When a couple is going through divorce, two popular options often come up: collaborative divorce and mediation. While both approaches seek to avoid litigation or going to trial, mediation is a more effective and efficient way to resolve conflicts amicably. In this blog post, we will explore why mediation is recommended if possible over collaborative divorce.
Understanding Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce involves each party having their own attorney and engaging in negotiations to reach a settlement. When you hire a collaborative attorney, they’ve agreed that if your case goes to court, they will not represent you and you’ll have to get another attorney if you go to trial. Therefore, collaborative attorneys are incentivized not to be as adversarial and to help you come to agreement without litigation. However, you’re still paying two attorneys to communicate with each other and with you which can result in significant attorney fees.
The Power of Mediation
Mediation, on the other hand, offers a structured and confidential process where a neutral third party (the mediator) works with the couple to reach an agreement. Here's why mediation is recommended versus collaborative divorce:
1. Neutral mediators
The mediator in a divorce mediation process does not advocate for either party. Their role is to facilitate productive discussions, provide information, and guide the couple towards mutually beneficial agreements. This neutrality reduces the chances of imbalances in power and ensures a fair and level playing field.
Mediation typically costs less than collaborative divorce. With one neutral mediator rather than two attorneys, couples can save on legal fees and related expenses.
3. Greater Empowerment and Control:
In mediation, the couple retains greater control over their divorce settlement. Instead of relying on attorneys to negotiate on their behalf, couples actively participate in discussions and collaboratively make decisions that align with their unique circumstances.
4. Focus on Effective Communication:
Mediation encourages effective communication and problem-solving skills. Through guided discussions facilitated by the mediator, couples have the opportunity to address underlying issues, express their concerns, and develop strategies to avoid future conflicts. These valuable skills can have a long-lasting positive impact on co-parenting and future interactions.
5. Emphasis on Preserving Relationships:
Mediation enables the parties to work together as a unit which can maintain and preserve the relationship, especially important in cases involving ongoing co-parenting. Collaborative divorce, while aiming to reduce conflict, can still potentially strain relationships due to the involvement of attorneys.
Mediation is not suitable for every couple or every divorce situation. It is best for couples who are willing to work together, communicate openly, and share a commitment to reach a mutually beneficial resolution. It may not be recommended in cases where there is a high level of hostility, abuse, or an inability to negotiate in good faith.
While collaborative divorce may have originated as a strong alternative to traditional litigation, mediation has proven to be a better option for many couples looking to resolve their divorce conflicts amicably.
High conflict divorces can be emotionally charged and complex. Blamers and targets are terms used to describe certain behavioral patterns and roles that individuals may assume during a divorce, particularly in high-conflict situations:
In a high-conflict divorce, these roles can make it challenging to achieve an amicable resolution. Here are a few insights on managing or addressing these dynamics:
1. Seek Professional Help:
Counseling, therapy, or mediation can provide a safe space to address underlying issues and help both parties communicate effectively. Not all therapists and mediators specialize in high conflict divorces so it’s important that you ask the professional what their experience is with high conflict people.
2. Establish Boundaries
Set clear boundaries with the high conflict person. Setting a boundary doesn’t mean telling the person what the boundary is because high conflict people won’t easily respect a boundary. You must follow up with a consequence when the person crosses over your boundary. Examples of issues to set boundaries on include limiting communication to specific topics or through specific channels, when and how children are transferred from one parent to the other and how you’re going to share payment for children’s expenses.
3. Prioritize your children’s well-being
Even if you’re extremely angry or hurt by their other parent, you need to put those feelings aside for the good of your children. Speak respectfully to your soon-to-be-ex (STBX) and avoid saying anything negative about them to your children. This can be extremely difficult because they may be provoking you. Co-parenting classes or counseling are options to become educated on how to communicate with each other.
4. Self-care and support
Both parties should prioritize self-care and seek support from friends, family, or support groups to manage the emotional toll of the divorce.
It's important to remember that every divorce situation is unique, and the dynamics between the individuals involved can vary significantly. Seek guidance from professionals who specialize in high-conflict divorces can be instrumental in navigating this challenging process.
Going through divorce can be one of the most challenging and emotionally draining experiences in a person's life. There is so many things to be worried about – how to support yourself, how to be a single parent if you have children, how to meet a new partner, just to name a few. Plus, as you go through divorce, you can lose your confidence. You can beat yourself up for mistakes that you’ve made. However, divorce is an opportunity for you to grow as a person and make your life everything you’ve always wanted it to be. In this blog, we will explore strategies to help you overcome your fears and regain your confidence during and after divorce.
