The transition from married life to living as a single parent can be challenging, and so can deciding what to do afterward. After a breakup, there are things separated parents should do to help themselves and their children move forward.
If you and your partner have recently divorced, you may be feeling disoriented, sad, emotional, apprehensive, and terrified about what the future holds for you. As you enter a new world that is full of unknowns, it is very normal for you to feel this way. You and your children and your future relationship as co-parents will all be better off if you choose options that are in everyone’s best interest. Happily, there are techniques to ensure that you do so. During the separation process, educating yourself about the process, talking to your children about it, establishing boundaries, seeking support, and making yourself a priority are all wonderful things to do.
Those who are going through the transition from wedded life to untying the knot are my clients because I am a licensed divorce specialist. Most of my customers are completely clueless about what they should do next. Continue reading for five things that I recommend all parents do after a separation, which will very frequently remove dread out of all the unknowns that come with the process of getting a divorce and are outlined in the following paragraphs.
Acquaint Yourself With The Divorce Process As It Applies To The Law
You and the person who will soon be your ex-spouse might decide to take some time apart before initiating the divorce process, or perhaps one of you is already prepared to move on with your life. Knowledge is power, and if you are not an attorney who is already knowledgeable about the legalities related to the process of getting a divorce, now is the time to learn about them.
Start reading or do some research online. Or, if you want to take it a step further, you may ask people you know for a referral to a reliable attorney or mediator and then discuss with that professional the most effective method to handle your unique circumstance.
There is no method of divorcing a spouse that is universally applicable, and you have a wide variety of choices at your disposal instead. Even though some couples decide to skip dealing with the legal system and take care of everything on their own, I’ve found that it’s always advisable to seek assistance when it comes to a topic about which one is clueless. When there are children involved, you will want to have as much information at your disposal as possible so that you can make choices that are in the children’s best interests.
Discuss Your Separation and Divorce with Your Children
Using books that are appropriate for your child’s age can be a very effective method for having a difficult conversation with your kids about getting a divorce. When the time comes that you and your ex-spouse feel ready to have the conversation with the children, the following are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Make sure that you and the other person are on the same page by planning out what you will say in advance.
- Talk to them as a unit, as a family.
- Create a story that doesn’t point fingers or assign blame.
- Be straightforward and honest rather than ambiguous and obscure.
Your children need explanations and limits right now, so they are not encouraged to hold out hope that there may be a reconciliation in the future.
When a marriage comes to an end, the following stage is a tangible one: physical separation. Yet, the following emotional separation is much more difficult to understand and is far less clearly defined. It’s possible that you and your spouse have such a deep emotional connection for such a lengthy period of time that emotionally detaching yourself from each other is more difficult than you thought.
I advise clients who want to learn to separate themselves emotionally from a spouse to learn to proclaim rather than ask for approval, validation or to stay emotionally attached to them. This is one of the ways that they can learn to separate themselves from seeking acceptance. Keeping your soon-to-be-ex in the dark about your plans to hunt for new housing and stating things like, “I am going to start looking at new apartments,” rather than inquiring, “May I start looking for new flats?” is an illustration of this strategy.
This establishes the boundary that communicates, “I am now acquiring my independence, and you no longer have access to all elements of my life.” The sooner you can emotionally cut ties with your spouse after the decision to divorce has been made, the less messy the divorce procedure will be.
Create Your Own Little Community
Someone should have realized that being a single parent is its own unique challenge and included it in the Olympic games. You can’t possibly prepare for the Olympics on your own. It would be far better for you to ask for assistance to “train” or become accustomed to being a single parent. Don’t be bashful about reaching out to your extended community for support as you navigate your impending divorce’s emotional and logistical challenges.
As soon as you ask for assistance from family and friends, you’ll get a sense of who among them is willing to be a shoulder for you to depend on. Those that care enough about you to check up on you and lend you an ear to vent to are the kinds of individuals you want to have as a part of your permanent village.
If you can find a support group, a coach, or a therapist to throw into the mix, you will be in good shape.
Rediscover the Joy of Falling in Love with You
Although there aren’t many people aware of it, being divorced can be seen as the end of a relationship; nevertheless, it can also be seen as the beginning of many new opportunities. For me, the nicest thing that came out of going through a divorce was the opportunity to get back in touch with myself — the whole of me, both the good and the bad.
I ended my marriage and immediately went back to doing the things that brought me the most joy but that I had not been able to do for various reasons while I was married. I committed myself to working out on a consistent basis, having dinner or coffee with my friends on a weekly basis, and spending quality time with each of the Netflix shows that I had been itching to see in their entirety.
I made better use of my alone time by increasing the amount of writing and reading that I did, two activities that have been incredibly therapeutic for me and that I encourage my clients and coworkers to try. With the assistance of a phenomenal therapist, I was able to mend all of the shattered pieces of myself that had been brought to the surface during my previous marriage. I finally prioritized myself and didn’t regret it.
If nothing else works, remember that this too shall pass and that you can get through anything if you just take one day at a time, put one foot in front of the other, and try not to obsess about “what ifs.”