James found out his wife was cheating on him. They had been married for 20 years and had recently been having problems, but this was the last straw. So he signed the papers he had fought against for the last year. Life with four kids was going to change, he just didn’t know what to expect. He had already endured the emotional roller coaster, and had reached his big sigh. Now what? What follows are some of the things we discussed.
Post Divorce Support
You will need support on a regular basis, most of which will come from your family and friends. You need people who are going to support you, not take advantage of you. So you may find that some people don’t exactly have your best interest in mind.
You are going to get lonely. Your routines will necessarily change leaving holes yet to be filled with new activities. Be aware of how you are coping with these periods of time, and seek out healthy activities.
Divorce support groups can be good, but be careful. Watch out for divorce support groups that are just meat lockers for lonely people, or those who can’t tolerate being alone. Believe it or not, not everyone in the room is a confident, grounded, secure individual. There will be some in there who are vulnerable and looking for someone to make them feel better. Or looking for someone to prey upon.
Post Divorce Children
Don’t make your children your new life. They have their own coping to do with this new development. Some will be sensitive, and some will be like stone. Know that they have questions they are not asking, feel responsible in some way, and are hurting.
Children have their own roller coaster when dealing with the divorce of their parents. They experience trauma from the death of what was, have different points of emotional flex, and their basis for relationships will now include a marriage that failed. Here are a few links to information about children of divorce.
Post Divorce Identity
After being married for so long, your identity has included the other person. Now who are you? Your definition of family has changed shape as well. Don’t get discouraged. You will find the new you, but it will take a while. Don’t look for someone to come in and be the substitute for the other person who is no longer there.
It will be tempting to find your new identity only in yourself, out of hurt or anger or betrayal. Don’t go there. You’re probably not going to be single for the rest of your life. So allow room for new people in your life.
Post Divorce Relationships
Wait to engage in a new relationship until you figure out who you are again. Don’t base a new person on the old person, and don’t compare. They won’t like it.
When you do decide to enter into a new relationship, talk to your children before bringing that person into their life. It can be a treacherous mine field of emotion all over again. Your children will have their own thoughts and feelings about this new person. Hear them out.
Moving on is important, but let it take the time it needs to. Don’t rush it or you’re likely to be doing the divorce thing all over again.