1. Process Your Emotions
Many people avoid feeling the pain that comes with divorce. They avoid it by doing things like working hard, getting into a new relationship or hyperfocusing on their children. In order to heal, you need to feel the pain, sadness, anger, grief and any other emotion that comes up. Journaling, therapy, coaching and joining a support group are all great ways to process your feelings. This is the first step toward healing and building your confidence.
2. Don’t get stuck in your grief
It’s easy to get stuck thinking about your feelings all day, every day. You can have negative thoughts that continue to come at you and they won’t stop:
“Why did I marry this person?”
“Why doesn’t he/she want to be with me?”
“I’m never going to be happy again.”
“My children are not going to be ok.”
It’s so important that you allow yourself some time each day to feel your feelings. But it shouldn’t be all day. Give yourself 20-30 minutes a day to do this and then focus on your life – work, kids, seeing friends, a movie, etc. You’ll be able to heal faster if you don’t focus on your feelings all of the time.
3. Set Realistic Expectations
Understand that the healing process may take time, and it's okay to have setbacks along the way. Recognize that healing is a gradual journey, and it's perfectly normal to experience moments of self-doubt. Be kind and patient with yourself.
4. Rediscover Your Interests and Passions
Divorce can leave you feeling lost, as the life you once knew changes. This is an opportunity to rediscover who you are an what your interests and passions are. Try new hobbies and activities that are interesting to you. Join a painting class, learn bridge or play tennis. Exploring new interests can help you build self-confidence and a sense of purpose.
5. Focus on Self-Care
Self-care is vital during and after a divorce. This can include regular exercise, a balanced diet, meditation, and relaxation techniques. When you feel good physically, it can boost your self-esteem and help you regain confidence.
6. Set and Pursue Personal Goals
Setting and working towards personal goals can be an excellent way to rebuild your confidence. Start with small, achievable goals and gradually work your way up. These goals can be related to your career, personal growth, or even travel. Each accomplishment, no matter how small, will boost your self-esteem.
7. Visualize a Positive Future
What do you want your life to be in a year or five years from now? Picture a life where you are happy, successful, and content. This vision can be your guiding light as you work through the challenges of divorce.
Going through a divorce is difficult, but you can conquer your fears and build back your confidence. You can do this by processing your emotions, seeking support, setting realistic expectations, rediscovering your interests, focusing on self-care, pursuing personal goals, and visualizing a positive future. Remember that healing and personal growth are possible, and an amazing new chapter awaits you.
Divorce is a process that brings up intense emotions such as anger, sadness, fear and worry. While it's natural to feel overwhelmed during this period, avoiding common mistakes can help make the journey smoother and more manageable. In this blog, we'll explore some essential tips to help you avoid pitfalls and make informed decisions when going through a divorce.
1. Seek Professional Guidance
One of the most significant mistakes people make during divorce is they hire an attorney to start their divorce process. If you hire an attorney, your spouse will hire an attorney and you’ll become adversaries. You’ll be spending money on every email, phone call and court motion. In addition, attorneys typically don’t have expertise in finances or parenting. It’s much more efficient to hire an experienced divorce coach who can help you understand the divorce process and how to best utilize your attorney and other divorce professionals.
2. Understand Your Finances
Gaining a comprehensive understanding of your financial situation is crucial when going through a divorce. Take the time to gather all relevant financial documents, such as bank statements, tax returns, and mortgage statements. Create a complete inventory of assets, liabilities, and debts. If your financial situation is complicated, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst is a great resource to help you understand your finances. Knowing your financial standing will empower you to make informed decisions about property division and spousal support.
3. Prioritize Your Children's Well-being
Another big mistake people make is to talk to their children about the other parent in a negative way, telling them details about the divorce process or relying on them for support. Instead, make sure you shield them from all of the details of the divorce process and let them know that you’re there for them. Focus on creating a stable and nurturing environment for your children so that they can adjust in a healthy way.
4. Keep Emotions in Check
Divorce is emotionally charged, but letting your emotions drive decisions can lead to regrettable choices. Try to maintain a level head and stay as objective as possible. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist to help you process your emotions in a healthy way.
5. Wait to Date
Going through divorce can be lonely and stressful. It’s tempting to distract yourself by starting a new relationship. But jumping into a new relationship is just going to complicate things and won’t allow you to heal or focus on your kids. It’s best to wait until you’re emotionally ready to date – which means that you’ve fully grieved the breakdown of the marriage and you’ve learned to be happy on your own for a little while. That doesn't mean that you can't go out on a date when you don't have your kids. Just take it really slow and don't get serious too soon.
