Regardless of any volatile circumstances during your break up, don’t assume all your friends and associates are conspiring against you.
It’s easy to let paranoia creep in as you stand by the school gate and The They keep their distance, whispering behind hands that cover their mouths, with raised eyebrows completing their disdainful look.
It’s more likely they are conveying news of an inconsequential nature to you, a smear test result or how many inches they didn’t lose at their last slimming club visit.
Try to keep your mind firmly focused on your here and now – not their if’s, but’s or maybe’s.
I have first-hand experience of the oppressive guilt that flows through your veins after causing a fissure in the family unit.
The consequences of a break up are awful; for children, they can be devastating.
If you are in the thick of it right now, it might feel impossible to imagine any similitude of normal family life returning. Trust me, eventually the dust will settle, tempers will cool and the water will run calm once more.
Is there anything you can do to make that happen quicker? Perhaps, but you must hold onto the fact that your children will heal at their own pace, there’s not a prescriptive time for that to happen.
It can help if you treat your children much the same as you did before the break up; do your best to keep their structural framework in place in terms of bedtime, stick to preparing many of their favourite foods, watch movies together that you know give them a happy buzz and do your level best not to throw too many new things into their mix.
Sometimes, all you can do is pour love over them, that’s good therapy all round.
Divorcing a very badly behaved ex can leave you feeling exhausted and quite isolated.
What happens if you have the double whammy of living somewhere isolated too, like a remote part of Scotland, or on one of the islands perhaps and you have to organise shared care of children.
If you cannot abide contact with your ex, you’ll be delighted to hear there are 46 Child Contact Centres throughout Scotland and on the islands where you can organise collection and return of the children without having to see the other parent.
If you are trying to make improvements in this regard, supervised visits can also be arranged where you could have mutual time together and perhaps find better ways of being together as a family, which would possibly be of great benefit for the young ones at the end of the day.
All they are likely to want is a peaceful piece of both parents.
See Relationships-Scotland.org.uk for details.
Every bureaucratic element of divorce has it’s sticky points, but I think working out a fair division of your joint finances is probably the worst, unless you have children that is, then it’s a whole new ball of wax.
If you are in the midst of a relatively amicable separation and are planning to negotiate the financial agreement nicely, that’s amazing and all well and good. You won’t incur huge court costs or legal bills for solicitors who will be more than happy to do it for you.
The Divorce and Separation Calendar at MoneyAdviceService.org.uk is a free online tool that will walk folks from England and Wales through absolutely every aspect of their finances and obligations.
You can input your details in anonymously, you don’t have to complete the whole thing in one hit, you can use approximate figures and adjust them at a later date and it will draw up various outcome scenarios, which will help you both reach your end point sooner rather than later.
The minute the kids return to school in September, the shops will start displaying things for fireworks night, halloween and Christmas! (Yes, I know it’s not even September until tomorrow!)
That’s all you need, as you wade through the inevitable paperwork and form filling in of your divorce.
This tip is going to face the big C full on as pretty soon, you’re not going to be able to avoid it.
Make a plan for Christmas right now. Decide what ‘you’ want to and be prepared for friends and family who will project invitations your way with the kindest of intentions and lots of, ‘You’re coming, I’ll not take no for an answer’.
Even if it’s a complete and utter ruse, it’s a great excuse for getting out of being places you really don’t want to be and it might just flip from being a diversion to being a proper plan.
Do you fancy seeing it in whilst basking on a beach in a foreign country? Great, book it up! Do you fancy sitting by a log fire in a cottage overlooking a Scottish loch? Fabulous, just make sure you pack gloves, a scarf and a hat and one of those shake the snow dome thingies, they’re essential.
The creative use of colour is a wonderful way of lifting your spirits and using a splash of it on your body is about as close to your soul as you can get.
Children’s face paints can also be used as body paint. It’s a relatively inexpensive product, easy to get hold of and can be lots of fun to use.
