The process of going through a divorce can be one of the toughest experiences in a person’s life. You were once happy in your marriage and content with your family life. You, like most people, did not anticipate that your marriage would end in divorce. However, now that the divorce proceedings are over, it is time for a fresh start with life post-divorce. No matter the length of your marriage, you need time to mourn. Acknowledge that this time in life is a time of change. Allow yourself to reflect on the significance of this change and look towards a brighter future.
Seek Support for Yourself
Now is not the time to act like you can do it all alone. Feel comfortable reaching out to ask for help when you need it. Do not be ashamed to ask for help. Look to your friends and family for support. Find a counselor or therapist with whom you can speak openly about your fears, concerns and emotion during this transition. There is no shame in working on you.
Seek Support for Your Children
Children also need support during this challenging time. To start, it may be appropriate to inform your children’s school counselors or other school personnel of the change that has occurred in the children’s lives. This is not an opportunity to bash your ex, but rather to factually inform those who are caring for your children about what it is that your children are experiencing. Teachers and counselors may be able to assist your child with this transition. Outside of school, therapists and counselors are another recommended resource to aid children post-divorce. Children often have a hard time expressing their confusion and concerns, and parents can be overwhelmed with their own life-changes.
Move towards becoming self-sufficient. Learn how to do things you did not know how to do before. If your spouse balanced the checkbook, now is the time for you to seek information on how to take care of your household finances. Take time to plan your future and determine what that future is going to look like. If you are afraid you will not be financially stable, now is the time to look for a second job. If you have the opportunity and means to resume your education, now is the time to plan for that.
Wait to Jump into a Relationship
You need to spend time focusing on you and your children. While you may miss the companionship of your spouse, you need to learn to be on your own. Once you have processed this huge life change and have finished mourning the marital relationship, it may be time to begin dating again. For some, this process happens during the divorce litigation. For others, it takes months (or years) after the divorce is final to be comfortable moving forward in life.
Forgive and Let Go of the Past
This is a lot easier said than done. Now is the time to focus on the future and what is ahead. Put your energy into becoming the best version of you and working towards your goals (as opposed to reveling in the past). It is important to be mindful of your thoughts and actions. Make the effort to stop dwelling on the fights that took place during your marriage.
Focus on What You Can Control
The only person that you can control is you. This mantra is often helpful, especially during this stressful transition. You cannot control how your ex-spouse reacts to the divorce. Whether he/she seems elated, begins dating, or sends you longing text messages, you cannot control how he/she behaves. You can only control your reaction. You also cannot control every aspect of his/her parenting. Sharing custody of children keeps you connected with your ex-husband or ex-wife. There will be challenges during this stressful time; find comfort in the fact that you are comporting yourself with dignity and respect. It is these challenges that will make you stronger and a better, more emotionally available parent to your children.
If you or someone you know in the St. Louis, Missouri area is contemplating making this transition and is seeking divorce information, contact an experienced family law attorney. Kathleen Shaul and Valerie Craig are strong advocates for their clients in dissolution proceedings and give personal attention to each case. Contact The Law Offices of Kathleen E. Shaul at 314.499.1476 to arrange for a confidential consultation.