Surviving And Thriving During Divorce

Discussion in 'Health and Lifestyle' started by Madeline, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. Madeline
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    Madeline BANNED

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    I know, a kabillion books exist on this subject but mebbe we USMB-ers who are or have been divorced could contribute what actually works from our own experience. I had a bad marriage and a bad divorce, and later on as a lawyer, I sheperded more'n one client through similar straits. Here's a few thoughts.....

    * This is extremely difficult for everyone involved. I don't care how commonplace divorce may be, no one ever marries and/or has kids thinking this is going to happen to them. Your dreams for the future are dying, your once-loved and trusted spouse is inflicting the most severe pain and if there are kids, they are severely distressed. It's perfectly okay to feel crappy -- angry, depressed, wrathful, etc.

    * Feelings are not reality. They aren't even data about the world -- they are just your interpretation at this time of what has happened and your POV on what the future will be. You can feel bad without granting yourself permission to act or plan on those feelings. It is a choice, and most people need to make it. "Fake it till you make it" time.

    * Almost no one ever feels they were treated completely fairly in a divorce. Dividing common assets and future income arouses passionate feelings of deprivation, loss and injury in almost everyone. Your former spouse feels just as passionately that he or she is being ripped off as you do. Intellectually and from a lawyer's POV, I can tell you that absent special circumstances, a 50/50 division of assets and debt and adherence to the state's child support guidelines is best for both parties. Divorces where one party runs over the other financially take far longer for BOTH spouses to recover from.

    * If you cannot control yourself around the former spouse, seek help, especially if there are frequent child exchanges. Use a supervised pick up and drop off arrangement, or hire security to attend a deposition, or whatever. You may feel your self-control just is not up to the tasks ahead....and that's okay. Layer on the control of others until the situation you fear will end in rage is safe for everyone. (Most police precincts will permit you to use their lobby for exchanging children free of charge; just ask.)

    * If you fear for your safety around your former spouse, treat that fear as reasonable. Take whatever precautions you must to stay safe. I highly reccomend reading The Gift Of Fear by Gavin de Becker on this subject. But note: this is not the time to feed anxiety or paranoia. Fear is a friend but those two are your enemy; you need to sift through to find out exactly which it is you feel.

    * It is okay to self-medicate with alcohol or food or drugs up to a point, provided you have no history of obesity or drugs and alcohol dependence. If these indulgences begin to affect your health or functioning, it is time to see a MD and get some Rx drugs instead.

    * Beware of with whom you spend time and what you discuss. Your own family likely has one or two members who will cling to your former spouse, blame you for the divorce, etc. AVOID such people as best you can. Your friends likely all knew the former spouse and while X amount of bitching is okay, they should not be cheering you on, adding their own complaints or -- worst of all -- repeating what you've said. All such behaviors deepen your suffering and the suffering of your former spouse and serve no one's interests apart from Drama Vampires'. And for God's sake, resist the urge to bitch on the internet.

    * You cannot move on with your life emotionally until you forgive your former spouse, and unless you are saintly, you cannot forgive someone who is reinjuring you daily. Get the divorce over with as quickly as possible. If you and your former spouse have agreed to everything but one or two outstanding items, bite the bullet and give them what they want. A trial is not good for you, your former spouse or the kids if you have some. I cannot emphasize this enough and I highly recommend mediation for couples who are extremely emotional.

    * There is value in allowing your former spouse to "win". It can be quite liberating, emotionally, to let go of some hotly contested item. If you have kids, your former spouse will not be out of your life, ever. Allowing them to feel they got over a little on you will aid greatly in the future when you need their cooperation. I'm not recommending anyone surrender vast quantities of assets, but if you two are fixated on a car or flat screen tv or whatnot, letting it go will pay off big time for you in the future if you can bear it.

    A divorcing person is almost always shocked, stupified and confused. Avoid making drastic changes that are unnecessary at this time. Don't quit your job, move away or join the circus. Don't remarry! Give yourself at least a year from the final decree to make such decisions if at all possible.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  2. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    many/most who initiate a divorce already have a prospective spouse hiding in the wings.

    The divorce will eventually be over. But if children are involved you are never fully free from your estranged spouse.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  3. Mr. H.
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    Mr. H. Diamond Member

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    I'd rather not drum up the memories, so I'll just say I came very close to not surviving the experience.
     
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  4. Madeline
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    Madeline BANNED

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    I am very glad you did, Mr. H.

    *Cuddles*
     
  5. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    Another idea is NOT to get divorced. Too many couples today have the notion that marriage is supposed to be this endless blissful state -- then get disillusioned when it's not. Marriage can be a drag, but it beats a lifetime of being alone. I'm not suggesting that someone stay in a marriage that is truly bad or physically abusive, but our definition of "truly bad" has shifted a lot over the decades. We live in an instant gratification, everything-must-be-perfect, me-first culture, and marriage ain't that.
     
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  6. AllieBaba
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    Unless of course you marry an abuser. Then divorce is often the only reasonable out. The thing is...more women get killed when they leave an abuser than at any other time. I remind people of this when they piss and moan about abused women who won't leave their partner. They are at no greater risk than when they actually leave the household.
     
  7. California Girl
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    Don't use your kids as a weapon. Do what is right by them, not for yourself.
     
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  8. Big Fitz
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    Big Fitz User Quit *****

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    Sometimes the best way to love someone is to let them go. The wounds too septic. The bones too broken. The feeling is still there and it's killing you. So it's best to let them go in hopes that something can be salvaged for the two of you and you can come out stronger missing a piece than dying from not knowing when to let go.
     
  9. Big Fitz
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    The Dr. Laura 3 "A"s of Divorce, Abuse, Addiction, Alcoholism. Good rules to live by.
     
  10. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Marriage liscences should have to be renewed periodically by mutual consent just like any other liscence.

    Say after the first 6 months, Then annually after that.
     

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