Painting your body with whatever objects take your fancy can be a particularly uplifting thing to do when you feel like your life has been painted in the same dull and uninspiring shades for years.
Put some flowers on your feet. Paint hearts all over your chest. Write phrases of inspiration on your legs and arms and make every word a different colour.
The art is for you, nobody else needs to know it’s there. You don’t have to be an artist to make yourself smile with appreciation at the work and the curvy canvas will undoubtedly give you a reason to giggle if nothing else.
Have you ever heard of super-mood foods? Maybe not, but if you’re suffering with the debilitating symptoms of anxiety or stress during your divorce, you might want to start looking into them.
There is no advice better than the stuff you’ll receive from a good doctor, however, a bit of research into the best victuals to feed your mind and body, will serve you a slice of distraction therapy and might make you change your mind about what you want to cook for supper.
Pure raw organic cacao is rich in antioxidants and tryptophan, a very strong mood-enhancer and it’s also crucial in the production of serotonin, our natural happy juice. Goji berries are fabulous too, easy to throw into a smoothie or to eat raw as a nibble.
Nuts are wonderful, as is soy, dark orange vegetables and dark green leafy ones too. Yoghurt and citrus will help you come out on top of the blues as well.
Perhaps the easiest of the mood-boosters is the good old banana. Packed with potassium and less than 100 calories each, they are very effective if eaten towards the end of the day and some say, they aid good dreams; sound’s like a good enough reason to give it a try to me.
So what do you do when your ex – also the parent of your child – needs to be contacted in respect of an accident or injury to the child.
I guess it’s all very well if they have been a placid and approachable soul, but if their track record of pleasantries leaves a lot to be desired, you may feel hard placed to know where to begin.
The ideal scenario is for you to bite the bullet and give them a call, especially if it’s urgent. Rise above your marital indifferences and do the right thing as parents. If they behave badly in response to your call, when you hang up, throw your palms up to the sky and affirm, ‘No change there then’ the point being, you will have done the right thing.
If you are absolutely unable to speak to them directly, ask a mutual friend to make the call and pass on the news. You may be required to make a joint decision about surgery or treatment and you need to try and find calm and common ground on which to do so.
Your friend can only do their best to pave the way and if you are the primary carer, you may have to make those decisions yourself. Either way, the child is the centre of the universe at that point and their care is all that matters.
Rebound sex, transitional relationship sex, one night stands, call it what you will.
Everyone and their dog will have an opinion on it if you give them an opportunity to comment but the only person who’s view actually counts, is you.
Once you’ve separated from your spouse and acknowledge there’s no going back and you feel ready to explore a physical connection with a new partner, that’s as good a time as any to line some up.
My thoughts on it are very clear; sex is great, it can lift your spirits, make you feel incredible, make you reach sexual heights you never thought were possible, but it also has the power to make you feel as cheap as a fake watch.
You have to be ready to cross that boundary and nobody has the right to tell you that at 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years from your splitting up date, it’s too early!
Listen to your body; it will show you when the time is right.
Reinvention is an interesting concept and not an event that needs to sit on-hold until you’ve received your Decree Absolute.
You don’t have to take Madonna’s hard line on things and make yourself over into a completely new being every couple of years, but a bit of dusting down and shaking around can be a very positive phase to embrace.
New colours, new fabrics, new wardrobe, new music, even new friends can blow a breath of fresh air into your mind, body and your attitude to life and towards yourself.
Take things as fast or slow as you wish, there aren’t any rules, you are in charge of your days and your destiny from hereon. If you’ve always wanted to dye your hair, dye it, if you’ve always fancied your ears pierced, get them done, if you’ve always wanted a beard, grow one; these tips aren’t just read by women you know! Change directions on anything you are drawn towards changing, from the colour of your socks to your sexuality.
If you really want to shake the box up, change your name and enjoy every moment of discovering the you that was always inside, waiting for the right moment to break free.