I have been divorced for seven years and have learned a few lessons along the way.
When I first got divorced most things seemed monumental. I had to learn when to step back and when to charge ahead. I sometimes felt like I was in a fog and relied too much on others.
When visitation deteriorated post-divorce, I listened to my mum and other well-meaning people about just letting it go on as scheduled. Instead of filing a motion with the court to suspend it, my younger son was particularly traumatized by going to visitation a year longer than necessary.
He has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which may have been less had I heeded his demand not to go anymore.
Neither son has contact with their father or his parents. The point is listen to your gut feeling and push for a resolution to a problem sooner than later. One is vulnerable and is prone to put too much weight on other people’s opinions.
Instead of reacting, take a break from the situation to come up with a response. Reactions are hot-headed and responding is taking in the facts and making an informed decision about what to do.
One does not have to make quick decisions in a panic, but can say, “Let me get back to you.”
This also applies to family members, work colleagues, or anyone who may try to enlist your time and energy when you are running on empty.
It is not only okay to run away, but even therapeutic.
Go to Cornwall or Brighton and enjoy the sea. Or go to more far flung places to heal and rejuvenate yourself. Getting away from a stressful divorce situation was the balm to soothe our emotional wounds.
My sons and I were allowed to go on an already scheduled cruise during my divorce. The other passengers were fabulous and shared their getting through adversity stories. Walking through the souk in Tunis and
Our batteries were recharged during this journey.
I discovered how important family is during a crisis like divorce.
There was a month gap during my divorce before I could get some funds released to me and when I had to make a down payment on the house I was purchasing. My cousin provided the short-term loan of £13,200 so that I could close on my house before I received some divorce assets. I would have lost this sanctuary without my cousin’s kindness.
On the flip side, a well-to-do family member (not related to him), refused to do a short-term loan so that I could get my house. She stated that I did not know how to negotiate. You may be surprised what family members come through for you and those that do not.
Divorce taught me to appreciate the smaller pleasures in life; hummingbirds hovering around my zinnias, a perfect latte, and the bliss of a pedicure.
When I was enduring a bad marriage, I was focused on survival, not bits of joy. Consider thinking of several things a day for which you are thankful. This helps to not take kindnesses for granted. Or pay attention to what increases your happiness and plan these regularly into your schedule. Fun and laughter have health benefits and decrease my headaches. Meeting friends is a necessity and not an indulgence.
Divorce teaches assertiveness. I stand up to people whom I think are taking advantage of me or someone else.
When a former boss put a false allegation into my yearly review I went to the Human Resource Department to lodge a rebuttal. I sent the boss a polite note pointing out her error. I did get input from a few colleagues first, to make sure that I was on target and not overreacting.
When a garage botched a co-worker’s car repair, I called them and demanded that they fix it (they did).
Going through a divorce has increased my social and professional networks. At first the pool of friends shrinks, but then expands as we meet new people. Post-divorce is an adventure with many twists and turns.
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Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certified in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 200 published articles.
She is a guest on radio programs in the US and UK. Her website is globalguidetodivorce.com.