6. Focus on the Future
Dwelling on the past when you’re divorcing won’t help you heal and move forward. Shift your focus to the future – what do you want in the next chapter of your life? What do you want to do differently? Set goals and create a post-divorce plan for yourself. This can include financial, career, and/or personal goals. Having a sense of purpose and direction can help you move forward with confidence and optimism.
Going through a divorce is never easy, but by avoiding common mistakes and taking a proactive and thoughtful approach, you can make the process more manageable. Seek professional guidance, prioritize your children, manage your emotions, wait to date, and focus on the future. Remember that healing takes time, and with the right support and mindset, you can emerge from this challenging chapter of your life stronger.
Divorcing a narcissistic spouse can be an incredibly challenging experience. Narcissists often exhibit manipulative behaviors and an unwillingness to compromise, making mediation even more complex. However, with the right approach and strategies in place, it's possible to successfully mediate a divorce with a narcissistic spouse. Here's a guide to help you navigate this difficult process:
1. Prepare Yourself Emotionally: Before entering mediation, understand that dealing with a narcissistic spouse may trigger strong emotions. Recognize that their behavior is a reflection of their personality traits and is not a reflection of your worth. Make sure that you have techniques to decrease your anxiety when you get provoked by something your former spouse says or does like deep abdominal breathing, taking a break and bringing the focus back to the business at hand. Seek support from a therapist, divorce coach, friends, or support groups to help you manage your emotions and maintain your emotional well-being.
2. Set Clear Goals: Define your priorities and objectives for the divorce mediation. Decide what outcomes are most important to you, whether it's child custody arrangements, financial settlements, or property division. Having clear goals will help you stay focused and assertive during negotiations.
3. Get Organized: Narcissists often try to manipulate situations to their advantage. To counter this, gather all relevant documentation, such as financial records, assets, debts, and any relevant communication. Being organized and having evidence will provide a factual basis for your negotiations and reduce the potential for manipulation.
4. Choose a Skilled Mediator: Selecting the right mediator is crucial when dealing with a narcissistic spouse. Look for a mediator experienced in high-conflict situations and who is well-versed in dealing with manipulative behaviors. A skilled mediator can help maintain a balanced and productive atmosphere during negotiations.
5. Establish Boundaries: Clearly communicate your expectations for respectful behavior during mediation sessions. If they attempt to cross these boundaries, calmly remind them of the agreed-upon rules and refocus the discussion on the topic at hand.
6. Stick to Facts and Logic: Narcissists often thrive on emotional manipulation and drama. To counteract this, focus on presenting facts, figures, and logical arguments. Stick to the relevant issues and avoid getting drawn into personal attacks or emotional discussions.
7. Use "I" Statements: When expressing your concerns or opinions, use "I" statements to keep the conversation centered on your perspective and needs. For example, say "I believe it's important for our children to have consistent routines" instead of "You never care about the kids' schedules."
8. Focus on the Long-Term: Remember that the divorce process is temporary, but the decisions made during this time can have long-lasting effects on your future. Keep your long-term goals in mind when making decisions and avoid getting caught up in short-term emotional battles.
Mediating a divorce with a narcissistic spouse requires patience, resilience, and strategic thinking. By preparing emotionally, staying focused on your goals, and utilizing effective communication techniques, you can navigate this challenging situation and achieve a successful resolution that allows you to move forward with your life. Remember, your well-being and that of any children involved are top priorities, and maintaining your composure and determination will help you achieve the best possible outcome.
When a marriage or any relationship is over, it can be difficult to communicate with each other in a productive way. There are so many emotions that are left over from your past experience that it’s hard to put that aside those emotions and focus on the present and future. It’s likely that your ex has a pattern of responding to you that isn’t healthy and it’s easy for you to become triggered and emotional. Then you react in an emotional way and before you know it, you’re escalating into old fighting patterns.
But there are specific ways to communicate with your ex that will prevent you from falling into old bad habits. Here are three steps to more positive communication with your ex:
Step 1: Start with something positive, specific and connecting to reduce the reactivity of your ex. Here are some examples:
You want to show them that you’re coming from a place of respect and collaboration. You’re sending a clear message that this is not an attack. This may be awkward at first but it will get easier with practice.
Step 2: Be clear and specific when you’re asking for something
Qualifiers like, “I was wondering” or “I’m just checking” or “I think” lead to confusion. It can sound like the subject is up for discussion. Cut out any superfluous words and use clear statements like:
This will enable you both to understand what the purpose is for the communication and there will be less misunderstanding.
Step 3: Tie it up with a positive short sentence:
Then end with, “Enjoy your day” or some other positive ending.
