Divorce – The Emotional Aftermath
The Law Of…Coping with the Emotional Pain of Divorce
Divorce can be a deeply upsetting time in a person's life. It's important to understand that applying the right attitude to the situation will help you come out the other side physically and emotionally in a healthy way.
Jane Auty, Family Law Associate, takes you through the best way to approach the emotional problems divorce can bring.
Ask Yourself What You Need
Firstly, it's okay to be a little selfish when thinking about what you need to be happy. A painful divorce or legal separation can leave you feeling depressed, even perhaps jaded. It’s a good idea to take an objective look at what you need to be happy. Focus on the things that are in your control, and avoid the ones that are not.Ask yourself, what have I always wanted to do? Perhaps you've always wanted to
Ask yourself, what have I always wanted to do? Perhaps you've always wanted to travel, or move to a new place. These decisions now only require your own approval. Just make sure any important decisions are not made too hastily: remember, divorce is a very emotional process, so any big changes to your life style should be considered seriously first.
Try To Engage With Other People
It's tempting to want to shut out the world after an emotionally devastating event such as a divorce, and while taking some time alone to collect your self is important, it's equally important not to cut yourself off from people. Take the time to reach out to friends and family, or reconnect with old ones you may have lost touch with. Having someone to talk to in a time of emotional need is vital to the healing process.
Alternatively, consider joining some sort of club to get you out and about. Local fitness and running clubs are a good idea as they will allow you to excise while meeting new people and socialising. It's been proven that regular exercise can ease depression, so taking up a physical hobby is something to consider.
If you struggle to talk about your emotions with others, or maybe you share friends with your ex-partner and as such don’t feel it's fair to talk about the divorce with them, then you could try one of several phone lines like the Samaritans.
Charities such as this are especially useful for the times when you feel isolated and alone. For instance, the middle of the night or when there is no one around for you to talk to. All conversations are usually completely confidential as well.
Find A Healthy Way Of Communicating With Your Ex-spouse
It's important not to have any left-over resentment or bitterness toward your ex-partner, especially if you have a child with them. It is healthier to attempt to remain civil, to keep lines of communication open.
If there is a child from the marriage, then managing your finances is important for both yourself and the child. Having good interactions with the ex-spouse will make this easier to manage. The last thing you need when dealing with something upsetting like a divorce is worrying about payments and finances.
If the separation is acrimonious and there is a child involved, then unfortunately it may progress to a dispute over the child, where matters such as custody may be reviewed. If this is the case, it's important to get legal representation as soon as possible
Healthy communication will make the divorce proceedings run smoother, and will have an increased chance of an amicable relationship with your ex-spouse after it is finished. It has been shown that acrimonious divorce can end up being more costly in the long run.
If the divorce was not your idea, and you still have feelings for your ex-spouse, then it is perfectly natural to feel anxious or upset around them at first after the separation. A classic example would be bumping into them at the supermarket, caught completely off guard emotionally.
The best way to get around this is through closure. Being able to communicate with your ex-spouse in a healthy way will help to attain this and set you on the path to moving on.
If you still feel quite emotional towards your ex-partner and still have legal or financial issues to resolve, it could be worth consulting a mediator to act as impartial third-party.
Plan For The Future
Looking to the future will help you to create an optimistic outlook. Start by setting small, reasonable goals. This will help you avoid feeling stagnant or that you're getting nowhere. Whether it’s a regular chore or a new project at work, the feeling of progress will help elevate your mood.
Setting long term goals can serve as a motivator too. Whenever you have a bad day, consult this goal, remember where you want to be, when you want to be there and how you're going to get there.
“A divorce can be one of the most difficult, stressful and emotionally draining periods in a person life. It is important to find coping mechanisms to get you through. ”
“As part of our holistic approach to family law, at SM we work closely with other trusted professionals who can assist you through the process and where appropriate can refer you to life coaches, counsellors and, mediators with a view to helping you at this most challenging time.”
At Simpson Millar we understand how emotionally complex divorce can be. Our website offers information helping you to understand and navigate divorce easier. You can also get in touch with one of our Family Law specialists for a talk on our Freephone number, or alternatively can use our online enquiry form.