5 Things I Wish a Biz Bestie Had Told Me About Divorce
Divorce is hard!
No secret there, right! It’s hard in every way. It’s financially hard on you, emotionally hard on you and physically hard on you. That’s just you, but if you throw in kids to the mix of a divorce it’s a whole new level of hard.
I really feel there are quite a few things that I wish I had been told, but I will keep it to 5 here. You might think, “Well she must not have very good girlfriends.” The truth is I didn’t have close girlfriends that had ever been through a divorce. So while my girlfriends are amazing and were incredibly supportive they just couldn’t truly understand or give advice in certain areas to me.
If you happen to be in this same boat of feeling alone on the divorce cruise ship, know that you are not and I’ll be happy fill in for that girlfriend.
So girlfriend here are my 5 things…
Be prepared for this one! It can be a doozy if you aren’t aware of it and catch it. You’re going to get triggered. I guarantee it. There will be situations, attitudes, songs, words, etc. that will trigger you into a tailspin that takes you right back to things you felt you were over.
Let’s say there is a lack of trust between you and your ex. There may be a situation where you found out your ex lied about why he was late picking up your kids. This can trigger the tailspinof feelings you felt back when the mistrust started.
The best thing to do for this is recognize your triggers. These triggers can leave you fuming, crying or having feelings of wanting to get back at your ex. Most likely you will overreact for what really happened because you are bringing in the past to the current situation.
Before you send your ex a venomous text take 5 and think about what you are really mad or sad about. If things from the past keep popping into your head, then you’ve been triggered. You still have work to do on the past so that you can be calm in the present.
Deal with the current situation only. Leave the past there and deal with it more later. For now, look for a boundary you can put up for situations like the above of your ex being late. A new boundary could be, next time you are over 30 minutes late you’ll need to XYZ (reschedule, see the kids next week, etc)
Hello shame! This can be a dark shadow over us if you allow it. The shame of a failed marriage, the shame that your finances are now a mess, shame that you are living at very different means than you were before, shame of how or why your marriage ended.
If you want to stay where you are in life, in the relationship you have with your ex, repel good relationships and attract bad ones, then please, by all means hold on to that shame that is serving you so well.
Accept the blame, the fail whatever it is that you are holding on to shame with and say, “YOU WILL NOT DEFINE ME! I see you, I acknowledge you and know you have no purpose in guiding me to a good, happy life. I release you.” Say this again and again, any time shame wants to hold you where you are.
Honestly, this is what led me to what I do and being very vocal about my divorce, co-parenting and more. It was a way to let go of my shame and realizing that through my shame, pain, experiences and endless learning/researching, I could help others.
I touched on this very important point in #1. You are having to create a new relationship with your ex, especially if you have kids. You’re not going to communicate in the same way you once did when you were married, whether in the good times of your marriage or the bad.
Boundaries of how you will interact with each other are important not only for you but extremely important to the kids. Not talking bad about each other in front of the kids could be a boundary. Communicating only through texts could be a boundary. Not allowing your ex to insult you is a boundary.
Understand, just because your ex might not follow the boundaries you still can for your well-being, calm and your kids as well. Boundaries are set for your well-being. They keep you emotionally safe and for some even physically.
Just as kids have consequences when they do not adhere to a boundary you have set for them the same is true for you and your ex’s relationship. If your ex wants to belittle you via text then you can either ignore their text for a bit to not get dragged into an argument or refuse their texts altogether. There are apps you can use instead of texts such as Talking Parents or Our Family Wizard that would hold them a bit more accountable because these apps and their communication is accepted in courts plus easily printed.
4. Co-parenting is Harder Than The Divorce
Holy smokes! Why did I not know this or realize this?
Ok, don’t be scared by this if you are still dealing with the divorce. It’s harder, true, but in a different way. As we agreed at the beginning, divorce is very hard in every way. Once you get through that part you can now move on with your life and find happiness again. That’s a BIG win.
The co-parenting part is hard because it’s not going to go away. YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO DEAL WITH or better yet get along with your ex. There are new rules or guidelines to this relationship that you have to have with a co-parent. Navigating that can be hard at first. The boundaries help. One of the best ways to look at a co-parenting relationship is a business relationship. I know your kids aren’t “business” but keep your relationship there.
Keeping the co-parenting relationship as business keeps you from bringing in the feelings from the past. It’s communication that sticks to facts only.
YES… Little Tommy has a game at 6pm on Thursday. Will you be able to attend?
NO… Little Tommy has a game at 6pm on Thursday. Will you be there or miss this one like you have the last 5 games?
Keep it business. Keep the feelings out!!!
5. Spend a Lot of Time on the Parenting Plan
Maybe you are the one that is getting along in your divorce, fantastic! I still want you to hear this… spend a lot of time on the parenting plan!!! Plan out as much as you can. When the kids get picked up, who pays for what and how much, what holidays does each parent get and the hours of those.
Yes, it’s a lot of work to think about what should go into a parenting plan. However, things will come up where you don’t agree. One parent may not want the kid(s) in an activity and if it’s not in the parenting plan they can refuse to help pay or not let the kid(s) do the activity on their time. Or vice versa could be true. Your ex wants your kid(s) in an activity and you don’t agree they should, plus it lands on your parenting time with them and now you're ticked.
Write out those guidelines so if anything arises you both already know what is expected of the other.
Another thought that might not be on your radar right now is another person in the picture with yourself or your ex. That can change things too for holidays or other things. Lay out now how you both will handle the holidays and the hours. It will save you arguments, I pinky swear!
Alright girlfriend, those are my 5 things I wish I’d known, the things I would go back and tell myself. You’re doing great! Keep working on your communication, your anger, your feelings. You see the them there? It’s you! You cannot control your ex.
Everyone survives divorce. You will too or maybe you already have.
Would you add to my list? What would you add if you would?