Divorce is frustrating and emotional. There isn’t a good way to get around these feelings, but being able to accept certain realities will ease this difficult time in your life.
- Divorce is a process.
- Because divorce is a process, each person will go through the steps of this process at different speeds and at times.
- You cannot control how the other side acts.
- Every case is different.
- What was okay in the relationship may no longer be okay now.
Remember that it’s not an event. The difference between the two isn’t semantics. Studies have shown that divorce is very similar to the grieving process after death: denial, anger, grief, and acceptance. After all, no matter how desired the divorce may be, it is the death of your marriage. People simply don’t get married to get divorced. As such, the end of a marriage is cause for grief and sadness. Accepting this will allow both sides to move through this process with dignity.
If one party wants the divorce and the other does not, the desiring party has likely already worked through his or her steps needed to accept the divorce. Being aware of where the other side is at will make for more effective communication and a smoother divorce. Accepting that you cannot force the other side to be at the same part of this process as you will help you cope with your divorce.
As much as you’d like the other parent to not put the kids in the middle of your divorce or have that person stop sharing the details of your case with mutual friends, you have little to no power to stop the other side from doing so. All you can do is empower yourself, learn not to react, and modify your behavior to cope with the other side’s antics. If you wanted an amicable divorce and the other side refuses to cooperate, all you can do is protect yourself, move through the litigation as quickly as possible, and then go on with your life.
With the divorce rate hovering around 50% these days, everyone has a war story and advice for you. Laws change. Judges are human. The facts of your particular case are not identical to anyone else’s. Expecting something just because someone you knew got it will only set yourself up for disappointment and anger. That being said, just because someone didn’t get something doesn’t mean you won’t. It is a far better use of your time to craft a strategy that will help you obtain what is in your best interests, rather than recycling someone else’s strategy that will help you get what was in that person’s best interests.
The rules change once you’re under the microscope of the legal system. Where one parent may have turned a blind eye to the other’s marijuana use during the marriage, suddenly it becomes a weapon to obtain a higher percentage of time with the children. You need to act as though someone is watching you at all times and consider the consequences of your behavior. No judge is going to deem your actions acceptable just because it “used to be okay.” A natural consequence of divorce is the need to restructure your parenting style. Even if your divorce is completely amicable and there are no custody disputes, you need to now start thinking like a single parent. This process takes time, patience, and an understanding that this is a new situation.