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Dealing With Blindsided Divorce

200227110-001Most people have been through unwanted breakups and more or less quickly recover, but what about unwanted divorce? What is the best way to cope with being so traumatically blindsided? Actually coping with it is a good start. The hard fact is, the divorce process will usually progress whether you want it to or not, if it’s what the other spouse desires. No amount of denial or pleading will change that, unfortunately.

While if there is indeed a legitimate chance to salvage the marriage, it may be worth a shot, it’s important not to postpone the inevitable. Doing so would only serve to make cutting ties more of a hassle, both emotionally and financially. The quicker and the more smoothly you can maneuver through the practical proceedings, the easier it will be in the long run to find relief from the emotional pain and find a happier future.

Step by Step, Day by Day

Family lawyer and author, Alison Heller, explains the importance of blindsided divorcees to both deal with their conflicting feelings and take proper action, instead of sticking their head in the sand, ostrich style. Referring to a client who didn’t want his divorce to happen, she warns about the results of delaying legal steps: “Greater litigation costs and the racheting up of acrimony between them, which would undoubtedly increase tensions for their two children, as well as leave less money for their savings and household budgets.” As for helpful emotional steps, she advises:

  • Salvage, if reasonably likely: The end of marriage is never something to be taken lightly, especially if it is indeed salvageable. If there is any reasonable doubt the marriage is not over but redeemable, it’s important to allow the possibility to unfold. To allow it, it’s also important to allot space for you and your partner to weigh which path is best, reconciliation or moving forward with the end.

  • Find out the why’s of your resistance: If the end is inevitable, it helps to find out exactly why you are holding on to something that has already slipped away. Sometimes you may think the love is salvageable when it’s not, so it’s important to face the fact and the heartbreak that comes with it.  Otherwise, reasons could range from religious beliefs to wanting to stay together for the kids. Understanding why you are fighting the divorce can help you take steps to address those concerns, find ways to alleviate them, and let go of your spouse.
  • Move Forward: Assess what your immediate actions should be regarding the legal and financial steps to safeguard your interests. Like the emotions involved, the external ramifications of divorce are very real and pressing, needing equal attention and care.

Finally, the blindsided can find peace in the way time can only heal, once they have moved forward. Dealing with the hard reality of filing for divorce is a test of both personal resilience and faith that things will get better.

Evolving Divorce Opinions

Times and commonly held views are changing, and new research on Americans and the Brits further points to exactly how. It turns out, perhaps unsurprisingly, divorce is becoming less taboo and more accepted, even while the dream of marriage is still alive and well.  Granted, this greater acceptance of the divorce process is more prevalent among younger people than older generations.

The growingly popular opinion is while divorce remains rampant and many have had to feel the pain of it themselves, or through other couples who are parents, relatives, or friends, it has also become more normalized. The news of divorce is no longer the shock it once was perhaps because it has become so common. The perspective is beneficial to people who might otherwise feel shame, adding to the emotional turmoil already accompanying the split. Essentially, divorcees no longer have to worry so much about what others think of their choice.

The British Take

A new study published in the UK Daily Mail shows how the amount of people labeling divorce as a stigma is shrinking. Specifically, out of a poll of 2,000 people, about two thirds say the stigma is no longer existent. There are significant differences in opinion according to age, with 56% of 18-24 year-olds saying divorce is still taboo, and 67% of 24-54 year-olds saying divorce is still taboo.

The article quotes British relationship counselor Christine Northam explaining how it’s changed from past generations: “Divorce has become much more familiar in modern life; it’s not the hushed secret it was years ago…There is no such thing as a painless divorce; we are just getting better adjusted to it as a part of modern Britain.”

At the same time, many if not most people are still hopeful and greatly value the institution marriage and all it implies. Only 4 percent said divorce was a word they most frequently associated with marriage, the most common words associated with marriage being commitment and love. They consider 28 years-old the best age to tie the knot.

What Americans Think

Americans view divorce as much less of a shame than other behaviors possibly perceived as immoral. According to a recent Gallup poll, an impressive 68% of the Americans surveyed believe divorce is morally acceptable.

Similar to the Brits, there is still a high value placed on the sanctity of marriage, with a whopping 91% saying marital infidelity is morally despicable. There is a strong sense of despising hypocrisy in how people choose to live out their romantic lives. It seems the prevailing opinion is you are either in a marriage all the way, or you might as well file for divorce.

A respect of individual choice then is becoming much more important than traditional views of sticking through a marriage through thick and thin. While divorce is now seen as more of a personal choice that should be accepted as normal, when you are married, happily- and faithfully-ever-after is the ideal.

Love at Any (St)Age

Let’s just acknowledge this right off that bat: Just because you’re divorced does not mean you’re dead. Although at times during the divorce process you might feel like a fine specimen of the living dead, you are not. Just repeat that to yourself in the mirror a few times a day and maybe you’ll actually start to believe it.

But this blog is about the post-divorce stage when trips to the grocery store becoming a grazing ground, in more than one way (if you catch our drift). For some, this stage approaches faster and with more ease than for other divorcees. But we have a sneaking suspicion one of the contributing factors to the time and ease at which a divorcee re-enters the dating scene is whether they come in a multi-pack.

The More the Merrier?

It’s difficult for a divorcee to re-enter the dating world, let alone for a divorcee who also holds the title of parent to re-enter the dating world. The statistics overwhelmingly shout that children of divorce are scarred for life, do poorly in school, might be suicidal, don’t seek healthy relationships, and for some reason are not math whizzes. So it’s no wonder a newly divorced parent’s head explodes at the thought of what dating would do to their children.

We are all for independent thinking, and let us emphasize no one knows what’s best for your family other than you and your family. But in case you were wondering, popular opinions on this topic range the entire spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, we have people who believe dating and children should be in totally separate spheres; at on the other end of the spectrum, we have people who believe they can be mixed healthily.

