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Divorce in its very basic form is the taking apart of what is familiar and the undoing of life and relationships as they were. It’s not just ending a relationship with your ex. It is changing the whole context of your life. That change makes room for a new beginning, but it is vital to recognize that it is not just your marital status that is changing, it is your life as you have known it.
Like any change, divorce is a process, that although unique to each situation, has common characteristics. Depending on different factors such as the length of the marriage, the circumstances of the divorce, whether there are custody issues, financial issues-you can assume that going through all these changes will bring about a wide range of intense emotions. These can range from fear, anger, jealousy, depression, feelings of “going crazy” (how many ways can you find to look at your ex’s Facebook page?)
The important thing to recognize is that these intense emotional feelings are not what you traded your old life for, but instead are a process that you must go through to get to the better, stable, happier place that can await you.
Your whole world has just imploded. Whether you are the one that wanted the divorce or were blindsided by your partner coming to you with this, you are going to need to assemble your emotional team. The tricky part is that in the great majority of divorces, friends and family, despite best intentions, are not able to remain neutral. The odds of “sides” being picked increase with the difficulty of the divorce. Find your team early on.
You, your ex and your family don’t need to become the drama of the town. It is very tempting when you are feeling wronged and angry to want to present your truth to everyone to “prove” that you were wronged. Your butcher, the mailman and the soccer coach don’t need to hear what a jerk you soon to be ex has been. Remember discretion.
Remember when you were married and you wouldn’t disclose every intimate piece of information about your life? Don’t over share now that you are becoming unmarried. Your salary, your debts, investments, your sexual habits while you were married- be careful the level of detail in which you purge yourself to others.
You might feel temporarily better after dumping all the ugly on someone but people form judgements and unless on your inner emotional team, people don’t need to be privy to the intimate divorced facts any more than they were to the intimate married life facts you once had boundaries with.
Sometimes it is necessary to feel pain, anger, loss and other negative emotions in order to give yourself the opportunity to work through the past and clear room to create a new future. A divorce is not only a time of great change and loss, but it is an opportunity for a new beginning. Make sure that you have done your work, so that your chapter 2 is one that you can work toward creating and living to its fullest. Sometimes, it is necessary to figure out what you actually want to create for yourself. Let yourself grow.