Surviving Divorce: Part 1
Here at the Kendrick Law Group, we employ a holistic approach family and divorce law. While our expertise is centered around legal concerns, we can offer some tidbits concerning what to expect and how to navigate divorce.
Consider this narrative:
Tammy is a 38 year old mother of three. She has been married for the last 15 years to her husband, Jerry. Tammy and Jerry have two girls, who are 8 and 10 years old. The infancy of their marriage was much like a storybook. They married young, took time to travel and enjoy the early years of their marriage. They decided to have children, who they both agree are a blessing.
But then life happened.
Jerry struggled with his job, getting laid off when the market crashed. Tammy was a devoted mother, who’s main focus was caring for their children. She worked part time. Life seemed to get more and more hectic, Jerry and Tammy spent less and less time together.
Much to her shock, Tammy was served with divorce papers about a year ago.
For now, this is where the narrative ends and the discussion about adjusting to life post marriage begins. The fabric and make up of both Jerry and Tammy’s life will undoubtedly change.
Without question, coping with divorce can be one of the most difficult challenges a person faces in a lifetime. Mental health experts say the pain it causes rivals grieving the death of a loved one. Shock, anger, anxiety, depression, and disillusionment are all common experiences when first going through a divorce. It is undoubtedly one of life’s most challenging periods and with divorce rates near 50%, it seems there needs to be more discussion and education surrounding divorce coping.
While the initial phase of divorce can bring to surface a plethora of unwanted feelings, its important to consider these few tips.
Seek out a support network. Mental health professionals agree, that seeking out a support network is a crucial first step in coping with divorce. Everyone’s ideal support network is different. Some people even have pre-existing support networks that were a part of their married life. If that is the case, great. If that is not, you will have to build a support network. Don’t be shy about joining support groups, turning to the internet for support, or even leaning on close friends. Sadly, many divorcees report many of their friends cut and ran when the divorce happened. To those that stick with you, don’t be afraid to be honest with them, expressing your feelings in a healthy way is therapeutic. Be respectful of their boundaries though and don’t overburden.
On the topic of therapy, there is no shame on talking to a mental health professional. Seeking professional help in the form of counseling will help normalize the process while providing support and insight. Should you need a reference to a good counselor, please give our office a call, we’d be happy to refer you.
It’s time to rethink your self concept. There are two archetypes when it comes to couples. On one hand, there is the person who is multifaceted and independent, and the person who identifies a majority of their self concept as being a husband or wife. Divorce is hard for everyone, no matter the circumstance. However, the people who enjoy less independence often find themselves in a tough place post divorce.
Look at this brief segment in life as a chance to enjoy a period of self exploration. Take up new hobbies, activities, interests—pursue something that you have been putting off. If you’ve always wanted to learn to paint, now is the time. If you’ve always wanted to take up golf, now is the time. Find ways to stay busy in a constructive way.
Reframe things in a positive way. It is easy to think of divorce in the most negative of lights. Fight that urge and try to maintain a positive outlook.
Do things for you.
Individuals often struggle coping with loneliness. After sharing a home, after sharing a bed for many years, the thought of isolation can be frightening. As people age, they are often constantly surrounded by others. Many divorcees struggle with being alone. However, it is helpful to rethink being alone. Trade out the idle catastrophic thinking (am I going to die alone? Who will I be buried next too?) for opportunistic thinking. If you have an alone day, here are some things you can do. Trying running a bath. If you are a Netflix subscriber, there are tons of great series you can binge watch. Read a book. Go to the gym. Learn to cook. The possibilities of ways you can constructively occupy your time are endless.
Wrapping up, this is the first installment of a multi-part series addressing the human side of divorce. Divorce is far more than just a legal matter. It affects individuals and families financially, socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Divorce has the power to impact every facet of your life. The Kendrick Law Group understands the complexity of divorce. We handle all of our family law matters with the utmost care. Should you need to speak to an attorney about your divorce or any other family matter, please give our office a call. Divorce is a long and complex process. Our dedicated legal team has the expertise to help guide you through. 407-641-5847