Deciding to divorce
By Michael Brooks
“I am so confused! Yes, I want a divorce! No, I don’t. Should I work on my marriage? I can’t stand being married! Maybe I will file! Maybe my spouse will file! I have to keep my vows! No, I can’t keep my vows! God doesn’t want me to suffer like this!” Sound familiar? This type of confusion happens all the time. The question is which side are you on? Are you the one wanting the divorce or the one willing to do whatever it takes to save it?
Whether you are the one seeking the divorce or the one hoping to save your marriage, your feelings will be all over the place. At times, you will be confused, hurt, and depressed. There will be days you will not be able to get out of bed and do the things you normally do. Going to work will be hard for you. You will be sensitive, emotional and angry. Emotions will flood your mind.
You may wonder why this thing called divorce hurts so much. Many will clam up and avoid family and friends. I remember when I went through my divorce I was embarrassed and I felt like a failure. What would my friends and family think of me? How could I tell my siblings and parents? I was numb and I felt so distant from everyone. I didn’t know what to expect minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, week-to-week and month-to-month!
I had little energy to do the things I needed to do. Everyday normal activities including working and raising my daughter were difficult. I was just too emotionally drained to do the things that really mattered. Experts say that 85% of your energy is lost during the initial stages of divorce. Whenever my ex-wife called, my emotional energy came to life but would quickly fade after we talked. The ups and downs were taking their toll on me. The big question I constantly asked myself was, “Am I ever going to get back to normal?” I knew I could not continue living in pain.
Even though my friends meant well, at times, their words hurt. I remember a close friend of mine trying to encourage me. “Come on pal, get a hold of yourself! You should be getting over this divorce! What’s it been, 4 months?” he said.
I know he meant well, but nonetheless, his words cut deeply! People who have not been through divorce do not understand the pain you’re going through and at times will say hurtful things. Do you have a list of hurtful words? I certainly do.
• “She wasn’t your type anyway! You can do better!”
• “I heard about her reputation and it’s not very good.”
• “She never treated you right and I never liked her because of that.”
• “Play the field and find someone who has the same interests.”
• “You two didn’t have anything in common anyway.”
• “She had mental issues so be glad she’s gone.”
• “She only married you for your money and everybody knew that.”
• “She filed on you? This is the best thing that could ever happen to you!”
Hurtful words can impede the healing process. At times people will impose their moral compass and challenge your resolve to recover.
Inappropriate relationships can also impede the healing process. I counsel my clients to be wary of those who would take advantage of their vulnerability. Men and women alike will use your pain to entrap you in a sexual relationship. This will only complicate matters. You need time to heal which is why I advise against new, rebound relationships! Stay away from them! How can you work on a new relationship when you still haven’t resolved the issues from your past? New relationships will only mask the real problem and will rob precious healing time needed to recover. It can also prevent you from possibly reconciling with your spouse.
What can you do to get through the initial phase of your divorce?
—Surround yourself with friends who will support you emotionally and protect you. —Find an accountability partner. Women need to find other women to confide in. Men need to find a male counterpart as a trusted adviser. I also recommend a trusted family member to rely on. Make yourself accountable so that during times of discouragement or temptation you have someone to remind you of the commitments you’ve made. More often than not, even an innocent meeting with the opposite sex can turn into an inappropriate relationship.
During this time you should focus on yourself by getting plenty of rest and exercise and turn your attention to your children, if you have them. They will need your undivided attention during this time. Write down your personal goals and what you think you’ll need to do to help yourself and children. Give your accountability partner permission to hold you accountable for your actions.
These people will be your lifesavers. Listen to them and be willing to talk about the issues they bring up. Your children will be your number one priority so get counseling for them too if needed.
Here are some questions to think about as you go through your divorce. Each week I will have questions that will help you through the process.
• What kind of loss did you feel this past week?
• What kind of emotions did you deal with? Anger, rage, bitterness, sadness, loneliness?
• Do you trust the people you share your hurts with?
• What is your biggest fear? How do you plan to deal with it?
Take some time to consider these questions and write your thoughts out on paper. This will help as you process the next steps you have to take.
Are you considering a divorce or has your spouse filed for divorce? Do you need help in deciding your next step? Are you experiencing a difficult time in your marriage and need help? Is your spouse avoiding meaningful conversation with you about the problems in your marriage? Do you want to learn new ways of talking with your spouse about the things that concern you regarding your marriage? Are you thinking about filing for divorce? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I can help you.
Please call me today!
You can go to Mike’s blog and comment on today’s article at http://www.applicablecoaching.com/blog.php
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