Last year, I wrote a poem called, ‘I’ve Struggled Today’ which talks about how tricky it can be to carve a route through a regular day when the fangs of divorce have a firm grip on your backside.
If you are feeling the pressure of your divorce or separation, put pen to paper and just write about how you feel. Do it by way of a letter to yourself, or a letter to your ex that you don’t intend to post, or a poem if you feel so inspired, or perhaps a short story.
Whatever you write, once you are the other side of the piece I am sure you’ll find a pocket of mental respite in having got those irritating words out of your head and onto paper (electronic or actual).
Then consider the merits of burning it or burying it. Sending the angst back to the Universe is a very healing way of dealing with caustic words.
I must say, my favourite demise for such pieces is careful burning in a controlled way in the garden. It’s not about the delivery, it’s all about the externalisation. Write out your darkness today.
Recently, I talked about separation, divorce and the situation if you have/had a mortgage and are based in the UK. What happens if you’re renting?
If you have a sole tenancy that is not in your name, but in the name of the person you’re married to, they will be liable to pay the rent for as long as the tenancy continues.
If your ex has left the property and the rent isn’t being paid by them and arrears build up, the landlord may take action to evict you.
If your ex-partner is no longer paying any rent, you do have the right to take over and pay the rent and the landlord cannot legally refuse to accept it from you.
If the landlord says they aren’t prepared to accept your rent monies, proceed to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau immediately, you do have rights and you need guidance and advice as soon as possible. Good luck.
Adrenaline is the stuff that divorces are made of. It will fuel your body through a great many of your most stressful moments and you will get through the other side, but there will a price to pay.
Once your fight or flight situation has passed and your heartbeat has returned to normal, your body is likely to say, ‘Excuse me, sorry to bother you but it’s time to pay up with your pound of flesh’.
I say, ‘Pound of flesh’, actually, it’s your eyelids its after.
You will need to rest up and probably sleep. When your body cashes in that cheque, don’t fight it, it’s futile. Go to bed, close your eyes at the very least and let your limbs recoup the energy they need to function properly.
The wall of tiredness can hit you with a vengeance after a bout of adrenaline and all the power drinks you can get your hands on won’t avert what it really needs.
Rest and get ready to fight another battle on another day.
If you have chosen to start a new relationship soon after wrapping up the old one, or indeed, if you started a new one before the old one had drawn to a close, don’t panic, I’m not going to berate you, I’m here to lay out a few words of advice.
Try hard not to flaunt your new beau in front of your old love. It will cause you no end of trouble, even if you feel the ex deserves to be hurt, it may come back to bite you far harder in the bottom than your intended victim.
Love on the rebound can work and can be far more fulfilling than anything you’ve ever known, but tread lightly forward with the new source of your affections and build a slow and steady relationship built on the best foundations you can.
Your ex will unquestionably feel the sting of you being with another, they might end up lashing that sting out in your direction if you cross their path with bad intentions.
Old friends and acquaintances from your married years are a funny old lot when you think about them; they’re unpredictable, unreliable from time to time and great at making you feel like a total failure.
During the splitting up era, they generally fall one side of the wall or the other. Those that choose to walk straight down the middle of the wall often find themselves caught up with mixed emotions laced in guilt and loyalty, which leads them to take their frustrations out on you either directly, or behind your back.
If you have folks around you like this, it’s well worth asking yourself, at an early stage following your separation, whether you have the emotional wherewithal to cope with their volatility and unusual behaviours, on top of those of your ex, particularly if they are doing a great job of being a flailing salmon.
If not, give great consideration to pulling down your shutters and keeping them on the outside, at least until the dust has settled and your self-preservation armour is polished, intact and firmly buckled on.
We humans are creatures of habit and for some, our rituals are the things that shape our days.
Take breakfast for example; we get up, use the bathroom, maybe get dressed, wake others up, we put the kettle on and so on and so forth. When it comes to the foods we eat and the beverages we consume, they also tend to flow along familiar lines.
When we break up with our partners and continue to follow the same patterns we’ve always made the space they used to inhabit in the breakfast regime, is even more conspicuously loud in its absence.
Why not take this opportunity to change the way you do a few things first thing in the morning. Alter your routine in as many ways as you feel comfortable, change your brand of tea or coffee, perhaps squeeze some fresh juice instead of buying cartons, make a cafeti�re of coffee instead of using instant, get a new dressing gown perhaps, make a couple of alterations to what and when you eat and maybe even choose a new radio station to tune into.
Fresh starts in every respect are healthy for the body and very good for the mind.
Crying is a very common pastime when you are clenched in the wiry grip of divorce but did you realise that there are three types of tears.
Firstly there are basal, which lubricate the eye keeping it clear of dust. It’s a fluid not dissimilar to blood plasma. The are also reflex tears which come to wash out irritants like onion juice, they are also linked with coughing, vomiting and yawning.
The third type are emotional tears, more often provoked by sadness and stress but also from being enormously joyous too. Emotional tears have a different chemical composition than the other two, they contain protein based hormones, one of which is a natural painkiller and research suggests that it is the chemical element responsible for making you feel better after crying.
One fact is certain, when you cry you dehydrate and lose some of your essential salts, so after a good session, be sure to top up your water levels, maybe pop a little cream on your eyes and get some good sleep and rest. Tomorrow is another day and you’ll be closer to the goal of the end of your divorce.
It’s funny how books and movies can have such a strong impact on you when you are feeling emotionally vulnerable.
I remember being on my lead up to leaving and watching ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ based on the memoir written by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I’d spend a day drifting in and out of my own thoughts and ended up at the cinema desperately seeking something to lift my spirits. I’d never heard of the book or the author come to that, but it was either this or a mad shoot ‘em up flick; I went for ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and am so glad I did.
This celluloid presentation of a lady seeking solace through a difficult divorce was just what I needed and I remember clearly feeling her palpable torment before leaving her husband, as if it were my very own; I guess part of it was.
Here is a quote from the lady herself: ‘This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something’.
How true that is.
As tempting as it might be to have your children deliver messages to their other parent when they visit them, don’t do it!
This warning comes with an exclamation mark too, it is a serious parental offence and one that you’ll end up paying a price for, eventually.
Children are delicate souls and they might not show it, but their emotions run as high as yours, if not higher, especially if you reach the, ‘I don’t want to see that person ever again, let alone talk to them!’ stage.
Be the grown-up here and preface phone calls to your ex with something along the lines of, ‘Look, I realise we aren’t doing too well at this communicating thing, but I need to tell you X, Y and Z. Why don’t you chew that over and get back to me when you have a moment, thanks, bye’…
Alternatively, call them when you know the answerphone will intercept the call and you can speak with more confidence because you know you won’t have to engage conversation.
Be sure to be out when you get the return call and everybody wins.
Once the divorce is underway and the legal pens have started rolling regarding your financial settlements, ensure all the stones are properly upturned.
All property owned by you or your partner from before or during your marriage, all savings, investments and pensions will be taken into account by your respective legal teams to determine the eventual monetary split between you.
Do not attempt to hide anything, it is not worth the hassle and your partner will probably flag it up when things move along anyway, at which point you are likely to be penalised by the courts for being covert.
Lay all your cards on the table and don’t play games.