Consider precisely why you are willingly holding onto, or have taken inadvertent possession of, your ex’s clothes.
A handy waterproof coat, I can understand, a tee shirt that has been hiding under the bed, maybe, but nothing more than that should be clogging up your living space.
If they have not taken their clothes and a reasonable amount of time has passed since they left, bundle them up in black sacks and give them a deadline for collecting them – if you are feeling benevolent – and keep that deadline, the crossing of which will see everything dropped off at the nearest charity shop.
Holding onto fabric memories of happier times will only prevent you from moving on to a new wardrobe.
A financially switched on horrid ex – and there are plenty of those believe me – may well present as Jekyll and Hyde as you get to the bit where you sort out your finances.
They’ll adopt all the pressuring tactics they can get their hands on, in order to transfer the weight of the world onto your shoulders, in the hope you will buckle and settle early for far less than you are entitled to.
All I can advise you to do is bat it all back.
Don’t cave in with their sob stories and don’t break down into a puddle when they project all their inane madness onto you. Hold on to what you set out to do and if they are behaving in an harassing way, inhibit direct dialogue. Have them go through an intermediary instead, your solicitor ideally, but if that’s too costly an option, ask a favour of a strong sibling or a dear chum.
Their monetary whinging and whining is less likely to permeate a human barrier.
In the UK school summer holidays are now a distant memory and families everywhere are fully back into the swing of a normal routine. Of course, if you have a divorce bubbling away on the back burner, you might be asking yourself what normal is right now, as you struggle to firm up appointments with your legal team to move things along.
Solicitors go on holiday too and they love the school holidays as much as the next parent. If you’ve been chasing an urgent appointment with them, you’ll have more luck if you can avail yourself during term time. If you hold on until the half term holiday, the end of term holiday or Christmas, you’ll find yourself in another tricky situation.
I realise it’s probably difficult to find time away from work and perhaps from the responsibilities of your young ones, but it might be worth calling in a babysitting favour from a friend or maybe even calling in sick for the day if need be, in order to meet up with your legal representative to get the ball rolling.
Heartache, exasperation and confusion are regular bedfellows during a divorce.
Do your level best to emotionally let go of your present position as best you can to avoid undue sentimental turmoil.
When you play recent scenes out over and over in your head, you automatically grant a safe harbour to the pain.
It might feel like an incredibly tall order right now, but believe me, resigning yourself to the situation is one of the first steps to getting your head into a level space and recovering from the nightmare that is the divorce process.
If you had the misfortune of being married to a horrid spouse who left you for another lover, it would be all too easy to divert a fair proportion of your anger towards them, in the direction of your replacement.
The fact is, your ex’s new partner may not be in full possession of the unpleasant facts about their new squeeze and to be honest, being cross at the new person is a futile pastime. You’re likely to achieve nothing but a belly ache by confronting them directly and if they do purport to know all there is to know about your ex, good luck to them – they are likely to need it!
One last useful point in respect of the person now filling your shoes is, don’t start comparing yourself against them. Their physical attributes may be similar or vastly different, you are never going to be able to get into your ex’s head to work out why they made the choice they did.
You might as well try to fathom out whether the moon is filled with cream cheese; you’ll have a better chance of getting that right.
If you are tiptoeing tentatively through the early stages of divorce, today’s tip might be of interest, especially if you are having second thoughts.
Reconciliations can happen. Some can turn out to be incredibly successful, with the jab of reality being precisely what was needed to pierce both hearts adequately, prompting a swift rethink about where the relationship was going.
What happens if one wants to try to make a go of it and the other isn’t interested? It may be that the disappointed one has to take it on the chin and move on, but not before pouring every ounce of effort into doing all they can to give it one last try, or at least proposing to.
Rejection of that person’s efforts at this stage will be emotionally costly, probably to both parties, but sometimes it takes a bit of straight talking to realise there is no future in that last ditch attempt and then it’s a question of getting down to the practicals.
If anything, double checking where you stand will arm you with certainty, clarity of thought and determination to get to the end of the divorce as efficiently as possible.
I spoke to a friend recently about how she was coping with her cancer treatment and at the end of our enlightened conversation, she gave kind permission for me to outline our discussion by way of an uplifting tip.
She said that remaining upbeat and continuing to smile was a ‘decision’ she had taken and she was going to stick to her commitment to uphold that disposition.
For her, there wasn’t an option to fall into a puddle of self-pity. She was determined to ride it out and come out of treatment the other side as positively as was humanly possible; after all, what would the other option be? Total misery, apathy against everything, distancing herself from friends and relatives who wanted to help in some way?
Remaining positive when life throws you a curved ball is an admirable way to be, but I concur, very hard to pull off all the time. However, if you can keep a PMA going through your divorce, you will place yourself in the happier camp and that has to be a nicer place to put up your tent.
What was that song that Monty Python’s Eric Idle sang in The Life of Brian?
Getting divorced forces you to have a general overhaul of everything that marks out your days and nights.
To be honest, reassessing exactly how you spend your time is not a bad thing to do, whether you’re getting divorced or not.
Sit yourself down at a clear table and write on individual bits of paper all the things you have to put energy into; going to work, going to the gym, running the kids to ballet/drama/music classes, volunteering at the PTA, getting the weekly groceries in, dropping the DVDs back to the shop etc.
Take a long hard look at those commitments with a critical and selfish eye and find the chores you can screw up into a ball for paper recycling. Be firm, be selfish and get real! Claw back as many minutes as you can by doing an internet shop, or taking other parents up on their offers to move the children to and from clubs and put a limit on the benevolent things you do for the community at least until you’ve finished putting all the energy you need to into the divorce.
Look forward to carving out a new future with a bit of flippant time just to simply ‘be’.
Shared property and children make for an interesting and potentially stressful mix when it comes to sorting out your divorce.
There are a great many critical factors to explore fully with your solicitor, or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau if you are in the early days of your proceedings and busily collecting information. Topics for discussion will include whether it’s in joint names, whether you have a prenuptial or a cohabitation agreement etc.
If you are married, hold onto the fact that you do have a right of occupation, regardless of whether you are named on the deeds and you cannot simply be evicted from that property by your ex.
If you have children, it might be possible for you to live in the property until the children have come to the end of their education.
As I’ve mentioned already, it is a minefield, so seek professional advice as soon as possible if your ex is behaving threateningly and trying to drive you out or block you from living in your home.
During your divorce, unfortunately, you will inevitably find yourself immersed in occasional days where nothing consoles you, nothing cures the hurt and nothing alleviates the confusion.
I’d love to be able to give you a repair-all plaster to place over your wounded heart, that has the healing power to sort everything out. The truth is, even the most resilient of folks who accept the fact that divorce is their best option, have off days.
When they come, sprinkle a pinch of fine iridescent glitter on your body in a place where you can see it and simply sparkle your way through it. Your arms and hands are a perfect place and if it’s a gentle enough dusting, you can excuse it away to inquiring friends by saying you wrote out a greetings card and it was covered in the stuff.
I’m not delusional, it isn’t going to make everything better, but it is a spot of eye-catching, shiny distraction and it signifies the brightness that lies ahead around the corner, hang on in there.