Tips For Women Going Through A Divorce
From those who have been through it.
A close friend of mine recently shared that she was going through the unimaginable pain of facing divorce. I was heartbroken to hear the devastating details and all the stress and heartache she continues to endure through it all. She is not the only woman I know who has had to survive such agonizing circumstances.
Sadly, I have many girlfriends who experienced the same trauma that upended their lives and forced them to put all the broken pieces back together again alone.
No one gets married with divorce in mind. And yet, nearly 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. Many of my divorced friends were married for 20 to 30 years before their relationship crumbled into irreparable damage. They all found the courage and strength to rebuild their lives. I asked these amazing women to share their most important tips for anyone going through a divorce. For those of you dealing with this dreaded decision, I hope their wisdom and honest reflection will help give you the guidance and encouragement you need.
“After 32 years of marriage, I never would have thought this is how it was going to end. I felt like a failure and walked around like I had a scarlet letter on my back. Don’t carry that shame around because you can’t control certain situations that transpire. Give yourself the care and compassion and grace you need now more than ever.”
“You are human and somehow your relationship failed; that doesn’t mean you are a failure. Come to terms with your part in it but forgive yourself too. Relationships always take both people to succeed or fail. Learn from your mistakes — but don’t keep beating yourself up about them either.”
“Visit several lawyers. You need to find a lawyer you feel comfortable with and one you can trust. Ask around, because a personal reference is the best. You can visit any lawyer, and the first consultation is free.”
“Join a divorce care group. There are many different types of support groups for people going through a divorce. It really helps to have someone else who gets what you are going through. You’ll gain a lot of knowledge from others who are in similar situations and get helpful input and advice from others too.”
“Grieve. This is an end to a chapter in your life that will always mean something huge and significant to you. It’s OK to be sad, hurt, lost, angry, etc. Take the time to let yourself feel. Whether you do it now or later, you will still have to face those overwhelming feelings. It’s OK to feel this way. The end of a marriage is like a death.”
“Seek counseling. This was the best thing I ever did for myself. I was in counseling for a year, and she helped me get through so many ups and downs and learn how to be on my own for the very first time in my life.”
“Don’t pull your kids into this battle. Yes, they need to know their parents are divorcing, but don’t involve them in the dirty details of it all — no matter how old they are. Don’t make them choose sides either. Do your best to honor their relationship with their father no matter what is going on between you two. They are hurting and confused and afraid. Communicate to them that you will be OK and so will they. Tell them you are never going to stop loving them and being there for them. Also, make sure they know none of this is their fault.”
“Lean on your family and friends. Now is not the time to be strong and do it alone. Let your family know what you need and do the same with your friends. You may think they get tired of hearing about it, but they want to support you any way they can. Let them help you, and don’t feel like you have to reciprocate. This is the season you can receive without having to give back.”
“Don’t take on other projects and extra work trying to relieve your pain or distract you from the reality you are in. This is the time you need to take care of yourself first. You will be so emotionally exhausted that you will need more downtime for self-care. Do things that bring you joy, fulfillment and peace.”
“Forgive your ex. You certainly will never forget, but harboring bitterness and anger will only tear you up more inside, and you will never be at peace. Take the high road as much as you possibly can and make sure you show respect, no matter how ugly things get. You might have intense feelings about it all, but you don’t want to regret making terrible decisions and behaving badly out of anger. Your kids are watching everything you do. Be a good example of strength, resiliency and, most of all, integrity.”
“Don’t be surprised when you have triggers that set you back and make you feel sad or hurt all over again. It has been several years since my divorce, and I’m happily remarried — but I still relive terrible memories that haunt me and feelings of sadness and grief that will never go away.”
“Take a new family picture with other members of your family. Host holidays and start creating new traditions. You will find happiness again in your new life. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone’s journey is different, so don’t compare yours to someone else’s. It will get easier, I promise.”
Have any of you gone through a divorce? Any tips for others going through the process? Let us know in the comments below.