These steps can be used in person or by email. There’s less of a chance of the conversation going in the wrong direction if you’re communicating by email so that’s a safer way to start out. Once you’ve been using these steps for a while, you’ll see how you and your STBX can be interacting in a totally different way than you have in the past. You and your children will be happier and much better off!
Having the conversation with your spouse that you want a divorce can be one of the most difficult conversations you’ll ever have. However, if you’ve made the decision to divorce, having the conversation is an important step in moving forward. Here are 6 tips on how to have this conversation with your spouse in a respectful way:
1. Take Time for Self-reflection and Have Clarity About Your Decision Before initiating this important conversation, take your time to think about your decision to pursue a divorce. Evaluate your feelings, assess your reasons for wanting a divorce and make sure that you’re certain about your decision. If necessary, speak to a therapist, friend or family member to become more clear about your feelings. This clarity will help you convey your thoughts to your spouse with confidence and honesty.
2. Choose the Right Time and Place Choose a time when you and your spouse are both calm and have time to talk. You want to be able to answer any questions that your spouse has and allow them to express their feelings and emotions. Choose a private location where you can have an open and honest conversation without interruptions. Make sure that there are no children around so that they don’t overhear anything by accident. You don’t want to explain what’s going on to your children until you’ve had time to talk it through with each other.
2. Be Honest and Direct Honesty is the cornerstone of a respectful conversation. Clearly express your thoughts, emotions, and reasons for wanting a divorce. Use I statements to convey your perspective, such as “I feel that we’ve come to a point where we can’t make our relationship better.” or “I want to make sure that our children are ok.
3. Listen to Your Spouse Allow your spouse to express their feelings and concerns. Show empathy and validate their feelings. You don’t have to agree with what they’re saying to empathize with them. Be open to their feedback and try to understand their point of view.
4. Avoid Blame and Criticism Focus on your own feelings and perspective, rather than blaming your spouse for the situation. Be mindful of your tone and don’t be unnecessarily hurtful or confrontational. Remember, your goal is to express yourself clearly, not cause unnecessary pain or escalate the situation.
5. Be Prepared for a Range of Emotions Understand that your spouse may react with surprise, anger, sadness or denial. Everyone processes things differently. Try to be patient and compassionate. Avoid being defensive and give your spouse the time they need to process the information. If you feel that the conversation is escalating into a negative place, let your spouse know that each of you should take some time to think and continue talking at a later time.
6. Consider Seeking Professional Support This conversation can be overwhelming for both you and your spouse. Consider speaking with a therapist or counselor who can guide you through the process and help facilitate productive communication.
Having the conversation with your spouse that you want a divorce can be challenging, but by approaching it with honesty and directness, you can foster understanding and respect. Remember to be prepared, choose your words and tone carefully and actively listen to your spouse. Seek professional help if you need it. By approaching this conversation with integrity and compassion, you can pave the way for a more amicable and manageable transition for both you and your spouse.
Everyone talks about the negative impact of divorce. I never recommend divorce – it’s always a last resort. BUT there are positives that can come out of divorce. Here are five positives that can come out of divorce:
1. Finding yourself. When you’re in a dysfunctional marriage and especially when you have children, you may put your needs aside because you want to avoid conflict and you don’t have a lot of extra time. Some people don’t take care of themselves and stop doing the things that made them happy before they were married. When you go through divorce, you don’t need to think about your partner’s needs anymore and most people have more time to yourself without your children. It’s an opportunity to focus on yourself and really get to know yourself. It can result in a lot more happiness in your life!
2. Independence. When you’re married, each partner usually specializes in doing certain things for the family. You get to be good at those things. But when you’re divorcing, you can’t ask your partner to hang a picture or pay the bills. You have to start doing most things on your own. It’s amazing how good it can feel when you’ve accomplished something on your own that you never did before! You realize that you’re a lot more capable than you ever thought.
3. Peace. There isn’t a lot of peace in a home with an unhealthy marriage. Either there’s a lot of fighting or you’re distant from each other. There’s usually a lot of tension. When you move into separate homes, and you don’t have that tension, what most people say is that there’s a feeling of calm that they experience. That peace is a gift that’s so good for you and for your children.
4. You get to make all of the decisions. You don’t have to ask anyone if you can buy that couch or watch that tv show. I made my bedroom into a feminine, tranquil place that made me so happy. You can have that man cave that you always wanted or you can take that pottery making class.
5. Strength. Going through divorce is one of the most difficult things anyone can go through. Every day you get through is proof of how strong you are. When you’re through it, you can say to yourself, “Look what I went through. I can handle anything!”
