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By Irving H. Zaroff, JD LMFT and Dana Schutz, MA LMFT
The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was,
the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be
Divorce is among the most traumatic experiences people face in their lives. But, divorce is not merely an end, it is also a beginning. To welcome new chapters in your life you have to leave the past behind and learn to move on. Although many resources can help, the process is generally easier said than done. Some thoughts that might ease the way include:
Divorce’s emotional impact can last for some time. Frequently one spouse is further along in the process of dealing with the idea of divorce even before the actual divorce begins. Some of the means available to the other spouse include divorce groups, counseling, spiritual guidance and support systems, such as family and friends.
The physical separation brings a myriad of new challenges. Where will you live? How much money will you need? How will you manage? These are issues that require planning. The elements of planning are information gathering, organizing and implementing. If you never managed the finances, it’s time to learn. Again, there are books, classes and workshops that can help. If necessary, seek help from trusted counselors or professional advisors. As more information becomes available and a plan begins to emerge, it will lower anxiety and create confidence to make wise choices.
Among the most difficult aspects of a new life are settling into a new living arrangement and creating a workable parenting plan for children. Again, there are self-study materials available in books, articles, and peer support groups. Professional support may be vitally important in recognizing the developmental needs of children in divorce and working out custody arrangements with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Divorce can be like a tsunami – flooding your self-concept and place in the world with oceans of doubt. But even tsunami’s recede. The damage can be repaired and the injuries can be healed. Through the commitment to move on you can do more than just recover, you can grow.
And as long as I’m alive I can make it, if I just remember life keeps moving on – Aleta Adams.