You can spend from here to eternity feeling guilty for the inevitable repercussions of your divorce, but to be quite honest, there’s very little point.
Your ex might be bleating on about how they’ve been in a flat spin since you split up and your children might be riding a dangerous tide on a surfboard of attitude.
Both may wallow in selfish delight blaming you for their behaviour, because it’s easier than facing facts and taking personal responsibility for their actions.
I suspect right now you have enough on your plate wading through your divorce and whilst I accept that it is important to let your children run through the full spectrum of emotions at this difficult time, sometimes there comes a point where they push their boundaries a step too far; their bad behaviour needs to sit at their doorstep, not yours.
As for your ex, well, if they want to act like a delinquent, let them get on with it; I suspect their personality deficiency was one of the reasons that led you to this point.
Assure your youngsters of your love, tolerate their troublesome demeanour to a degree and guide them towards a straight and narrow path; which direction they take when they get there, is entirely down to them.
I know how frightening it is to stand on the edge of a precipice that requires decisive action of such gravity that you know there are going to be severe repercussions.
It’s the sort of fear that roots you to the spot and makes your stomach feel as though it were being wrung out like a dirty dishcloth.
Braving up to face life-altering situations is arduous and it consumes more than an ounce of your flesh as you prepare for it, regardless of how much you believe a change needs to take place. Here are three ways to get started.
Focus on a role model: think of someone who has faced up to their worst nightmare and lived to fight another day; you too will overcome what lies ahead.
Accept the fear: it will fuel you with adrenaline and help you with your immediate needs.
Think backwards, think forwards, move forwards: ask yourself seriously, can you live as you are now or have things simply got to change? Trust your gut and be drawn towards the safest choice.
And remember, whatever you do, you don’t have to do it alone. Ask a close friend to stand beside you and remain safe at all times; brighter times are just around the corner.
I was tapped on the shoulder by a wonderful old friend today who I’ve not seen in two years and we stood in the middle of Waitrose clucking like a pair of ducks catching up with each other’s news in digest.
I relayed my divorce news in bite-sized chunks and found myself bullet pointing that old relationship. It was enlightening – for me – and I want to direct this Tip of the Day to anyone on the lead up to leaving, or anyone who has been treated badly and is now in the devastatingly heartbreaking early stages of the divorce process.
If you are in any doubt about where you are going/where you were heading, recount out loud the highlights of your relationship, pop the good and bad bits in a nutshell and see what your gut makes of it all. Jot your thoughts on paper if it helps but do your best to be as concise as possible about what your ex was to you.
It’s quite refreshing to listen to your own mini-analysis of what has brought you to this point. It reconfirms your recent actions and affirms you are on the right track. You are, honest.
Today was one of the most emotionally challenging days I’ve had in a long time.
There were no instant solutions and my pain was compounded further by a divorce overspill issue that jumped up and bit me in the bottom. I had used up all of my ‘Be Brave, It’ll Pass’ credits and it was all I could to do look around me for an ounce of saving grace.
I didn’t have to look too far to find it. As I sat on the beach reading, a pragmatic dad sat nearby, his hands and patience completely occupied by two disabled young ones under two. Shortly after, an elderly couple passed me by, he in a wheelchair and she, terribly fragile and struggling to push him along, he grumbling all the way. Finally, a family group wandered past, the mother struggling to stop her children from yelling foul mouthed exchanges between siblings and expressing rudeness and impatience for not being given immediate ice cream; she tried hard to appease and looked to be unsupported by her partner. Everyday problems, everyday people all coping with their lot and getting through the day the best they could.
Your divorce is progressing, slowly perhaps, but it is passing and it will end. Occasionally all you can do is look around you to see other good folks who are struggling along but they all stopped to feel the sunshine on their faces today; don’t forget to do that too.
It is all to easy to slip back into the purchasing habits that you were used to, pre-divorce.
If your ex was the major earner in your relationship and you aren’t receiving a great deal of financial support from them, you will have to set an urgent post-divorce budget to live by.
Credit and store cards will make temporarily uplifting but unnecessary purchases horribly accessible but you must remember, you will have to pick the bill up at some point; your ex may have been the last buck, but they aren’t there any more.
Living within your new means is tricky but you can do it and things will be far easier if you set realistic spending limits for food, clothing, utilities, entertainment and so on.
