BY CARA WATERFALL
Don’t Be Ashamed to Reach Out to Family and Friends.
When you got married, you thought you would be the one to rise above the stats and make it work. Now you’re consoling yourself with a tub of Chubby Hubby and Married with Children re-runs, wondering where it all went wrong. The latest estimates from Statistics Canada put the divorce rate around 38% in Canada. The good news? You’re not alone. And relying on friends and family during this difficult time is the key to getting you back on the road to happiness.
Accept That There Will Be Lonely Periods.
There are no two ways about it: you’re going to be lonely. Jamaal, 34, says, “How could you not be? Many hours of the week that used to be occupied will now be free; the home that used to be full of conversation (or disagreement) will be silent. Be ready for it.”
Keep busy with new hobbies, hanging out with friends, and reconnecting with family. Above all, don’t mistake your need for human contact as a sign you should jump into another relationship.
Remember The Bad Times
It’s normal to reminisce about the good, old days. A recently separated 34-year-old said, “It’s only natural that we should hold on most strongly to the happy memories, and dismiss or gloss over the unhappy ones. It’s important to remember that the decision to split up was not taken lightly.” Divorce can turn your life upside down, but you would still be together if it was all puppy dogs and rainbows.
Cut The Cord
You need a period of non-contact between you and your ex to adjust to life “on the outside.” Although it’s admirable to think we’re all mature enough to sustain grown-up relationships with our exes, for most of us, this just won’t be the case. There’s no good reason to torture each other with phony pleasantries—unless you have kids together. Don’t muddy the already-murky waters.
You’re Divorcing More Than Your Husband.
Divorce is not only the death of a marriage, but also of some of the shared hopes and dreams. Although it can feel intensely private, others were along for the ride: your ex’s family and friends were part of your inner circle and now they can’t be. Tina, 44, remembers “how much divorce hurts people other than yourself.” She also recalls how radically her future changed: “What I thought my life was going to become was altered when I became divorced.”
You’re Also Divorcing a Lifestyle
Montreal-based divorce coach Marilyn Rackover’s first order of business for her clients is that wives become familiar with the family finances. As a divorcée herself, she was fortunate to have a husband who shared what items needed to be negotiated—like health insurance—and many women are included in their husband’s health coverage. It’s time to create your own financial identity—separate from your ex’s.
Create A Paper Trail For Everything.
Deborah Moscovitch, the founder of The Smart Divorce, encourages people to treat the divorce as a business transaction. In addition to a financial paper trail, keep a paper trail of everything that been discussed and agreed upon.
Getting Sound Advice is Critical.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good divorce lawyer. It’s important to have a trusted third party to guide you through the complexities of divorce proceedings. Your lawyer can point out the fine print—and help you understand it.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff.
One woman remembers how her friend ranted about a potato-masher that her ex had in his possession. Of course, she wasn’t really upset about the potato-masher! Recognize that the pain of divorce stems from many different things and that pointing fingers is pointless. Don’t quibble about the little things, because they may come back to bite you—and ultimately, they impede your ability to move forward.
You Are Stronger Than You Realize.
By standing on your own two feet, you empower yourself. One 44 year-old divorcée was always known as the one who didn’t take charge until she finally listened to her own intuition and left her husband. She said: “When I took charge of my life, I was so proud of myself, because I realized I could do it without his help.”
*Not her real name
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