Divorce is a major life transition. Like other transitional events, it has its challenges and its triumphs, which can result in a wide range of mixed emotions. There is typically a period of adjustment following every major life event, and divorce is no exception.
If your divorce has you feeling bewildered, you are not alone. Even professionals who work with divorcing couples can feel caught off guard when they go through the process themselves. One mediator put together a list of things she wishes she had known before her divorce.
- Holidays can be hard
If you have kids, they will likely spend some of the holidays with your ex-spouse. This can be difficult for you, but it is also an opportunity to start some new traditions. Try to avoid being alone during the holidays, especially during the first few years after the divorce.
- Kids may not tell you how they feel
Your kids may feel as though they have to put on a brave face. They may tell you that they are fine when they are really not. Their behaviors can give you a clue as to what they are really feeling.
Keep encouraging them to talk about their feelings and ask them specific questions. Understand that your divorce may continue to affect your children for years afterward.
- Negative emotions are okay
There seems to be a perception in the public mind that the spouse who initiates the divorce should feel happy during and after. It is true that divorce creates an opportunity for personal growth by creating a new life, which can ultimately be rewarding.
However, it also means letting go of the old life, which can spark anxiety, fear and sadness. Whether positive or negative, your feelings are valid. Allow yourself to feel them.
- Divorce finalization is not the end, but the beginning
There is a process involved in learning to live as a divorced person. You may have identified yourself as someone’s spouse for so long that you no longer know who you are. It can take effort to become reacquainted with yourself. It is sometimes a challenging process, but one that can also be interesting and even fun at times.