This month we’re talking about the ‘D’ word. Contrary to what some jilted exes may think, no-one actually wants to end up divorced. It’s not the ideal scenario for anyone. As a divorcee myself and having worked as a mediator at Relationships Australia and in my own private practice, SbYB asked me to share some tips with you for going through the daunting task of separation and divorce.
Even though it may feel like it at the time, divorce doesn’t have to be the end of the world, far from it. Many people come out the other side of divorce happier, healthier and better for it. However, needless to say it is a very difficult and traumatic time for many.
Here are 5 tips to help get you through:
- Get couples & individuals counselling. See a couples counsellor together to be sure that divorce is the answer. There is nothing sadder than seeing someone wish they’d stayed with their partner after it’s too late. All relationships are challenging, so be sure that separation and divorce is the right outcome. You will also need support and guidance yourself personally during this time, so seek help from an individual counsellor also. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you look after yourself during this emotionally draining time. If you are in an unsafe relationship, please get help urgently.
- Get legal advice and organise your finances. Your friends, family and even counsellor may have some great advice, but it’s important to get professional legal advice from a family law specialist, to know the financial and family implications of separation and divorce. Even though you’re probably in an emotionally heightened state, make this a priority.
- Consider the kids. And by this I don’t necessarily mean, stay for the kids, as this is often an unhealthy option for everyone, but consider the best interests and needs of your children if you have any. It’s very easy to get caught up in the personal and financial issues of you and your former partner, instead try and stick to the parenting issues when considering what is best for your kids. And don’t put kids in the middle.
- Don’t bad mouth your former partner. Act with grace, and again consider your children. If you criticise your husband or wife, your child will take that as a criticism of themselves, as they are a part of them. So as much as it may take all of your strength to bite your tongue at times, remember criticising your former partner, is like criticising your child (to them), and can also make mutual friends and family uncomfortable.
- Avoid conflict. Stay calm, avoid situations which could trigger an argument and act with integrity and maturity. To be honest, divorce often brings out the worst in people. Try and remember why you loved your former parter before. There must be something you loved about them and that you still like about them. It is possible for some people to remain friends and have a healthy relationship after separation, which is particularly beneficial if you have children. Remember, you are not a failure or unworthy if you end up divorced.
Relationships are hard work for everyone and sometimes they are better of over. Your life will go onwards and upwards. Good luck !
Celina Gregory. The Mindful Mentor. Wellbeing Consultant