If you and your partner have very recently decided to go your separate ways, the one thing I can tell you right now is that you will be all right. It may not seem like it but you will.
Having been through the process twice, I know that these next few weeks or months will be very likely shrouded in anger and hurt and accompanied by a seemingly bottomless bucket of resentment.
When getting a divorce, you will discover a side of you that you didn’t know existed such as your ability to be creative in how many ways you can hurt your ex emotionally and mentally and feel nothing.
If you’re not the one who initiated the divorce, you will find yourself a couple of steps behind your soon-to-be-ex-spouse in terms of accepting that the relationship is indeed over which will in turn hurt you or confuse you even more as you wonder, how come they are managing so well.
Well, the reason for that is that they have already done the processing while still married to you. There was a time they were where you are now.
You will do certain things believing deeply that they are in the best interest of the children like telling them that it’s really your partner’s fault that the family is breaking up and you would never do that to them.
You will discover what it means to have very long sleepless nights night after night, week after week, only to wake in the morning feeling not only exhausted but also even more determined to get your ex.
If you’re going through solicitors, you will at some point, confuse them for a therapist and pour your heart out to them not caring that you’re then, at that moment, paying them for a service they are not qualified to handle.
If you have lived for months in denial that this day will come, accepting that it’s here, that it is what it is, feels impossible to do. You go through moments of thinking, “I’m sure I can rescue this,” only to realise that you can’t which immediately makes you jump back on the ever rotating wheel of very powerful negative emotions.
When it comes to the children, you swear that you will get full custody of them because suddenly, in the space of what seems like 24 hours, your soon-to-be ex has become the most incompetent parent you have ever seen! Even when someone explains to you that there is no such thing as full custody in the UK, you believe deeply that that is not fair and you will change the law if need be to “protect your children.”
When it comes to friends and relatives, you prefer to consult with the ones who will not only listen attentively to everything you say, but that they also back you up so much that they don’t realise that they are only fanning the flames of your anger, hurt and resentment. Who wants to speak with the objective, sensible ones?
This is war and you don’t have the time to be either logical, practical nor fair because as far as you’re concerned at this time, those are all characteristics of a loser.
Also watch how friends will fall away especially the ones whom you believed would be there for you. When this happens, don’t worry too much about it, you will deal with it later on down the line, for now, just know that they would have fallen away anyway at a later date in time divorce or not.
You’re probably beginning to think about all the meaningless sex you’re going to have with everyone and everybody because you haven’t had it for such a long time.
You begin to hope that the guy who works on second floor will finally ask you out because now you can say yes, skip dinner, coffee and straight to his. Or you start planning how you will finally get to tell Susanna in Planning Department how much you’re hurting in the hope that she will take you home and look after you.
If you have recently decided to separate, you will be going through this and a whole other lot of emotions including fear, shock and a whole lot of loss of actual memory, which is quickly replaced by a whole lot of selective memory.
The next few weeks, months or even couple of years will not be easy but I promise you that you will get through this tunnel.
Divorce, unfortunately for some of us, is truly part of our life’s journey. You’re going through it now but it doesn’t need to define who you are just like being laid off work, which also brings on fear, shock and a sense of loss, doesn’t define who you are for the rest of your life.
You will find love again.
You will laugh again.
Your children will be fine again.
And your life will go on again.
Soila is the founder of The Divorce Magazine and creator of the online course – Helping Children Cope with Divorce
She is known for taking away the pain of trauma and loss in children, adolescents and their families and is the author of “When Love is Broken. A read-together book for children and parents going through divorce and separation.
Soila holds an MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology from UCL (University College London), is an accredited Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) practitioner and a trained Family Mediator.
Soila is Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society.
You can contact her on 07850 85 60 66 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org