This month is the 11 year anniversary of my divorce, and when I think about the last decade (plus one), I have this amazing perspective. But time has that effect.
I see the divorces happening in our community and I have so much I want to say to the people in the middle of the storm. These are the boiled down, nutshell, must know things about getting a divorce. This is what you absolutely MUST know:
Slow down-Whether you “want” the divorce or not, we all hit a point where the divorce process just drains the life and goodness out of us, leaving us exhausted, empty and panicked. Our flight or fight kicks in and we either become combative or we run for the hills. But slow down! The decisions you make right now might be hard as heck, but they will follow you for many many years. Be wise, seek wise counsel (personal and professional) and don’t be so hurried to just end the ordeal that you create a new ordeal that drives you mad for longer than your marriage.
Deal with your anger-Your ex isn’t the only one that’s a hot mess, and everyone can see it but you. Stop worrying about what “they” are doing or how they are dealing with their junk, and start dealing with your’s. Chances are you are angry, hurt and your trust is broken. You might feel tempted to drink it or one-night-stand it away, but it’ll still be there when you wake up. Deal with your emotions or they will deal with you.
Don’t answer the phone-Or the text messages or the emails, or the carrier pigeon, when you are emotional or your ex is emotional. You-will-regret-it. And you might even break a few phones in the middle of your tirade. Be prepared to set solid boundaries. Hang up if they curse at you. Hang up if they yell at you. Stop texting when they call you a name. And keep a record for your attorney if it continues. You do not have to live that way.
Things Won’t Always Be Like This-Things will get better, but it takes a lot of time, and a lot of work. I noticed a significant improvement 5 years after my divorce, but there are still times when it can be hard. But you have to start behaving in a way that allows for the relationship to be civil, maybe even good, in due time. How they act, is up to them.
But the change is up to you-Get help. Set boundaries. Put in the hard work. Take responsibility for your own actions. Don’t blame your ex for your decisions. And realize that if you think you can control them more now that you are divorced, you shall be disappointed. Pick your battles carefully and be kind even if it seems impossible.
In the end you have more control than you think, but it is not over your ex, it is over yourself and your choices. You might not feel like yourself right now but you must rely on the best version of yourself and the wise and thoughtful people around you to help you get through this trying time. As dreadful and painful as it is, it really will get better.
Trust me, I have been there.