Finding Your Comfort Zone

In a HuffPost Live segment, host Marc Lamont Hill invites divorced parents/ HuffPost bloggers Ed Housewright, Emma Johnson, Jena Kingsley, Jessica Solloway, and Robin Amos Kahn to discuss the topic of single parents dating. The diverse group shares ideas about how to approach dating after divorce, and shed light on all the beautiful points of the spectrum.

Here are the arguments behind the two opposing sides of the issue, as brought up by the HuffPost bloggers:

  • Slow and Steady: The first concern dating parents under this philosophy have is their children’s emotional and mental state. Divorce presents a horrible upheaval for children and their families, which can cause confusion and emotional instability. Dating parents fear introducing romantic possibilities to their children will open the gateway to further feelings of abandonment and pain, should the relationship not work out. Parents operating under this belief promote only introducing a romantic partner after about 6 solid months of being in an exclusive relationship.

  • C’est La Vie: The opposing camp believes dating parents can approach dating with their children in a positive, balanced manner. As stated by one of the HuffPost bloggers, teaching your children about the ebbs and flows of life can prepare and strengthen a child to handle all of life’s curveballs. Age-appropriate communication about dating is the key to going this route, especially explaining the role (or lack of a role) dates have in the child’s life.

Wherever you may fall in the spectrum, don’t forget the players in the relationship. As Housewright said in the HuffPost discussion: “It just depends on your child. You need to know your child, and know their make-up. I don’t think you can make across the board rules. I wouldn’t give any advice to anybody else.”

Where do you fall on the spectrum and why? Sound off, Readers.

Religious Divorce: Blogger And Former ‘Blossom’ Star Shares Her Story, And Here’s Why It Can Matter To You

religion and divorceReligious divorce rituals aren’t something couples today generally think about when they decide to file for divorce, but blogger and former Blossom star Mayim Bialik recently shed light on hers in a series of recent posts for Kveller.com.

In comments to Access Hollywood Live from Monday, Bialik explained why she took to the web to discuss her and her ex Michael Stone’s experience.

‘Get’ Out Of Here

In addition to filing, Bialik and Stone had to attend a religious ceremony called a “Get.”

“There’s a religious process. You sit in the same room and you watch your divorce deed be written. It’s actually a very interesting thousands year old document that you watch written and you have to be in the same room as your ex,” Bialik said, adding that it “was a very cathartic, very emotionally powerful sense of closure for us.”

Religions differ with how they handle a religious divorce. Some have former rituals (like Judaism, Bialik’s chosen faith), while others, such as many sects of Christianity, don’t require anything at all, but do have stringent rules in place for when one is justified to end a marriage and when it’s okay to remarry in the eyes of God.

The Advantage Of Religious Divorce Help

While some can find religious divorce a burden, in Bialik’s case, it seemed to help the couple through the healing process. Here are some advantages to the leaning on your religion through this difficult time.

Churches of many different faiths place as much importance on helping the divorced to heal as they do on the marriages themselves. This affords you a built-in support system whether you’ve gone through an easy do it yourself divorce or bitter, combative courtroom drama.

Even with a DIY divorce, this can be an incredibly confusing time. From a faith standpoint, there is often a layer of guilt that comes with getting a divorce, and by leaning on your faith’s leaders, you can start to have some clarity about where your divorce “fits in” with your belief system.

Finally, if you have a desire to remarry, the statistics should not be ignored. In this report from USA Today, it was stated that interfaith marriages are less likely to endure than marrying someone, who believes AND PRACTICES the same faith that you do. Holding fast to your beliefs — whatever they are — and becoming more involved can put you in a good position to meet someone with whom you are more compatible.

Are you a person of faith, who has been through a failed marriage. What religious divorce thoughts and experiences do you have to share?

Technology And Divorce: The Pros And Cons

technology and divorceHuffington Post recently took a look at the advantages of technology in divorce, and while we have to give a hearty “here-here!” to many of the points, it’s also important to take a look at the downside. While it can certainly help you with support sources and the like, it can also exacerbate difficulties. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of mixing these two elements together.

Pros

Do-it-yourself divorce: This is perhaps one of the biggest advantages of having a technological influence in your divorce and recovery. Rather than paying exorbitant attorney’s fees for a costly, combative divorce, you and your spouse can use DIY divorce services like ours to get the support, education, and preparation you need at fractional costs.

Getting back out there: Technology can enable you to become more discerning about the dating scene after you or your spouse have decided to file for divorce. Rather than taking someone at face value from one night in a club, you can read their profile and use your judgment to determine whether they’re a good fit for you. It can also help you get your confidence back by giving you more time and opportunity to interact in a meaningful way.

Support groups: There are tons of support forums out there where you can go to interact with others, who may be going through the same thing you are. You can also use the Internet or specialty smartphone applications to get legal guidance in an easy-to-digest form.

Cons

Social media: People have a tendency to vent on social media, and that can lead to big trouble if you say the wrong thing. Social networks like Facebook better facilitate affairs, hurt divorce settlements, and escalate feuds by bringing others into what should be a private situation. Also, if you’re the spouse who has been rejected, having access to this tool can escalate obsessive behavior by using it to always check what your ex is up to. This can retard post-divorce growth and development.

Disconnecting relationships: In situations where technology becomes too big of a part in a couple’s life, they can tend to ignore the human need to connect. Not spending time together in a meaningful way can increase the divide that couples feel and lead to divorce.

In Summary

While ultimately technology is a good thing in how it can help you save money and time on a divorce, rebuild your life after one, and get the emotional and legal support that you need, it can’t be fully embraced without being aware of its costs. Find the balance, and you’ll be a happier person.