The “D” Word – Coping with Divorce

The divorce process can be one of the scariest and most stressful things you will ever go through. The very word – “Divorce” – is ominous. And in the beginning of this whole, crazy thing coming to terms with the fact that you may be getting a “D-word”, is very hard to process. You probably have a thousand questions running through your mind. You may be full of emotion. If there are kids involved, it takes it to a whole other level.

Guess what? The first thing you need to know is that you’re not alone. Take a deep breath. You’re going to be ok.

First and foremost, you need a support system. That, of course, usually begins with your friends and family. Your next move should be to find an attorney. You need someone who understands all the laws and procedures of going through a divorce, who’s going to fight for you, and put you and your family’s best interests at the top of their agenda. You should feel comfortable with the person who’s going to represent you.  So, do your research and make sure whoever you hire makes you feel like you’ve really got someone on your side. I promise, once you’ve found that person, it feels as though a small weight has been lifted and you can start to figure out how to navigate through this.

For those of you who have children, yes, this makes divorce much more complex. You’re probably thinking, “what’s going to happen to our family?”…”How am I going to live a life where I don’t see my kids every day?”…”Are my kids going to be ok?”…”Am I going to be ok?”…”How does this whole custody thing work???” These are all very common questions and feelings. And, again, that’s where your support system comes into play for both you and your children.  It’s really important that your children know that there is a constant, open line of communication between you and them. This is not their fault. They need to know that. No matter how nasty things might get between you and the other parent, and maybe they already are right now, your children need to feel loved and supported by both of you – and they have the right to continue to love both of you.

Learning how to cope through this process is what’s going to save you. This can really take a physical toll on your body. Many people start losing sleep, not eating well, and live in a constant state of stress, which we all know is just not good. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, how are you going to be there for your kids? How are you going to be there for yourself? Take this time and maybe try something new you’ve never done before. Take a yoga class. Start getting out in nature and go hiking. Take an art class or a cooking class. Find a therapist. Whatever sounds intriguing to you to help you feel calm, and give you a little peace of mind, go do it. This will make such a huge difference in your over-all state of mind, helping you cope. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself for taking care of you.

Finally, as I stated above, remember you’re not alone in this. Unfortunately, in this country, about half of all marriages end in divorce. So there’s probably someone you know who has gone through this or is going through this. Remember, you’re not a failure. This just didn’t work out and this is your chance for a new beginning. You may have to take it minute by minute at first, and then eventually, it’ll be hour by hour, then day by day, and then one day, you’re going to feel like you did it…you made it through.

And, you know what? You will.