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.
It can take a long time to finalise a divorce, particularly if you have a great deal of property and other assets that you cannot agree on a fair split of, or a large family that is proving complicated to come to a final decision on.
In the US, it is possible for a judge to make a Temporary Court Order while divorce proceedings are taking place, as opposed to getting to the end of the divorce and doing it from that point on. It is often done to keep the waters calm on both sides during difficult or complex cases and to find some working ground for these important issues that will need to be thrashed out in time.
The Temporary Court Order can address some of the following points; who gets which car in the short term, where the children live, visitation arrangements for the children, how the contents should be split in the interim, who has responsibility for bills, rent, mortgage and so on.
It’s not an ideal situation as it is essentially subject to change, but hopefully it’ll give you both a steady footing on which to dot those crucial i’s and cross all of the necessary t’s.
It’s best if you allow your children to process and digest your divorce, in their own time.
Keep as many threads of communication open with them as you can, starting with spoken dialogue of course, but also include texts, emails and letters.
Sometimes it’s easier for them to say things to you indirectly, perhaps the non-eye contact method with no chance of physical confrontation, feels like a safer bet for them.
Do your best to respond in the way you would speak to them, but keep it on a level that you know they will be able to understand. Use honest vocabulary but be gentle and give them permission to express themselves without fear of retribution or backlash.
Whatever their motives, whatever their methods, embrace the line that appears to work best for the children and constantly reassure them of your love and understanding.
After all, they didn’t ask you to get divorced.
Grocery shopping can be a necessary pain in the posterior, at the best of times.
However, when you are up to your backside in matters divorce, this necessary task to get hold of the simplest of provisions, compounds your problems, especially if the place you have to shop in runs a likelihood of having to bump into your ex.
There are two straightforward options open to you. Either change your supermarket, which might not be that simple if you live in a remote area and you don’t have a great deal of choice. Alternatively, get your head around internet shopping. Many stores offer a discount on orders placed by new customers and a great many offer free delivery over a certain amount and some are happy to do your shopping and leave it in the collection area, making a visit to the store efficient and swift.
Turn your experience on its head and find the positive in the changes you need to embrace. It’s no hardship giving up schlepping up and down those soulless aisles, give me an online shopping trolley any day!
Splitting up in later years, or silver separation as it is more commonly known, seems to be a trend on the rise.
Perhaps there’s a wave of modern, more self-assured and assertive souls who’ve realised their life doesn’t have to roll to the bitter end, suffering in a bitter marriage.
People who were super-busy ex-execs are often plunged into great periods with nothing to do, but collect their pension and spend it with their spouses. The trouble is, many realise they barely know each other, because they’ve been too focused on the pursuit of money, instead of inner happiness.
For anyone who has notched up a few decades of marriage, the prospect of being alone might feel like it’s a terrifying one but you’ll get through it and probably be surprised at how much of a wider world there is out there.
Do your best to dedicate as much time as you need to ensuring your financial separations are fair and equitable; your empire wasn’t built in 7 days.
I must confess, I’m quite a lover of the Co-Op. I was delighted to find out they offer legal services and can help with divorce, amongst other things.
If your separation has been mutually agreeable and relatively trauma-free, you might like to consider using one of their very low cost options for a DIY, self-help divorce.
Their divorce solicitors offer Fixed Fee Divorce for £600 including VAT or a Fixed Hourly Divorce Solicitor rate from £210 per hour including VAT.
Visit https://moxp.uk/54 or call 0333 331 5962 to chat to a legal representative or to request they give you a call back.
Co-Op; maybe good with more than food…
How do you self-repair from an ex who has abused you physically, mentally, perhaps even sexually?
You take a deep breath and decide to do precisely that.
Your ex will continue to oppress you as long as you give them the opportunities and power to do so and the first steps in reclaiming the reins come by stating that it’s happened for the final time.
You may well need counselling and additional assistance from your doctor and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Containing the poison within is probably the most unhelpful course of action you can take.
I am often asked whether top level abuse can ever be truly overcome and I am reminded of the brave words spoken by Michelle Knight, the dear soul who was kidnapped in Ohio in 2002 and regained her freedom in 2013. She said, ‘From this moment on, I will not let you define me or affect who I am’.
That’s top level advice.