Tips For Reinventing YOU When Divorcing
Q: I feel like I am married to a stranger. I am not sure that this person is even someone that I care to know, how did I get here and what do I do?
A: We all change, but we don’t always change at the same pace nor in the same direction. Think about it, if you are not the same person that you were a decade ago when you got married, why should your spouse be? So, the question really becomes are we seeing our spouse for who they really are or for who we want them to be?
We tell ourselves a lot of stories. Many of them simply are not true. When we have the ability to really see the person in front of us we can then respond to who that person is and not to our edited version of them. Conflict in relationships arises when we fail to meet people where they are and instead try to meet them only where we are and we remember them being. Growth is good. You got where you are because one or both of you embraced change. Take time to reacquaint yourself with your spouse from new eyes and interact with them based on what is actually going on versus what you remember from previous years, or what you wish were happening now. You may be surprised at what you find. From there, do a personal audit of your relationship. If the emotional stress of staying in the marriage outweighs separating then try some time apart.
Q: We are arguing about who gets the legs on the chairs and the knobs on the drawers. I am constantly overwhelmed and stressed out with the entire divorce process, how can I function effectively amid all this chaos?
A: It is hard to wake up to conflict each and every day. Stress zaps our time and in so doing our energy. When that happens we are stuck in internal conflict feeling victimized and angry. The only way to push past this is to be willing to see the chair legs and the drawer knobs in shades of gray instead of in black and white. The single most important question to ask is, “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?”
How a soon-to-be ex behaves is all about them, but how you choose to react is all about you. Practice “the pause.” Take time to evaluate how you want your interactions to play out before you comment or respond. For instance, if your goal is to have most of the furniture, figure out what other “things” may be most important to your ex and offer those freely. Look for win-wins with an eye on what you can do, not on what you cannot. Things are just transient objects, but your mental and physical health is your foundation forever.
Get the support of friends and family and a great coach to keep your energy and your thoughts focused on the opportunities ahead.
Q: My marriage is over and I feel like a total failure. Why is my happily ever after so unhappily ever after?
A: You are not a failure. Your marriage did not work. Your happily ever after is contingent on YOU, not on your marriage. This means that your happiness is in your control despite what you are going through. That said, this is an emotional time with a significant amount of change and upheaval. You need to give yourself personal space and in so doing, this is the perfect time to make yourself a priority in your own life. Too often, the person we have become as Mrs. or Mr. So & So is so woven into the fabric of our married lives that we have forgotten and lost our individual identity in the process. This is the time to begin the task of reconnecting with this Forgotten Woman or Forgotten Man.
What did you love to do before your marriage? What have you been yearning to try and never did because of your spouse, kids, or time? It’s time to play. Giving yourself space to reflect, and time to think and access your current values will help you to discover your Forgotten Woman or Man and in so doing, it will reconnect you to a refreshed version of your former self. Small steps forward toward a new and independent you.