When a marriage ends, it can be a heart-wrenching and potentially bitter time for all involved. The emotional pain of divorce can linger for a long time and have a lasting impact on your wellbeing and outlook for life. It's important to take steps to protect your happiness and wellbeing.
If you are a divorcee, separated or separating, it is important to take steps to protect your mental health and be happier during this time.
Here are some tips to help you on your journey.
1. Go in to the process eyes wide open
If you are going through a legal process, speak to your lawyer so they inform you about the timeframe and the most stressful parts of the process. From talking to divorcees, we know that a lot of people have no idea how difficult and long-winded the process can be. Particularly, if it’s an acrimonious divorce it can be emotionally and financially draining. You want to be prepared that you are resourced for the journey.
In relation to this, you may want to share with a few people you trust that you are in this process and how long you anticipate that it might last. Many people find it hard to be around friends and family that do not understand what you are going through.
2. Build your circle of trust
For all people going through divorce and separation there may be a temptation to close yourself off from the world. Instead of hiding, try to reach out to others. Establish a network of friends and family who can offer emotional support. Your circle of trust.
Talking to people who understand your situation can help you process your feelings and make you feel less alone. Joining a divorce support group can also be beneficial. Sign up to fatherli if you would like to be on the waiting list for our divorce support group.
3. Start a selfcare routine
It's a cliché but it's found to work in keeping mental health issues at bay. Make time for yourself. Granted you may be juggling parenting and work and disentanglement. Either, take at least an hour out of your day to focus on yourself. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a bath, or having a cup of tea, make sure to take some time to focus on your needs. Or, on the days that you don't have kids, plan something you love doing on these days.
4. You're a different "status" now, think about what labels you are comfortable with
Going through divorce and separation is a profound identity change. Consider how you feel about your status, would you describe yourself as divorced, separated, in the process of divorce, single? It’s up to you how you describe yourself as long as it has a bearing on your circumstances. Some divorcees do not feel comfortable with that label that is perfectly fine, it’s your life and you don’t need to be defined by your relationship status.
5. Set boundaries with your ex-partner
Some people find they lapse back into a limbo stage where you are not fully in or out of the relationship which can be hard for moving on emotionally and for meeting someone new.
It is important to establish boundaries with your ex-spouse and others. This means that you respect each other’s space in ways that you both understand. Give yourself and your ex the space you need to heal and move on. Respect each other’s boundaries and avoid contact if it is too difficult for either of you. You might need to establish communication guidelines. If communication is necessary, decide on how (phone, email, WhatsApp, in person) and when you will communicate. Make sure both of you are comfortable with the guidelines you agree. It might feel strange at first, especially if this is the person you've spent years chatting to on the sofa or over the kitchen table.
Many of you will have relationships with your spouses family and friends. Try to navigate the change in these relationships with baby steps, rather than instantly cutting off. For people that you value, you may want to have a call or chat with them to understand how to manage the relationship. Consider the child if the child also has a relationship with them and you may be having contact with them via the child or event’s in the child’s life.
6. Respect each other’s wishes and needs
If your ex has requested that you stay away from certain places or activities, respect their wishes. Let your ex know that you care about their feelings and are willing to do what it takes to maintain a peaceful relationship. Equally, there may be places that you would prefer them to stay away from. Ideally you will maintain your shared friends but there may be some people that naturally drift towards you or your ex. Try to be considerate and take into account that both you and your ex might feel very alone during this time.
If you would like to sign up for support to protect your happiness during divorce or separation sign up to fatherli today.