Separation & Divorce

Going through a divorce can be akin to bereavement and, though it’s hard to envision now, things can and will get easier. These tips may help you get through it and move on. Like all other major life events, dealing with a break-up of your relationship is a process. It has a beginning, middle and – thank goodness – an end. As we go through this process our emotions, finances and even health can suffer.

Some days you will feel positive, alive and free; other days you’ll feel utterly dreadful. The key is not to panic when you do have a bad day. It’s vital to acknowledge your feelings, whatever they are and however scary they may be, at every stage of the process. Once you’ve recognised how you feel and have allowed yourself to let those feelings out where necessary, you’ll slowly start to find that the bad days are fewer than the good.

You may have been told that divorce is like bereavement and you may be scared that you’ll never get over it. But even if you do feel like this at first, it won’t always be this bad. There is no reason why you can’t emerge from this stronger and much more self-aware. The thing to realise is that even if you feel alone, you’re not. So many people have been through this and are going through it right now too. Their finances have been burnt, their emotions fried and their lives changed. But they have survived and the majority have gone on to much brighter futures. Here are three tips to help you survive and find a life after divorce. 

Take a walk on the child’s side

Don’t let your kids feel your function after divorce is little more than providing a McDonald’s Happy Meal and a Sunday trip to the zoo. The term ‘weekend parent’ is one we are becoming all too familiar with and one rife with negative connotations. Of course, children are always emotionally and practically affected by divorce, and there is never a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ age for your child to go through it.

In fact, more psychological damage can be caused by the ‘staying for the kids’ approach. The family atmosphere can become bitter and stale, arguments can become the staple of communication and the child can ultimately feel to blame. Divorce at any age will challenge your child’s sense of stability and security and it’s important to reassert some form of normality. A good way to do this is to quickly instigate a routine, which offers stability and a sense of place. Make sure that your child knows they will always see the parent who is leaving on a regular basis, even if your child has unlimited access to you or your ex. The key is to be constantly aware of your child’s state of mind and behavioural patterns. Your child will need a support network in a similar way that you will. Friends, family, and teachers can all help to provide stability and support. Divorce is never going to be easy for any family but, with the implementation of some practical ideas, it can become a useful rite of passage for your child.

Circle of friends

Why does your circle of married friends start diminishing as soon as you first mention the word ‘divorce’? When you get divorced, you suddenly realise that the ‘Five Go Wild in Bournemouth’ approach to friendship only ever worked for Enid Blyton. Unfortunately, during and after a divorce you’ve become a ‘one’. It’s hard the first time you realise that many of your friends are adopting the ‘sieve and sand’ approach to friendship – one little shake-up and they’ve all disappeared. But, although it may seem difficult at first, it’s much better to find out who your real friends are right from the start. Of course, you need to work hard at your existing friendships. Things have changed for you and that will change the balance of your relationship with your friends. Even if you have been friends with people for years, your change of status from married to single will necessitate some adjustment on their part. Many couples, even if they’re usually as together as strawberries and cream, will see your new single status as a threat to their own stability.

Focus on friends who can see you and not just their own insecurities. If you find you’re a bit short of such people, actively try to widen your social circle. Think of any interest you may have and go for it, however boring or wild that may be. Research it online or through your local library and find out about any ways you can get involved. Whatever interesting activities you fancy, cast out the fishing line of friendship and see what bites you get. And if it takes a while, don’t panic! Just make sure that, tomorrow, you’re trying something new.

Online is divine

The web is a great place to meet someone new and have some fun. You might even fall in love. Getting back into the dating game can be daunting after a divorce, but for those of us who rate a trip to a singles bar as about as much fun as a trip to the dentist, then online really can be divine. Consider this: unless you fancy heading off to a speed-dating event, where else can you sift through 30 prospective dates in an evening? Or where can you state your exact requirements for a new partner up-front without being considered pushy?

Online dating is a gift from the cyber gods. Arranging dates online gives us an enlightened perspective and a chance to filter out a good proportion of the love rats without ever having to meet them. All you need to do is get online, write a personal profile, follow a few easy guidelines and you could be canoodling in the back row of the pictures by Friday. As with all things, your personal safety must come first. Although the internet has developed a bit of a bad reputation where personal interactions are concerned, it’s only a few bad apples that have soured the cider. If you stick to reputable websites there’s no reason why online dating should pose any extra threats. Use personal recommendations for dating sites and always check the privacy policy. A legitimate site will guarantee not to share your personal information with any other party. It will also ensure that all correspondence is made anonymously through the site until you’re ready to exchange private emails.

Extracted from Life after Divorce by Infinite Ideas (www.infideas.com). Available on Amazon Kindle for €3.50.
maternity & infant

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