Even though divorce is a difficult experience and no one would choose that outcome to their marriage, there are positives that come out of it. It’s important to recognize the positives of finding yourself, independence, peace, getting to make decisions and strength. Focusing on the positives makes it easier to heal and move forward in your life.
If you’d like to have support as you go through your divorce and be better equipped to move forward in your life, schedule a free consultation with Divorce Coach Jill here: https://go.divorcecoachjill.com/calendar
One of the hardest things to deal with is FEAR when you’re going through divorce. So many fears came up for me – fear about being alone, fear about being judged, fear about my kids being ok, fear of my financial well-being, and so many more.
I started my divorce with so much anxiety and fear. I think the biggest thought that I had to overcome was:
Was I strong enough to handle divorce?
Divorce requires strength. No matter what’s thrown at you, you have to figure out how to deal with it. Because so many things are being “thrown” at you – someone makes a judgmental comment, your STBX (soon-to-be-ex) sends a mean text, you get a letter from your STBX’s attorney, your STBX says something negative about you to your children, etc. Every week something can happen that emotionally triggers you.
But every time you get to the end of the day and your kids are ok and you’ve done something constructive, it’s proof that you’re strong. You’ve ignored your STBX’s mean text, you’ve helped your children with their homework, you went for a walk, you completed a project at work – all show you that you can do this. One step at a time you’re getting through your divorce and that’s incredible.
Take a deep breath. Repeat to yourself, “I’m strong and I can get through this. I’m going to be ok.”
Don’t settle for less. I know things are tough right now. But it will get better. You’ll get through this and you’ll be amazed at how strong you really are!
Divorce is never easy, and it can be particularly challenging for parents. The process of separating from a partner can be fraught with emotion and conflict, making it difficult to come to an agreement on key issues. However, a friendly divorce is possible, even when you have children together. By approaching the process with an open mind, having clear communication, and a willingness to compromise, it’s possible to reach a resolution that is amicable and respectful to everyone involved.
Divorce coaching can be a valuable tool for parents looking to have a friendly divorce. A divorce coach is a trained professional who can provide guidance and support throughout the divorce process, helping individuals manage their emotions, communicate effectively with their ex-spouse, and work toward a resolution that meets everyone’s needs. We can also help parents navigate the practical aspects of divorce, such as developing a parenting plan, dividing assets, and creating a financial plan for the future.
To have a friendly divorce, it’s important to approach the process with a mindset of collaboration rather than competition. This means being willing to compromise on certain issues, listening to your ex-spouse’s perspective, and being open to creative solutions that work for everyone involved. By focusing on shared goals and mutual respect, it’s possible to reach an agreement that meets everyone’s needs without resorting to hostility or litigation.
Clear communication is also key to a friendly divorce. It’s important to communicate your needs and desires clearly and honestly and to listen carefully to your ex-spouse’s concerns. This means avoiding blaming or shaming language and instead focusing on finding solutions that work for everyone. A divorce coach can help parents develop effective communication skills and provide guidance on how to have difficult conversations with their ex-spouse.
If you’re considering a divorce and want to have a friendly and amicable process, I can help. As an experienced divorce coach, I offer personalized guidance and support throughout the entire divorce process. I help clients manage their emotions, communicate effectively with their ex-spouse, and work toward a resolution that meets everyone’s needs. With my help, you can have a friendly divorce that allows you to move forward with confidence and a plan for a brighter future.
To contact me for divorce coaching, visit my website at www.divorcecoachjill.com. You can schedule a consultation to learn more about my services and how I can help you through this challenging time. With my support and guidance, you can have a friendly divorce that allows you to maintain positive relationships with your ex-spouse and co-parent effectively for years to come.
Divorce can be a challenging time for parents, particularly when it comes to co-parenting. It's important for parents to be able to put aside their differences and work together for the benefit of their children. Here are three tips to help you successfully co-parent during and after divorce:
Communicate effectively. Communication is key to a successful co-parenting relationship. It's important to be clear about your expectations, to listen actively to each other, and to find respectful ways to resolve disagreements. Try not to bring up the past and to keep your discussions focused on your children. Your relationship with your soon-to-be-ex has changed from one where you were connected on an emotional level to a relationship that's more like colleagues or co-workers. It can also be helpful to set aside specific times for communication, such as weekly check-ins or regular meetings to discuss important parenting issues.
Be consistent. Consistency is critical to successful co-parenting. When children have the same rules and routines in both households, they feel more secure and stable. Consistency also helps parents to avoid misunderstandings and disputes. Try to agree on important issues such as bedtimes, meal times, and homework routines, and stick to them as much as possible.
