The emotional side of divorce
As you are facing the possibility of a separation and/or divorce, a multitude of questions and very valid concerns will likely run through your mind:
- Where will I live?
- How will I survive financially?
- How will I manage as a single parent?
- How will my children get through this?
- Will I lose my friends?
- Will those friends take the other person’s side?
- How will I function as a single person?
- No one is going to take care of me now!
At these highly emotional times, the adversarial system of divorce attorneys and litigation beckons, making people believe they will be taken care of during this period when they feel weakened and unable to think clearly. Some people also believe that hiring a lawyer is a way to take revenge over the other person, or to get things moving faster, and to get all they want and/or deserve. Unfortunately the adversarial nature of litigation, is a process that is long, drags out, is most often hurtful and all too frequently becomes a costly battle where all parties end up more wounded than when they began. A legal battle will not help you deal with your emotions.
Anxiety, sadness, disappointment, anger, embarrassment, loss, fear, betrayal, panic; These are only some of the emotions that you may have been experiencing for the last many months. Communication between the two of you has likely broken down and you both probably feel frustrated and misunderstood. While one of you has already made up his or her mind to end the relationship, the other one may very well still be entertaining hope, and needs more time to adjust to even the idea of a possible separation.
Whether you are the one who initiated the idea of separating, or you are the one whose spouse is asking for a divorce, you may recognize some of these feelings. At times you may have conflicting feelings as well: when tensions arise and incomprehension is at its highest, you want out, then perhaps things calm down and you find yourself thinking that “it’s not so bad”. You may also find yourself thinking:
- Maybe you will get through this and work things out
- You must try for the sake of your children
- You made a life commitment to each other and want to honor your promise.
As you try to rationalize your decision to prolong and perhaps tolerate the present situation, take a moment to reflect if your inside is matching your outside?
Statistics say that following the death of a loved one, divorce is the second most stressful crisis people go through, and many actually think divorce should be on the top of the list. Divorce is in fact – a letting go, and as in death, it requires a form of mourning; mourning for the dream you had built together. As you consider the path of a separation, whether a trial separation, or a divorce, remember that you both need to adjust to this new path: one of you may be further down the path, and has already mourned his or her loss, while the other one is still struggling to understand.
You will have to make many decisions together about your separation, your children, your finances, your property, and how to go forward with your lives. Take some time to reflect and allow your spouse to do the same. Get information about separation or divorce, or if you think you need legal advice, have a short consultation with a divorce professional. If your spouse is ready to move on and you are not, explain to him or her that you need a little time, but understand that he or she will not wait indefinitely.
While one of you may think that you are wasting time by not starting a legal action “now”, the time that you take to let “Your Inside Match Your Outside” will prove to be beneficial as you will both be in a better place to make your life decisions together.
Separation and/or divorce can be a turbulent and confusing transition, but I’ve helped many couples just like you successfully navigate this process, and come out the other side, whole and able to move forward with their lives – I stand at the ready to help you do the same.
Family and Divorce Mediator
New York, N.Y.