No divorce is stress-free even when couples mutually agree to split. It is an emotional period, often made worse because there are many issues that must be settled, including those involving children, living arrangements and finances. Couples must think rationally about the divorce process and the next steps in their lives at the same time they are dealing with anger, grief and uncertainty. This can lead to overwhelming stress that becomes toxic and adversely affects the individual, family members and the divorce process.
Every day we have clients come to the office who are struggling with emotional issues as much as their spouse. There is no magic cure for stress, but a few tactics can help stress be managed.
- Realize it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Divorce is a long process – psychologically and legally. Don’t expect to get over anything quickly. Give yourself time to deal with your feelings, think through your options and make decisions in a business-like way.
- Build a support network. Talk to others who have gone through divorce whether it means joining a support group or speaking with friends who can empathize. Sometimes just knowing that others have experienced the same feelings as you can help.
- Get counseling. Although we deal with clients daily going through divorces, we do not have the expertise of a mental health professional. A skilled therapist can provide helpful guidance and coping techniques for you and your children. Some people are embarrassed to seek professional help, but just Google “divorce” and “stress” or “mental health” and you will see it is a very common and normal issue and there are experts who can make a difference.
- Look at the big picture. Sometimes divorcing couples get caught up in arguing over minutia. This is typically driven by their emotions. They want to punish the other party or just want to feel like the “winner.” However, it is essential to get some perspective. Not every issue is worth the expense of fighting over. The sooner you can resolve disputes, the faster you can start your new life.
- Remember there is life after divorce. As painful as it may seem now, you will adjust and move on. Your life will likely improve in many ways, particularly if you had marital problems for a long time before separating.
Divorce is one of the most stressful experiences couples can go through. There is no shame in your feelings or in seeking help. In fact, the best thing you can do for yourself and your divorce is to find ways to address your feelings, make positive changes and move forward to the next stage of your life.
If you are considering or facing a divorce, contact us to discuss how we can help you.