared their personal experiences of the road I was walking. They gave me strength and hope that life would be better. Since they were not emotionally engaged with my husband and me; they were able to give some objective suggestions on how to handle situations. They also gave me the confidence to continue moving forward day at a time.
Below are some of the key points I learned:
You Need To Feel. Whether I was crying or in anger over the latest argument with my husband; they allowed me to express my emotions. They didn’t judge me because of my emotions; they quietly supported me through this. They understood that emotions are part of the healing process; they need to run their course.
It is Hard to Have a One-Sided Fight. By the time a couple gets to the divorce stage, they both have become experienced in getting under each other skin. By pushing a particular emotional button, they can evoke a reaction from the other person nearly every time. I liken it to children in a sandbox, but instead of flinging sand at each other; we fling words and actions back and forth. They taught me not to engage for the sake of arguing or retaliation. This is not say be a doormat; you can still be firm, to the point and be non-argumentative.
Treat My Husband The Way I Want to Be Treated. Go through the divorce with respect for him. What makes this difficult is that regardless how he treats you; treat him with respect and kindness. This dovetails with the previous step; overtime he will treat you with respect … it may be days, months or even years; but it will come. This is critical if you have children. Children learn more from what you do; then what you say. When you are demonstrating that you live by the Golden Rule; they will grow to emulate this behavior when they are under stress as well.
Divorce Is Business. Once the divorce process starts; it is all business. For me, this was a mindset I had to remind myself when in discussions with my husband. I was friendly; would engage in idle chit-chat. But like being at my office, I didn’t discuss my feelings and kept discussions to the topic at hand.
Following the suggestions, I found that day by day it made the divorce process a bit easier. Arguments around the household diminished over time and although it wasn’t pleasant to live under the same roof while counting down the days until our court date; it was palatable. As we came through the other side of the divorce; our relationship is amicable. Our daughter has learned that her father and I do live by the Golden Rule.