Focus on your children's needs. The most important thing is to put your children's needs first. When making decisions about your children, consider what's in their best interests, rather than what's easiest for you or your ex. It may not be easy to be together for your child’s birthday or at their school events, but you need to put your feelings aside for the moment and treat each other with respect. This can be especially challenging during the divorce process, when emotions may be running high. However, it will be good for your children in the long term. Plus it will get easier when you’re not in the middle of the divorce process and time has gone by.
If you're struggling with co-parenting during a divorce, consider reaching out for help. For over 20 years I’ve helped parents create the environment they need to foster healthy communication and well-adjusted children and I’d love to help you!
Co-parenting during a divorce can be challenging, but with effective communication, consistency, and a focus on your children's needs, it can be a positive experience for both parents and children. If you need help, don't hesitate to reach out for support!
If you’re going through divorce, it’s normal to feel worried about your finances and your financial future. Having a financial plan in place can help you reduce the stress associated with divorce and it's key to being prepared as you negotiate your divorce. In this blog post, we’ll cover the basics of creating a financial plan for your post-divorce life, including budgeting, saving, and preparing for retirement.
Creating a Budget
A budget is the foundation of your financial plan. In order to create a budget, you must first compile the last 3 years of your bank and credit card statements. You also need to have information about all of your assets and debts. As you understand your monthly income and expenses in the past and how they will change going forward, you can make sure that you have enough money each month to support yourself and your children’s needs. Create a list of all your income and expense including:
Saving for the Future
It’s important to save for emergencies and retirement, even after divorce. An emergency fund should have enough money to cover three to six months of living expenses in case of an unexpected event. Start by setting aside a small amount each month to put into your emergency fund. You can also start saving for retirement as soon as possible. Consider opening an IRA or other retirement savings account and contributing regularly.
Hiring a team of professionals
Divorce professionals can help you in many different ways and are an important part of successfully getting through your divorce process. A financial professional can help you prepare a budget and create a plan for your financial future. A divorce coach can help you efficiently use your other divorce professionals which can save you money. Divorce coaches can also help you determine your priorities which can save you time that you would have spent fighting for things that aren’t important to you. Divorce attorneys can be used as consultants to answer your legal financial questions. Other professionals that you may need include a realtor, mortgage broker, and an accountant.
Creating a financial plan after divorce can help you take control of your finances and ensure you’re prepared for the future. Start by creating a budget and tracking your income and expenses. Next, save for retirement and an emergency fund and make sure that you hire a team of divorce professionals to support you as you go through your divorce process. With a solid financial plan in place, you can feel confident that you’re doing what you need to do to protect your and your children’s financial future.
For individuals going through a divorce, the holidays can be a challenging time. Finding ways to manage the difficulties of a divorce during the holidays is possible. The following helpful tips can make your holiday season a happy one.
Surround Yourself With Family and Friends
Regardless of the time of year, going through a divorce can be an extremely emotional and lonely time. Surrounding yourself with family and friends is a great way to feel supported while going through a divorce during the holidays.
Close family and friends will want to be supportive as you go through divorce. But they may not understand how isolating the holiday period is. Even if it’s a little uncomfortable, reach out to close family and friends to let them know you’re struggling. Tell them that you don’t have plans or that you’ll be alone. Being with family and friends can improve your mental health and keep your mind busy with something other than the divorce. Plan something fun with people you’re close to and you’ll start seeing a positive future for yourself and your children.
Make New Traditions
While the holiday season is always filled with traditions, going through a divorce is bound to change them. Making new traditions will help families who have children keep the holiday spirit and distract them from the challenges of change. It may be the first time your kids are spending the holidays with one parent instead of two so having new activities planned can help them better adjust to this new time in their life.
Take Care of All the Logistics
Make sure to take care of as many logistical aspects of parenting time before the holidays. When you’re dealing children and all of the busyness of the holiday season, it’s critical to get the parenting schedule settled way in advance. With the help of an experienced divorce coach, you can make sure that you’re prepared so there won’t be any last minute conflicts and you’ll be able to enjoy the holidays without stress.
As you’re going through divorce, you probably won’t have a set parenting schedule. You may want to avoid speaking to your STBX about this, knowing that it will be a tense conversation. But avoiding the conversation only makes things worse. If you don’t want to speak to your STBX, email is a great way to communicate. Have your divorce coach or a trusted friend read over the email before you send it. While it may be stressful, planning ahead makes it easier on everyone. Children benefit when they know what the schedule is. Communicate with your children about holiday schedules to alleviate any guilt or sadness they may be experiencing for spending the holidays with one parent versus both.
You Can Have a Happy Holiday Season as You Divorce!
