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Nobody thinks divorce is in their future when they walk down the aisle to meet their spouse. Most marriages begin from a place of love and companionship; two people committed to each other indefinitely. Yet over time, a rift may begin to eat into this happiness. Perhaps you have conflicting personalities, goals, and aspirations. Or, maybe red flags arise after having children. Regardless of the reason, many couples decide that it is not in their best interest to stay married.
After making the initial decision to divorce, feelings of panic and confusion can follow. The divorce process can be long and strenuous, particularly if children are involved. For some, it feels impossible to cope. Others may bury their emotions and hope the entire situation will go away. Though divorce is a difficult process, there are coping mechanisms to make it easier. Here are a few tips:
1. Sadness & Relief Are Acceptable Feelings
Your feelings are going to be all over the place for quite some time. There may be a period where you feel relief, and then other moments where a dark depression settles in. Remember that all of these extreme emotions are completely normal. There is no right or wrong way to mentally process divorce.
2. Take a Break
Give yourself permission to take it slow and ease up on the day-to-day routine. Socializing, working, and taking care of children while handling a divorce can feel impossible. Do what’s necessary and let go of the rest for now.
3. Find Support
Many people feel immense guilt about their divorce. They see it as a failure, or they view their marriage as a waste of time. These can be difficult emotions to process. Find a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor who can help walk you through some of these dark emotions.
4. Pray & Meditate
Many religious people feel a lot of shame about their decision to divorce. Remember that there is no reason to stop praying or meditating, as those practices can help ease anxiety and guilt. Prayer and meditation can help relieve some of the internal dialogue that circulates in our heads. Relinquishing those feelings to a higher power can be immensely rewarding.
5. Avoid Power Struggles
Depending on the circumstances, you may have a lot of anger towards your soon to be ex-spouse. Make sure to limit power struggles or courtroom battles as much as possible. This is especially true if you have children, as they can be deeply affected by these stressful encounters.
6. Explore Your Interests
What did you like to do before you were married? Being single again feels like taking a trip through time. It may have been decades since you were on your own. This is your time to find new hobbies, meet new people, and explore different living situations. Think about who you are and what makes you happy. Try to make the best of the situation.
7. Remember That This Too Shall Pass
Every day of the divorce process can seem like a day too many. Grueling and emotionally challenging, divorces can break even the strongest of people. Take a deep breath and realize that this intense, overwhelming period will pass. Live each day at a time, cherishing the few good moments that come your way.
Getting Professional Help
For many, talking to a friend is not enough. We need to process the trauma, heartache, and depression that comes along with divorce. Find a professional therapist who can help walk you through some of these complex emotions. It will certainly help relinquish some of the internalized pain you carry.
Are you going through a divorce? Are you suffering from anxiety and depression as a result? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at straighttalkcounseling.org. One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.