Your Spouse Filed for Divorce…Now What?
Divorce is almost never easy, even when both parties agree it’s time to part ways. But what about when the request to dissolve the marriage takes one half of the couple by surprise? When one thought everything was fine and suddenly finds him/herself staring at divorce papers? What’s the best way to handle a divorce that you didn’t see coming, and certainly don’t want?
Here is some advice that I hope will help:
- Don’t beat yourself up. Whatever your part in the break-up, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on.
- Use this as an opportunity for personal growth and self-awareness. Take a class or join a club. Do something you always wanted to do but somehow never found the time for.
- Don’t dwell on the past. It’s awfully easy to get wrapped up in remembering how good it was. But the more time you spend looking over your shoulder, the more likely you are to trip over what’s in front of you.
- Speak to someone versed in the financial aspect of a divorce. It’s not unusual, due to the emotions involved, for one or the other to wind up in a bad situation money-wise. Ask for what you feel you have a right to, but remember that you did love that person at one time.
- Find a support group. Many churches have them, and the advice and empathy found there can be invaluable. Friends are fantastic, but they may not fully understand what you’re experiencing. The members of a support group will.
- Let go of the “if I (fill in the blank), then he’ll come back to me” or the “if I stop (again, fill in the blank), he’ll realize he still loves me.” Seldom is it that simple, and it can set up unrealistic expectations that lead to further hurt down the road.
- Join a gym. Exercise is a great way to work off anger and stress, and it might even help with the self-confidence issues that sometimes accompany a divorce.
- If there are kids involved, make their emotional health your number one priority. They need to know that they are not the reason the marriage is ending, and as tempting as it may be to look to them for support, don’t. Keeping themselves together emotionally is going to be hard enough for them without feeling as though they need to help you keep yourself together as well. Be very careful about saying or doing anything that makes them feel as though they’re getting caught in the cross-fire. Like it or not your ex is still their parent; don’t let your kids become collateral damage.
Being told your spouse wants a divorce can be devastating, especially if it comes from out of left field. It can leave you hurt, lost, and feeling like your world is crumbling around you. Your life is going to change, and if you aren’t the one who filed, it’s going to get especially difficult. But while you may not be able to control the fact that your marriage is ending, you can control how you handle it. Try to find and focus on the positives in your life, and know that, as painful as it is now, it will get better.
Written by: Tricia Doane, Rust Built, Marketing Services
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