There is no denying that going through a divorce is one of the most difficult and stressful events you can encounter. The process can be draining emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially. Facing the challenges head-on will not make it easier, but it can help you prepare for turbulent moments and provide some resolve as you weather the storm.
A recent slideshow by Wendy Robinson on CafeMom.com outlined the hardest moments experience by 16 divorced women. “From having to break the news to friends and family to needing to figure out how to start life over, there were plenty of tough times during the divorce process,” Robinson writes. “The good news being that all these women got through it.”
Here are five of the hardest divorce moments and tips for how to overcome them:
Money Stress. Splitting assets is sometimes more difficult than splitting hearts. This anxiety can be compounded when the process of divorce reveals that your spouse has been covering up spending habits, such as gambling or extravagant purchases.
Tip: Get professional guidance. If you are not working with a professional investment manager or financial advisor, it’s time to start. Sitting down with a non-biased third party can bring clarity when creating a budget and establishing long- and short-term savings plans.
Telling the Kids/Family: It’s one thing to realize that your marriage is over, it’s another to share that news with those closest to you. Telling your children that Mom and Dad are splitting is often the most difficult moment for divorcing parents.
Tip: Don’t go it alone. Prepare for “the talk” by consulting with trusted friends or your therapist about the best ways to break the news. Try not to manage your children/family members/friends’ reactions. Remember they are just hearing this news for the first time and need an opportunity to process it. Finally, keep it simple. Less is more when first introducing the idea of your divorce to others. There is no need for lengthy explanations or excuses particularly with your children. They don’t need to know the details, but do need to know you will all be okay.
Moving Out: Whether you or your spouse are vacating your home, or you are liquidating your real estate in order to gain a fresh start, changing residences is a major stressor that can bring up a lot of emotions.
Tip: Make a clean sweep. If you’re the one leaving, take time to say your good-byes to your former home. This may sound sentimental — and it is. Then make an effort to make your next abode a place that represents a bright start. If you can’t afford your dream home right away, set a goal and start saving towards it. If you’re the one staying, consider repainting, remodeling or making cosmetic changes to set the tone for your new life there.
Seeing Your Ex with Someone New: It’s bound to happen and even if you are “over” him or her, realizing your former spouse has moved on can stir feelings of sadness or resentment.
Tip: Observe those feelings and let them guide you to find a resolution. A skilled therapist or spiritual advisor can help you sort through your grief. And this could be a sign that you’re ready to move on, too.
Losing Your Companion: Even when divorce is amicable, chances are you and your ex will no longer spend Saturday mornings at the farmers’ market or text each other funny cat videos throughout the day.
Tip: Sorrow of losing not just a spouse, but a confidante and companion is a natural part of the grieving process. Honor the loss. Joining a divorce support group can help you process these feelings. Then begin making plans with other friends who have similar interests. Or try taking up some new hobbies or activities where you might meet new like-minded people.