Reflecting on the past around the holidays is common, but it’s crucial to try to put the past where it belongs - in the past. When going through a divorce during the holidays, try to think of the future and make a list of all the things you want to do in the next year. Getting excited for new experiences is a great way to let go of the sadness around divorce and start moving forward in your life. If you put the past in the past and focus on the future, it will be easier for you to develop new traditions with your friends, family, and children and will enable you to be grateful and enjoy the present.
Divorce is never easy, and there are always setbacks when you’re going through the process of divorce. A setback is when you think things are going okay but then something happens and you’re back in an angry, scared or sad place. Your soon-to-be-ex (STBX) may send a mean text or your child says something hurtful. You thought you had agreed on something and your STBX takes it back. Setbacks can be incredibly frustrating, but most people experience setbacks during the divorce process. Here are four ways to tackle setbacks during divorce.
1. Ask Yourself What Can You Learn?
When you're thrown into a setback, for example your STBX sends a mean text, you can experience anger, frustration and sadness. Use that time to sit in your thoughts by journaling, talking through your feelings or drawing how you feel with art therapy. It can be very therapeutic to get those feelings out and figure out what’s behind them. Are you mourning the loss of your intact family? Are you blaming your STBX for all that happened in your marriage? If so, what can you take responsibility for? Ask yourself what can you learn from your marriage?
When you think about what you can learn from your marriage, don’t focus on blaming yourself or your STBX. We all make mistakes and part of your personal growth journey is to understand what mistakes you made and do things differently. A lot of my clients say that they learned that they can’t trust anyone. But when you think about this further, you realize that there are trustworthy people and it’s not that you can’t trust anyone. It’s that you need to be more aware of who to trust.
You may have allowed things to happen in your marriage that you shouldn’t have. You can do something about that - you can learn to set healthy boundaries. Maybe you realized that you weren’t as kind as you should have been at times. Taking responsibility for what you’ve done in your marriage will help you stop focusing on what’s out of your control (your STBX) and start focusing on what you can do differently in the future. You’ll stop feeling so much anger and you’ll start to process all of your feelings. By doing this, you will give yourself an amazing gift - the opportunity to heal.
2. A Setback Doesn’t Mean It Will Be This Way Forever
When you experience a setback, it doesn't mean you're back to square one. A setback is a temporary situation that will be resolved at some point. But when setbacks occur, It’s hard not to let yourself spiral and have negative thoughts:
“We’re never going to get through this divorce process!”
“She won’t ever be reasonable!”
“He always goes back on what he says!”
These negative thoughts can lead you to feel awful as you go through a setback. But take a few deep breaths and center yourself. Tell yourself, “This is a temporary setback and I will figure this out.” If you feel calm and centered, you can find a way to get through the setback. Remember, you've come through so much already, you can get through this too!
3. Be Extra Kind to Yourself During a Setback
When we are having a setback, we can become angry with ourselves - for getting married to this person in the first place, for making mistakes or for not getting out of the marriage sooner. We can get stuck in negative thought patterns that only make us feel worse. For example, you might tell yourself things like “I’m such a failure” or “I’ll never be able to find someone else.” These kinds of thoughts hold you back from moving on and rebuilding your life.
Whenever you catch yourself thinking something negative, stop and replace it with a positive thought. Instead of “I’m such a failure,” try saying, “I’m learning from this experience, and I’ll be stronger for it.” Or instead of “I’ll never find someone else,” tell yourself, “I have a lot to offer, and I will find someone who appreciates me.” It may take some practice, but changing your self-talk is an important way to be kind to yourself.
Keep in mind that you’re going to go through a roller coaster of emotions and that’s normal. You may not be able to function at your job like you normally do and that’s ok. Give yourself a break and be gentle to yourself instead of beating yourself up. Practice self-compassion. Give yourself time to get through this. You’re strong and you will overcome this setback!
4. Focus On The Present
Getting caught up in worry and stress about the past or the future is common during a setback. Will you be able to support yourself financially? Where will you live? How will your relationship with your children change? Worrying about these things will make you anxious and stressed. Dwelling on the past won't do you any good either.
One of the best things you can do for yourself during a setback is to make a list of things that make you happy. This can be anything from spending time with friends and family to taking a yoga class, developing a hobby or going for a walk in nature. Once you have your list, use it to form your weekly schedule and develop daily and weekly goals. This will help you stay in the present during any setback.
Setbacks can be tough but if you ask yourself what can you learn, if you know that they don’t last forever, if you’re kind to yourself and you focus on the present, you can tackle any setbacks that you may encounter during your divorce. Remember, if you feel you need additional support at any point, don’t hesitate to contact a divorce coach or counselor. They will be able to provide you with the guidance and resources you need to get through this challenging time.
