Survive a Divorce

How to Survive a Divorce

If you can’t find the light at the end of the tunnel, it may be because you are the light?   Author Unknown

The first weeks and months after the end of your marriage are the toughest. Unfortunately there is no magic bullet to survive a divorce. Likely a separation will be the immediate situation and as soon as you can, make a list of specific items that need to be addressed to do with your separation. Systematically go through them, one at a time.

Separation List

  • Do you need to change the locks?
    • Consider ‘rules’ for access to your home – can your ex-spouse let themselves in without knocking?
  • Change account details for:
    • electric company
    • gas company
    • house phone
    • internet
    • cell phones
    • household insurance (joint property separate)
    • car title and insurance (unless joint property)
  • Make a list of divorce attorneys / divorce lawyers
    • Make a separate list of divorce questions
    • Perhaps consider legal separation vs divorce at this stage
  • Make an appointment to speak to your children’s school principal
    • Alert your school so they can manage the effects of divorce on children.
    • Are there divorce and child custody issues involved here?
  • Choose someone for you to get advice from:
    • Source of divorce advice for women
    • Or divorce advice for men
  • Consider your income over the next few months:
    • Interim financial advice is important – divorce financial planners can advise you on available sources of income
  • Make an appointment with your doctor
    • Short term, your doctor may prescribe you pills to help relieve your symptoms. In the very short term, this may be very helpful.

Hang in there.

Luckily the psyche is stronger than we think and if we can survive these early days then we will adapt. Part of you may want to stick your head in the sand and take a time out. Chances are that a better time to do this will be after completing your initial separation list.

Nurture Yourself

  • Find ways to RE-CONNECT with yourself. Who are you really? What do you think? What activities did you enjoy as a child / teenager?
  • Volunteer – giving is a very real need and, miraculously, giving to others will fill your need to be given to equally.
  • Treat yourself at least once a day – to your favourite chocolate, a magazine you wouldn’t normally read, a glass of wine, a bubble bath, ten minutes with your face in the sun, an hour with your favourite book or TV program at bedtime
  • Subscribe to several free but personalized email services – such as a horoscope, daily love tarot, newsletters for a hobby and alternative health, daily quotes and jokes (use Google to find these services). It’s nice to find email in your inbox.
  • Schedule a social event each day – schedule a coffee or lunch date – to start with alone or with a take-out cup on a park bench. Eventually consider online dating.
  • Join a class in your favourite hobby (or something you’ve always wanted to do). Your local community center may have a special inexpensive pass you could access.
  • Try Laughter Yoga – tears of sorrow are just as acceptable as tears of joy. 
  • Bedtime Treat – something to look forward to. Design a ritual for yourself around bedtime with hot chocolate, a good book or one episode of a TV show (these are shorter than movies)  

Put one foot after the other    Take baby steps    Fake it till you make it

Above all, CONNECT – With yourself. Connect with those you love – let them love you! Connect with your community and friends you may have lost touch with.

Cautionary note: Take care not to lean too heavily on any one particular friend. This can be a difficult time all round. Try not to spend more than a few minutes talking about your divorce and situation with any one friend.

A counsellor is the ultimate luxury: spend every minute of your time with them talking about anything you choose (including your divorce). Email counselling is the least expensive private counselling available. Free counselling may be available through a local church or community centre – ASK!

Good luck!