Be sure to explore every avenue for benefits from the government, there’s probably more available than you realised for low earners.
In the meantime, make a positive start by cutting up your store cards and finding out where the charity shops are near you.
When verbal artillery starts hitting the fan and chaos rules between you and your ex, there are often things said in the heat of the moment that have the power to cut to the bone.
Some of the insults, accusations and general statements are probably perfectly valid and one can feel a triumphant sense of achievement as they leave the mouth. However, they’re often followed up by an equally acidic retort and before you know it, you are mentally exhausted, no further forward and to be honest, slanging matches usually only serve to make things worse.
So what do you do with the build up of sentiments you need to articulate that are pushing forward with the strength of a huge body of water? Start an anonymous blog.
They are free and super-simple to set up, I highly recommend WordPress as a starting point. You can customise the colours and images and set them up to have a global or selective readership, or no readership at all if you choose. The point being, a nom de plume blogspace on the internet could turn your turmoil into a pithy blog that extracts the words from of your head, releasing pent up stress and if you do open it up to the reading world, you might find other people derive comfort in your words too.
Regular readers of the Divorce Tip of the Day will know I have a bit of a penchant for embracing distraction techniques to keep you occupied and slightly social.
It’s just as well I have a stack of them up my sleeve too, because it’s very rare for a divorce to conclude within a short space of time, even uncontested ones, unless you have a bottomless pit for a purse that is.
On the run up to Christmas, there are lots of plays and performances in production. Some are being cast now (I know this to be true) and if you fancy diving in to a bit of am-dram, a concerted bit of research should uncover a few in your area. If you’re not feeling quite so confident, perhaps you’ll find solace painting scenery, sewing costumes or doing technical stuff like lighting and sound.
One thing’s for sure, a busy rehearsal schedule with lines to learn will offer the perfect slice of distraction with a highly likely friendly bunch and it might assist you through to your final curtain.
As if a feisty divorce wasn’t enough to cope with, all too often there is emotional aftermath to mop up as well.
It might be yours, or one of your children, it might even belong to a close confidant who has supported you through your divorce.
Manifestations of post-divorce angst might rise in the form of depression or a silent retreat, it might be anger-filled resentment, it could even be a complete slip off the rails with a meltdown thrown in.
Whatever form it takes and whoever it pertains to, I guarantee if it is a third party who is suffering you’ll experience compounded anguish from feeling responsible for its arrival.
Out of character physical and emotional imbalances often have more than one root cause and your divorce might be a single strand from the rope that caused it. If it is affecting you or your child, seek medical assistance and guidance, if it’s affecting somebody else, encourage them to do the same and do your level best to support them as they get back on their feet. Brighter times are ahead.
Recently, my inbox has been buoyant with a variety of requests to help with a multitude of school projects for the PTA.
If there was ever a time you wanted to find a positive distraction from divorce angst, whilst helping to do something extremely useful, the coming months are going to give you such an opportunity, if you have children at school.
There will undoubtedly be chances to create and paint scenery for the Christmas performance and stitches will need to be pulled together in an array of costumes. There will be jams and cakes to make, bring and buy sales and craft stalls to organise and fundraising ideas will be welcomed from anyone with time enough to invest.
If you’ve lost touch with what’s going on with your children at school during your divorce, perhaps this might be the ideal time to be baptised by fire into the PTA and to become fully immersed and reconnected with what’s occurring.
Adultery, in respect of a UK divorce, is an incredibly detail-specific topic.
The exact definition refers specifically to penetrative sexual intercourse between two people of the opposite sex. Bizarrely, if you have homosexual/lesbian penetrative sex, or commit other hetrosexual sexual acts, one can only proceed with divorce on grounds of unreasonable behaviour.
You do not need to cite the name of the other person involved but you must go some way to prove adulterous acts took place.
Interestingly enough, adultery can take place long after a couple have split up, showing that not to be the cause of the marriage breakdown in the first place. The law states that the Petitioners inability to live with their marriage partner, need not directly relate to them eventually having had an adulterous relationship.
Ultimately, whatever acts have occurred with whichever party, the divorce and financial settlements are likely to remain unaffected by adultery. It will not tip in favour of the affected party and if the accusation is contested in a counter petition, the only person celebrating will be the solicitor. If things have broken down to such a degree that mudslinging is commonplace, take it on the chin and just get it over and done with; divorce is no fun however you cut it.