This post was updated on Jul 12, 2023
Most people’s biggest fear about getting divorced is the fear of being alone. We get attached to our partners and usually stay attached even when things aren’t working out, fearing all the negative effects of a divorce and dreading they won’t be able to get over their divorce. It’s common to fear separation and feel like you won’t be able to find love again. However, thinking things through in advance and learning to deal with these fears can help you get through the divorce.
People often feel like they somehow failed when their marriage falls apart, but staying in a relationship that’s making you miserable doesn’t feel like much of a success either. At least you gave it a try and learned some valuable lessons about relationships, intimacy, and yourself. This can keep you from making similar mistakes in the future. Some people can pinpoint exactly where it all went wrong, while others realize that they’re not able to stay in a relationship that has been slowly evaporating over time.
How Do I Emotionally Prepare For Divorce?
The best way to prepare for an overwhelming mix of emotions that are about to hit you is to consider your biggest fears and then find a way to manage them. Some of them might be irrational and may pass once you finally take that step, or you might need to discuss them with a professional. Some fears, however, are completely justified, but that doesn’t mean that there are no solutions or ways to prepare for what’s coming.
To make it easier for yourself, but also for your children and spouse, try to:
- Surround yourself with friends and family for both emotional and practical support.
- Do your best to treat your spouse with respect.
- Keep your interactions civil and try to avoid making any angry or resentful statements.
- Avoid creating emotional problems for your children. Even though divorce can be quite stressful and painful, try to not let your children feel it. Don’t make them take sides or involve them in any potential fights between you and your spouse. Keep your conversations with others PRIVATE so your children do not hear you speak about their other parent in disrespectful ways.
- Prepare for the financial stress as soon as possible. Staying focused on more practical matters can keep you from getting caught up in self-pity and desperation.
- Acknowledge the possibility that you might be the problem. Particularly if you kept choosing the same type of partner throughout your life, and having similar issues with all of them. If this is the case, your best option is to explore the underlying issues behind your behavior and feelings, so you can move on to heather relationships in the future.
What Do I Ask Myself Before Getting A Divorce?
Before making the final decision about divorcing your partner you’re bound to do some serious soul-searching. For most people, this is one of the most complex decisions they’re faced with in their entire lives. So, make sure that it’s truly what you want, explore your feelings and reasons for wanting divorce with a professional if necessary, talk to your friends and family, and vent as much as you need to; but also make sure to calmly consider some of these questions before announcing your intentions to divorce to your partner:
- Are you sure that your partner is aware of your dissatisfaction with your marriage? Sometimes people don’t realize what the problem is before it’s too late. Make sure you’re both aware of the issues in case something can still be done to save your marriage.
- Do you believe that there is a way to save your marriage? Do you know what it is? This is a question you need to ask yourself, but also your partner. Think about things they could do to make things better, and ask what they think you could do.
- Are you sure you’d be happier if you leave your partner? They may not satisfy every single need you have in life, but nobody can do that. It’s unrealistic to expect that all your needs can be fulfilled by only one person. Try to focus only on the most important expectations you have from your partner.
- Do you still love your partner? This prevents many people from ending unhealthy relationships or marriages. The truth is that loving somebody doesn’t mean you’re right for each other.
Sometimes you just can’t make the relationship work. Leaving someone you love is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll ever have to make, but if you’re consistently unhappy, and can’t find a solution to save your marriage, accept that there’s no other way. This kind of ambivalence is common in many relationships. Don’t allow it to make you waste years of your life, or your partner’s.
What Can I Do Before My Divorce?
To avoid unnecessary hardships for your entire family, don’t threaten with divorce until you’re ready to file for it. Your partner may get into fight mode and, aside from creating an uncomfortable situation at home, they may try to hurt you financially or find ways to get full custody over your children. This could be extremely stressful for everyone involved.
To avoid at least some of the negative effects of divorce, when you do make the choice, prepare yourself by:
- Considering the custody of your children if you have any, and trying to work out a temporary plan before the divorce is finalized.
- Minimizing the effect of divorce on your children by sharing parenting time with your partner.
- Making the divorce process more efficient by preparing all the necessary documents in advance. This will make it both faster and less expensive.
- Being financially independent from your spouse and making sure that you have enough money to support yourself and your children. The divorce proceedings can last a few months so if you’re relying on alimony, it may take a while to get it.
- Separating your finances and having your own credit card and bank account if you didn’t before.
- If your divorce is not amicable you might need to protect your interests, so look into finding reliable legal advice. And, remember that some lawyers are interested in keeping the “fight” alive. That translates to more money out of pocket for you and in some cases – your community property.
- If you’re getting divorced due to domestic violence, be prepared for things to escalate when you ask for a divorce, so have a safety plan ready. In some cases, this might mean getting a court protection order.
Get Over The Negative Effects Of A Divorce With PIVOT’s Relationship Coaching
Going through a divorce may be a relief for some people, but it’s more common to feel isolated and scared of the uncertainty your new single life will bring and wonder how long it takes to get over a divorce. You don’t have to go through the whirlwind of your feelings alone. Experiencing the need to discuss and examine your emotions is perfectly normal. You can work through unresolved feelings in one of the residential Glass House retreats and learn how to cope with them constructively.
If you feel like you might benefit more from individual coaching, PIVOT’s relationship advocates can help you identify all the warning signs that eventually lead to divorce and turn these insights into motivation to improve yourself and your relationship with your ex-spouse, if possible. You can turn the end of your marriage into an opportunity to reclaim control over your life and create a healthier connection with your feelings and needs.