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How to Cope With Divorce

by Contributing Writer

There is no denying that it’s a devastating experience to be left by a partner you really love. There are many reasons why couples grow apart. Sometimes people no longer have feelings for their spouse, or they may have developed stronger feelings for someone else. Sometimes one spouse develops emotionally more than the other and feels stifled. Other times it may be a case of wanting different things form life and suddenly finding you are completely incompatible.

How to Cope With Divorce

Remind yourself that it is not productive to focus on blaming yourself or your partner. Despite the hopes and good intentions you may have had throughout your marriage, sometimes there comes a point when you have to accept that the relationship is over. One of the most difficult things to do is separate, particularly if you have been married for a long time. For many couples the amount of time they have invested in a relationship and the effects it will have on their family are the main reasons they are reluctant to separate, but sometimes, unfortunately, it is just too late to save a marriage. How do you know when it's over? ~~ You are feeling indifferent towards your spouse. ~~ Every discussion you have, no matter how trivial, develops into a fight. ~~ You find that you or your spouse are continually dragging up hurtful situations from your past.~~ You and your spouse have changed and no longer share the same lifestyles or goals. ~~ You and your spouse are no longer sexually compatible. ~~ You both regularly disagree when making life choices to make and cannot compromise.

Stay positive and calm. The words “I want a divorce,” often come unexpectedly and are seldom welcome. But bear in mind if you have heard these words, it does not mean your life is over. If you remain calm and work to build a back-up plan you can empower yourself and get through the situation with the minimum pain. The first thing you must remember when you hear those words is not to dwell on the past and what you may or may not have done to create this situation. Blaming yourself is non-productive and will only lead to a downward spiral. Bear in mind that you are in complete control of everything you do from this moment onwards. Stay cool-headed and listen to what your spouse has to say. Arguments, threats and emotional outbursts may only end up working to your disadvantage in the courtroom which could lead to you losing your property and even your children.

Find out if your spouse really does want a divorce or if they are just using a threat because they are frustrated with your marriage situation. If they do genuinely feel that a divorce is the answer try to find out what their motivation is so that you can prepare yourself to deal with the situation calmly and to let go of any emotional ties you may still have to your spouse.

Find an attorney who specializes in divorce law if you feel divorce is the only option. Make an appointment. Be prepared for the cost of a consultation fee and a retainer if you hire them. Decide what you want from your divorce and explain this clearly to your attorney. They can’t help you if you do not explain your situation and expectations. Listen carefully to their advice and do what they advise as soon as you are able to, even if this involves discussing the next step in the divorce proceedings with your spouse. You will probably need to do this to divide your property, savings and debt and to arrange parental care for any children involved. You may also be advised to file with the court.

Discuss divorce with your spouse. Keep these things in mind during your discussion: ~~ Choose a time for the discussion. Be sure you choose a time where you will not be disturbed. Make sure children are out of the room or staying with friend or other family members.~~ Stay calm. If your spouse is getting angry then arrange another time to have the discussion when they are calmer.~~ Decide when the right time will be to tell the children and explain the situation to them together.~~ Consider family counseling, this could still be helpful, even if you go through with the divorce.~~ Draw up a list of how you want your assets and liabilities to be divided.~~ Do not move out of your marital home before you have discussed your situation with an attorney.

Take care of yourself physically and emotionally at a time like this. You may go through a range of physical reactions such as shock, shaking, nausea, loss of appetite and insomnia. Try to relax and not let these feelings get the better of you. If necessary visit your physician. You may also experience a broad spectrum of feelings, like anger, depression, uncertainty and pain, none of which are abnormal, so avoid blaming yourself for how you feel.

Keep a journal. This is often both beneficial for helping you understand the emotions you are experiencing and also to help you heal. Write down everything you feel, how you wan to move on and any questions you may want to ask your spouse. Just remember, you may not really want to know the answers.

Seek help if you feel it will help you. Counseling at a time like this can speed up the healing process and remind you that you are not alone. It can also help you to feel empowered and less of a victim. If there are children in your family, counseling can also reassure them that you are going to recover from this. Be honest with your children, they do not need to be traumatized with the details, but be realistic with them and be careful not to overextend yourself and make promises you cannot keep.

Take each day as it comes, try not to plan too far ahead until you are feeling stronger. If you are staying with your spouse during this time, avoid falling into the fighting game and making accusatory charges against him.

Items you will need
  • Patience
  • A good support network
  • A friend you can rely on