WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING (A DIVORCE)
By Team Splitsville |
February 16, 2015 | 1 replies
Splitsville Contributor: Liz Lavoie
1. SOME PEOPLE WILL SHOW UP FOR YOU AND SOME WON'T
Most everyone, it turns out, has their own baggage around divorce. Some saw their parents go through it, others experienced it themselves, some lucky dogs have done both. When the news breaks, be prepared for many to take a huge step back. The real gems will take a huge step forward. That said, whatever reaction your people have, it’s not necessarily a testament of their character. Forgive those that have to take a powder, it’s their shit they’re dealing with, not yours. You might see them on the flip side. For now, surround yourself with those who are positive, supportive, who will always tell you it’s going to be ok.
2. DATING IS A NEW FRONTIER BUT LOVE IS STILL THE SAME
Depending on the length of your marriage, decades may have elapsed since you were last on the dating scene. For me, it was 1998. In 1998, we weren’t online dating. We barely had cell phones. Stepping back into the river fifteen years downstream was, frankly, scary. “Please, please, just tell me I won’t have to meet people online,” I begged my friends. Those who had been single more recently smiled and nodded, knowing full well I’d end up trolling on OkCupid. Which, inevitably, I did. And while I worried about expectations around Brazilian waxes and fancy blow-jobs, I found the men I met (or at least the ones I dated beyond the initial interview) to be the same old guys I’ve always known, for better and worse. It doesn’t matter how you meet, only that you meet.
3. YOU MIGHT SPEND A NUMBER OF MONTHS THINKING YOUR EX IS A SOCIOPATH
Chances are, he or she is not. After knowing someone so well, so deeply, and then in one way or another being wrenched from them (whether you’re the wrench or the wrenchee, the effect is the same), alienation is inevitable. You might question your entire relationship. Chances are there were some good years. Chances are, no matter how divisive the divorce, your ex has a good heart. Try to remember that, particularly if you’re raising kids together. There very well might be a time in the not so distant future where you can pick up the pieces and reassemble a friendship.
4. YOUR KIDS, IF YOU HAVE THEM, ARE GOING THROUGH A ROUGH PATCH BUT THEY'LL BE FINE
Divorce is not a tragedy for kids. Yes, that’s what we’ve been told since time immemorial but I believe it’s better for kids to watch their parents live honestly, bravely and happily (eventually) separately instead of numbly together. We all face a lot in our lives, this is something that will be a part of their story. And they’ll be ok. Keeping that in mind, radiating ok-ness instead of watching them anxiously for suicidal tendencies is going to help them (and you). Watch movies together, eat soup for dinner, treat yourself and them like you’re recovering from the flu, because you are all recovering.
5. GET OUTSIDE
Any psychiatrist will tell you that sunlight fights depression. Get outside every day for an hour. Walk, run, hike, bike, whatever you’ve got to do but get out there. I walked every day for the first six months I was on my own. If I found myself overwhelmed, worrying about money, about custody, about how the hell I was going to do any of this, I took myself outside and walked the neighborhood. I called it Walking Therapy; I was walking off the grief, one foot in front of the other.
6. HAVE AT LEAST ONE PERSON YOU CAN CALL ANY TIME DAY OR NIGHT
Divorce means a complete reorganization of your entire life, akin to a birth or a death. It is often scary. Early on in my split, I started a text chain with my two best friends from high school. Whenever the shit hit the fan (and there was a lot of shit and a big fan at the beginning), I’d text them. Lay out what was happening, how I was feeling. Most of it was getting my fears into words. They’d text back eventually with the basic message that I was doing great, it’ll all be ok. Knowing that I wasn’t utterly alone made all the difference.
7. SIMPLIFY WHENEVER POSSIBLE
A friend of mine (okay, a guy I dated) told me, your life is a plate. You want as big a plate with as little on it as possible. All the more space for you. Take everything off your plate you can. Solve the problems you need to but shelve the ones that can wait. And so I’m not thinking about buying a house right now (though renting has not been my habit for many years). I’m not planning too far into the future. I’m taking care of my kids and earning a living, really the only two necessities at the moment.
8. CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK
You are in one of the toughest periods of your life. I’ve watched both parents die from wretched illnesses and this year still ranks as the worst. Try to keep a broad view and go easy on yourself. You’re working double-time to reboot, recover, rediscover. Don’t beat yourself up for all you’re not doing. Take note of all you are doing. And remember, seriously, eventually, it’s all going to be ok. I promise.
If you'd like to learn more about one of our favorite Splitsville contributors, you can find Liz here:
www.poopoomama.blogspot.com /Instagram: lizlavoielalala /Facebook: liz lavoie