Thursday, February 19, 2009

Learning to Cope with Divorce

Learning to cope with the prospect of divorce is something that takes time. In life there are few if any changes that are more permanent and more stressful. That being said you will be able to get on with your own life and make it fun and worth living. One common question people beat themselves up about is if they had done enough to try to save the marriage. I can't answer that question but I can say most people who come to me do so only after they have realized the marriage was in trouble for some time. Most people have worked to make their relationship work and tried hard to save it.
I do not attribute the high divorce rate to couples not trying hard enough to save their marriage. I suspect that in earlier times many people did not get a divorce that should have. That different societal and religious pressures kept couples together that should not have been married to begin with. Yes, there are people who get married without fully considering that marriage takes hard work and the willingness to sacrifice for the family. That being said it is no argument to save the marriage only an argument not to have gotten married in the first place.
I would suggest the greatest cause for divorce is that people get married who are not prepared for marriage. Often people get married to young and they grow apart as their goals change. People often grow apart based on things they could not predict at the time the got married such as how their spouse will care for the children. Day to day issues relating to money and time are probably the number one cause for divorce.
Why people get divorced however is not my intended focus. By the time people get to a lawyer their marriage is usually long since dead. I want to discuss how to cope with the loss associated with divorce.
It is alright to talk about your feelings to friends and family. That is at least to a point. It can alienate people to constantly burden them with your problems. I always suggest a counselor or therapist.
Always be cautious when speaking to your children. Adult problems should never be forced on children. Children should be protected as much as possible. Never make negative comments about their parent in front of children. You may be loosing a spouse but that person will always be the parent of your children.
Remember it is not the end of the word. It is important to put things in perspective. You will get over this. Your life is not over.
Give yourself time. The longer you were married the more time it will take to recover. Don't expect to be completely over a ten year marriage in a year.
Except that financial it wont be easy. Lets face it costs more money to run two separate homes. You have more responsibility and less help. On top of all that you have the cost of courts and lawyers. As such a divorce takes time to get over, emotionally, financially and socially. Expect it to take time and don't beat yourself up about not feeling back to normal.
A new lover is not the answer. When it comes to new relationships if you have children you should be especially cautious of any new relations. Even if you do not have children this is a time for introspection and hard work. Adding further complications until you are strong and confident is a mistake.
Don't be afraid to go to a movie by yourself. It's ok to be alone. In fact after seeing enough movies with my children I love going to movies by myself. A good horror movie always makes me appreciate life.
Finally remember you are loved. Your family loves you and needs you. Your friends love you and need you. Life is not so bad. As Cher once said, "I believe in life after love."

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