Going through divorce is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can go through. You feel so many emotions including sadness, fear, anger, betrayal, and grief. And some people can get stuck in these emotions where it's difficult to move forward in their life. It's normal to feel all of these emotions and it’s so important to be able to process these emotions as you go through your divorce so that you’re not stuck in a bad place.
Following are tips so that you can become unstuck and feel empowered as you go through divorce.
Be Kind To Yourself
It's easy to beat yourself up for all of the mistakes that you made in your marriage and for your marriage ending. But if you do that, you’re making it harder on yourself. Remember that you’re doing your best and that’s enough. Find a positive mantra like “I’m not perfect and it’s ok.” Repeat that positive mantra any time you feel that you’re engaging in negative self-talk. Remember that you are valuable and deserving of respect, regardless of what past mistakes you made. If you start being kind to yourself and actively work at changing your negative self-talk, you’ll start feeling better.
Cultivate Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence entails learning to control emotions, establish boundaries, and communicate effectively. It’s so hard to do that while you’re going through divorce because you’re feeling so many intense emotions. But there are some techniques that can help you to be more in control of your emotions.
Start by breathing deeply for 20 breaths several times a day. The best way to do this is to push your stomach out when you’re breathing in and pull your stomach in when you’re breathing in. They’re called abdominal breaths and they enable you to take much deeper breaths than regular chest breaths. Another technique that can help is developing a meditation practice. Meditation actually changes the way that your brain functions. Yoga and exercise are also helpful in controlling emotions and developing an ability to center yourself. From that feeling of being centered will come an answer on how to communicate more effectively.
There are so many boundaries that have to be established as you go through divorce. Your relationship has changed and you need to navigate a new way of interacting with your soon-to-be-ex (STBX). Even if you’re still living in the same house, you can create boundaries by establishing a parenting schedule and being clear about who has what responsibilities. If you’re living separately, it’s easier to create boundaries but communication without being emotional is key to establishing healthy boundaries as you go through divorce. If you’re having difficulty doing it on your own, you can work with a co-parenting counselor or another professional like a therapist or divorce coach.
You’re Stronger Than You Realize
Recognizing your own strength is essential to being able to become empowered as you go through divorce. Think about all of the things that you have experienced in your life. Was there something that happened in your childhood that was difficult? Did you take care of your children through any stressful times? All of us have gotten through tough times but we may not give ourselves credit for getting through them. It’s amazing how we minimize our strengths just at the time where we need to see them and believe in ourselves.
Ask yourself what are the characteristics that you have that have gotten you through past difficult times? Are you smart, hardworking, responsible, brave, creative, kind, empathetic, fair, loyal, authentic or grateful? Take time to focus on the positive traits that you have and recognize how strong you really are. By recognizing your own strengths, you can rebuild our confidence and truly believe in our ability to get through difficult times.
Start Enjoying Alone Time
As you go through divorce, you’re going to have more time on your own. Many people worry about that time and that they’ll feel lonely. You can look at this time in a negative way. But you can also reframe your time alone as a gift - it’s a time that you get to decide what you want to do without considering anyone else. You get to be selfish and just think about what you want without compromising. You can read a book, watch a movie, go shopping, go out to dinner by yourself, listen to music or go for a long walk. There are so many things you can do by yourself that can be so enjoyable. Most people who do this find that they really like spending time alone and don’t feel lonely at all!
Experience New Things
What have you always wanted to do? Is there an activity that you used to do that you gave up during your marriage? What makes you happy? Divorce is an opportunity to start living your life differently. You can start hiking, biking, traveling, playing bridge, bird watching or really anything you’ve always wanted to do. If you look at your divorce as an opportunity to change your life in positive ways, you can get unstuck and feel empowered.
You'll need to learn how to budget your money, cook for yourself, and take care of your home. This can also provide a feeling of being empowered and you may find that you’re happier than you’ve been in a long time!
Moving from stuck to empowered in divorce is not always easy, but it is possible. Being kind to yourself, cultivating emotional intelligence, focusing on your strengths, enjoying alone time and experiencing new things will help you feel empowered as you go through divorce.
Don't hesitate to reach out for help if you’re struggling through your divorce. There is no shame in admitting that you need some assistance getting through this tough time. Contact a divorce coach today and see how much better you can feel.
Jill Barnett Kaufman is a Divorce Coach, Therapist, Parent Educator and Divorce Mediator. She is an experienced professional who helps clients discover new ways to resolve a variety of challenges when considering divorce, starting the process of divorce or are already divorced.