There is nothing easy about a divorce. The decision to end your marriage, whether you or partner made it, is not easy. There are a few things most women wish they would’ve known before the divorce to help them along.
Instead of learning some of the basics when it’s too late, I’m going to share 10 things many women wish they would have known prior to their divorce. Every divorce is different, but every bit of information can prove useful.
Please understand that you are not “less” of a person because your marriage ended. Everyone isn’t looking at you thinking about how your marriage failed and you must have shortcomings as a wife. Most people understand that some relationships just aren’t going to last. Many know that any marriage that comes to an end has a lot more beneath the surface. And truthfully, most people are so caught up in their own lives they don’t have time to judge yours. Either way, give yourself a break. Those who matter won’t look at you any differently, and those who do don’t matter.
2. Mood Swings
You might be perfectly fine, laughing even, one minute and bawling your eyes out the next. It’s OK. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that are rushing through your body. Feel them, then move on. Stay focused on the things and people who bring peace and joy into your life. Think about something you’re grateful for to get you back on track once you’ve felt whatever you needed to feel. Most people in your life will understand that you are going through a whirlwind of emotions. The smallest thing might remind you of something else that might incite anger or pain. In time that will fade.
Different people take longer to grieve than others. There is no set amount of time when you should be “over” your divorce. If you take longer to heal than someone else, so be it. If you bounce back soon, that’s OK too. There’s no “right” or “wrong” amount of time. It might take longer than you expect, or you might surprise yourself and feel whole again sooner than you could’ve imagined. Just take it day-by-day and heal at your own speed. As long as you aren’t wallowing in depression and are taking steps toward a confident, complete “you,” you’re doing fine.
4. Pamper Yourself
It’s more important now than ever before to truly take care of yourself. No one else is going to. Find something, even if it’s small, that you enjoy. You might have to try different things to discover what you truly enjoy doing. Allow yourself some personal time every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes. Read, journal, dance, sing, spend extra time under a hot shower, or whatever puts a smile on your face. Indulge in guilty pleasures, just don’t over-do it. Go once a week or at least once per month if you enjoy bigger things, such as pedicures, massages, or movie nights.
5. The Kids
The kids will feel some sort of responsibility for the dissolve of the marriage, no matter how much you or your ex tell them it’s not their fault. Talk to them. Go out and do things with them to spend time with them. Do not talk badly about your ex and let your ex enjoy time with them as well if he’s willing and wanting to. If you can come together to show a united front and talk to the kids together, do so. If not, reassure them as much as possible. Seek help from a counselor if their behavior changes drastically and watch for signs of depression. Kids are usually more resilient and understanding than we give them credit for.
6. Financial Homework
Do your homework on the household finances. Knowing how much money is coming in, going out, or tied up in investments is imparitive to working out a fair settlement. On the other hand, knowing how much community debt there is will help you make financial decisions for yourself.
7. Proper Counsel
Having the proper counsel will help you understand and navigate your divorce as much as possible. Your relative or friend who is an attorney may mean well, and may be a very good attorney, but won’t be helpful if his specialty is criminal law. Find a family law attorney, one who specializes in divorces, to help you get what you need.
8. Expect the Unexpected
Sometimes you think you really know someone or the situation, then get blindsided by what comes out. Divorce can bring out the worst in people and uncover hidden lies or leave space for ugly lies and accusations. Be prepared to learn truths that may hurt and to be accused of things you would never have even imagined. Not all divorces go this way, but being mentally prepared for it is helpful if yours does go this way.
9. The Small Things
Start making a list of the little things you use, such as screwdrivers, kitchen knives, snow shovels, etc. that you’ll have to replace if you’re moving out or if your ex takes them. Something as little as a can opener or tweezers can be sorely missed if you need them and haven’t replaced them. Those little things add also add up. Be prepared for that.
10. Support System
One of the most important things to have in place is a solid support system. Even the strongest woman needs help sometimes, even if it’s just to vent. Friends and relatives can be great forms of support, but their love for you might cloud the situation, turning it into more of a bashing session or one-sided viewpoint. A therapist or divorce coach can give you unbiased feedback and help you find a path and solutions that are truly beneficial for you and your situation.
Every divorce is different and some of these things may not apply to your situation. Take what you can from the list above and remember to breathe. You will get through this. The prepared person tends to fair better in divorce, as with all other things in life.