I spent some time listening to a phone-in on divorce this morning on the radio.
Within a handful of callers, both men and women, there were many different perspectives given on this tenuous topic. Some couples had managed to hold onto civility for the sake of their children in most cases, whilst others were still reeling with pain caused by their vitriolic ex’s vile behaviour.
What I found most interesting was that some of the divorces took place almost two decades ago and the upset was as raw as it had ever been.
Divorce is a life changing event and it is likely to leave a scar across your heart. If you are able to minimise the damage by keeping the tone as calm as possible, it might be an investment in the long term.
Whatever you decide to do to stop tempers from flaring, don’t give in to what is rightfully yours during the financial divide. You are both entitled to 50% of your jointly amassed wealth. If you throw that down the river, you’ll might find yourself chewing on that bitter pill two decades down the line too.
The first day of anything holds an immense power to feel quite significant. The first day of a special holiday for example, the first day of a marriage and the first day following the death of somebody very close to you.
The first day after you and your spouse split up is likely to resonate with all three of those and more besides.
Whether you left them or they left you, the echoes of what should have been happier times fill the void inside you and for a while, it is normal to feel positively numbed by the experience.
Despite well meaning advice from friends and family, listen to your heart when deciding what to do next. If you need to sit still for a while to digest what’s gone on, do so. It’s not wallowing in the pity of the situation, it’s more like catching your breath and preparing for what lies ahead.
It’s New Year’s Day and I’ve been wondering whether the winds of change have blown into your life.
I think it’s potentially disastrous to make resolutions today for the things you want, however, it is a perfect time to reflect upon the things that you don’t want in your life any more.
Abusive, neglectful, unfaithful, unloving, hateful, bullying and oppressive spouses need to watch out because the turn of the page into January often signifies a turn of the page for bad relationships too.
If you are looking for the perfect time to end your marriage, believe me, there isn’t one. As you stand at the edge of that emotional precipice waiting to kick off a pea-sized chunk of gravel that you know will dislodge other rocks and displace boulders, starting an avalanche cascading down the cliff face of your life, take solace in the fact that you are not alone.
The hardest part rests in making the decision to say it’s over and as you kick that piece of gravel, invariably, you’ll feel a weight lifting from your shoulders.
You may well have to clamber over those wretched boulders for a bit, but a new life, a happier life awaits you if you’re ready to embrace it.
If you’ve broken away from a spouse who could best be summed up as controlling, maniacal, deceitful and utterly deluded in the thought that they are fine, it’s the rest of the world that has a problem, well done you!
It takes a very brave soul to step away from somebody that has such a loose grip on reality.
Difficulties arise when you remove yourself from the frame and they find a replacement whipping post in your children. It’s disturbing to observe evidence of them drip-feeding poisonous verbal cocktails that paint them out as the victim, when the truth is quite another matter.
However, deep-tissue lies are very hard to sustain and eventually, they will be seen for who they are and they may have to face dire consequences from their actions.
If all you can do is send the child your love and as much reassurance that things aren’t as they seem, do it and do it as often and in as many ways as you can, be the light and send the love.
People can be incredibly judgmental and vocal when it comes to other peoples’ divorces.
Parents and in-laws, siblings and best friends, they’ll all have an opinion on what they perceive you to have done to your ex, or on what’s been done to you, by your ex.
I think sometimes it’s a harder battle fighting the souls who are goading your situation on, like bloodthirsty spectators cheering from the comfort and safety of their seat at a gladiator ring.
If you have a few rallying supporters or enemies of this type in your divorce, you might be feeling the fatigue from the high maintenance cost these individuals put on their association with you.
You are allowed to say, ‘I’m not doing this anymore, leave me be and let me get on with it’, if you feel so inclined.
A divorce is only ever two people wide at the end of the day, I’ve said that many times before and believe it wholeheartedly to be true.
You’ve enough on your plate.
Meditation can guide you through a welcoming doorway to inner peace and you don’t have to be a Buddhist to do it. The ensuing respite can bring reliable, if temporary, release from all the pressures bearing down on your shoulders.
All that’s required is a pocketful of quiet time, a warm space, a pillow to sit on that will encourage you to sit upright with your back straight, or you could always lie comfortably if you prefer. Music stores, your local library, the guided mediation section of Amazon and several free destinations on YouTube will uncover a vast resource to listen to.
With a little focus and practice, they will help you to calm down from stressful situations and may be able to help you expedite your self-healing process.
It’s incredible how much paperwork you amass during a divorce.
There’s not only forms galore to fill in, in triplicate in some cases, with ensuing reams of bitter words on paper going back and forth between upset parties, but when it comes to your financial settlement, you’ll be trawling over bank statements and receipts for years gone by too, all of which will need copying and collating; it’s an entire forest’s worth of grief.
So what do you do with it once the Decree Absolute has arrived and the final account has been settled?
Recently, a UK student fashioned hundreds of old divorce papers into a wedding dress, that she put forward as an examination piece for her GCSE, very impressive.
I decided to burn mine, they were a thorn in my side to look at for what seemed like an eternity, sitting there blinking at me from the chunky red file they were squashed into. It was incredibly gratifying if I’m honest and once the vitriol had been turned to ash, I threw the lot into the bottom of a composting box that I plan to grow potatoes in.
Enjoy whatever you decide to do with yours, it’s a unique, surreal and healing experience for sure.
If the Christmas period has given you time for reflective thought on your relationship and brought you to a decision point where you are ready to end it, my heartfelt loving thoughts are with you.
There is never an easy time to reach that punctuation mark and Christmas and the New Year is a very common time for it to happen, although, I doubt you’ll find any comfort in the thought that you’re heart is breaking along with many others.
I think the reason we find it easier to make definitive decisions about our future is because all of our senses and emotions are heightened, the good and the bad and it’s often clear to know what we don’t want rather than what we do want.
With a few days to go until the end of the year, your reflective moments will probably turn into concrete plans sometime soon. If you decide to proceed with a separation and divorce, you will unquestionably find comfort and an organisational resource in ‘Diary for Divorce: for Women and Men’, available on Amazon.
It will allow you to pour your heart out, keep all your important information in one place as well as venting your frustrations and planning for a brighter future.
Good luck with all you decide to do; the sun will shine again.
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.
It’s Christmas Day; what a tricky one this is to write about.
If you have no children, advance to Go and collect your £200. If you do, here are my most heartfelt, guiding thoughts to help you through it.
Regardless of whether you’re a mother or father and whether the children live with you, your ex, or you have shared care, it may be difficult to keep your emotions in balance today.
If you’ve let the children in on the inner secrets of your divorce, you may be scorned by them and if you do the opposite, you may have the same reaction.
Regardless of your marital status now, at some point presumably in happier times, you and the other parent created a life. Try to hold onto the good thoughts at the root of that.
The focus today is should be embracing peace and when it’s mixed with recent history, sometimes that’s a bit too much to bear. If I’m honest, the best way to get through to tomorrow unscathed, is to grit yer teeth and ride it out; in time, these key days will get easier, I promise.