I regularly suggest coping strategies that help you distract yourself from the troubles of the day as you plough head on through your separation and divorce.
I think the best one I ever employed personally used words…writing that is. I penned poems and funny ditties to help me get some of the tumble-drying words out of my noggin, particularly in the wee small hours; it was a blessing keeping a notebook and pen by the bed to answer the call.
If you don’t think writing is for you, try reading. Join your local library if you aren’t a member already. Find out what their opening hours are and use them.
If you aren’t familiar with the different shelves and genres, make it your mission to find out. Library membership is free of charge, as is borrowing books, although you may incur a small fee if you order a book in that they don’t stock and you’re very likely to be charged for bringing things back late!
A juicy piece of fiction offers a terrific way of suspending reality for a while, as you dive into another world and the quiet reading space of your library can be a great place to gather your thoughts and repair your damaged soul.
Your ex-in laws are an interesting and quite unique set of folks.
I am sure that over the course of your married years, you have probably shared some great times and it’s a possibility that over recent months, the tone of your relationship may well have changed.
Whether it has stayed close and strong, or deteriorated to a punishing state, you must remember that you have a right to keep them at whatever distance you feel happy with.
Indeed, it is sad if you feel you need to draw a line under your connection with them, for whatever reason, particularly if they are behaving unpleasantly towards you because they’re feeling protective of their child.
Ultimately, a divorce between two people may end up feeling a little wider as it draws in other casualties along the way.
In the short term, keep self-preservation high on your agenda.
It’s incredibly easy to feel emotionally scarred by the actions of an unpleasant ex but don’t be frightened off of other members of their gender for life.
Take things as slowly as you need to once you’ve come to terms with your separation and remember that being in a relationship isn’t a necessity, but it can be a wonderful place.
Learning to trust again, allowing yourself to love again and letting down the barriers enough to let a new partner into your life might be tricky, particularly if you had a tempestuous relationship before, but try not to tar potential new loves with the same brush as your old love.
Learn from what happened before and do all you can to not let cracks from the memory of it, ruin any new foundations.
In the wake of a very high profile celebrity divorce case here in the UK, I was asked to speak on a handful of mid-morning BBC radio stations on their case and the general topic of divorce and domestic abuse.
I was asked several times whether people threw the towel in on their marriages quicker than had happened in the past. Prior to my research on the subject, I would have said that as a society (Western world anyway) we have embraced an almost throwaway attitude towards things like our mobile phones, old computers, TVs and so on. We can replace and upgrade their spec in a heartbeat and it is possible that we’ve transported that same attitude into our marriages.
It’s more likely, however, that with a spiralling population with enormous financial pressures on their shoulders to keep up with the Joneses’ that the value of that most precious of institutions may have slipped through our fingers a tad.
I think more emphasis on the work/life balance in favour of life and subsequent better communication will help us to hold onto the good and overcome the bad.
Is it time to book a day off and give your faltering marriage one last shot? Believe me, walking away from anything with your hands held high, saying you’ve done all you can, will bring you comfort in the future.
A few years ago, I wrote a poem called, ‘I’ve Struggled Today’ which talks about how tricky it can be to carve a route through a regular day when the fangs of divorce have a firm grip on your backside.
If you are feeling the pressure of your divorce or separation, put pen to paper and just write about how you feel. Do it by way of a letter to yourself, or a letter to your ex that you don’t intend to post, or a poem if you feel so inspired, or perhaps a short story.
Whatever you write, once you are the other side of the piece I am sure you’ll find a pocket of mental respite in having got those irritating words out of your head and onto paper (electronic or actual).
Then consider the merits of burning it or burying it. Sending the angst back to the Universe is a very healing way of dealing with caustic words.
I must say, my favourite demise for such pieces is careful burning in a controlled way in the garden. It’s not about the delivery, it’s all about the externalisation. Write out your darkness today.
Recently, I talked about separation, divorce and the situation if you have/had a mortgage and are based in the UK. What happens if you’re renting?
If you have a sole tenancy that is not in your name, but in the name of the person you’re married to, they will be liable to pay the rent for as long as the tenancy continues.
If your ex has left the property and the rent isn’t being paid by them and arrears build up, the landlord may take action to evict you.
If your ex-partner is no longer paying any rent, you do have the right to take over and pay the rent and the landlord cannot legally refuse to accept it from you.
If the landlord says they aren’t prepared to accept your rent monies, proceed to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau immediately, you do have rights and you need guidance and advice as soon as possible. Good luck.
Adrenaline is the stuff that divorces are made of. It will fuel your body through a great many of your most stressful moments and you will get through the other side, but there will a price to pay.
Once your fight or flight situation has passed and your heartbeat has returned to normal, your body is likely to say, ‘Excuse me, sorry to bother you but it’s time to pay up with your pound of flesh’.
I say, ‘Pound of flesh’, actually, it’s your eyelids its after.
You will need to rest up and probably sleep. When your body cashes in that cheque, don’t fight it, it’s futile. Go to bed, close your eyes at the very least and let your limbs recoup the energy they need to function properly.
The wall of tiredness can hit you with a vengeance after a bout of adrenaline and all the power drinks you can get your hands on won’t avert what it really needs.
Rest and get ready to fight another battle on another day.
If you have chosen to start a new relationship soon after wrapping up the old one, or indeed, if you started a new one before the old one had drawn to a close, don’t panic, I’m not going to berate you, I’m here to lay out a few words of advice.
Try hard not to flaunt your new beau in front of your old love. It will cause you no end of trouble, even if you feel the ex deserves to be hurt, it may come back to bite you far harder in the bottom than your intended victim.
Love on the rebound can work and can be far more fulfilling than anything you’ve ever known, but tread lightly forward with the new source of your affections and build a slow and steady relationship built on the best foundations you can.
Your ex will unquestionably feel the sting of you being with another, they might end up lashing that sting out in your direction if you cross their path with bad intentions.
Old friends and acquaintances from your married years are a funny old lot when you think about them; they’re unpredictable, unreliable from time to time and great at making you feel like a total failure.
During the splitting up era, they generally fall one side of the wall or the other. Those that choose to walk straight down the middle of the wall often find themselves caught up with mixed emotions laced in guilt and loyalty, which leads them to take their frustrations out on you either directly, or behind your back.
If you have folks around you like this, it’s well worth asking yourself, at an early stage following your separation, whether you have the emotional wherewithal to cope with their volatility and unusual behaviours, on top of those of your ex, particularly if they are doing a great job of being a flailing salmon.
If not, give great consideration to pulling down your shutters and keeping them on the outside, at least until the dust has settled and your self-preservation armour is polished, intact and firmly buckled on.
We humans are creatures of habit and for some, our rituals are the things that shape our days.
Take breakfast for example; we get up, use the bathroom, maybe get dressed, wake others up, we put the kettle on and so on and so forth. When it comes to the foods we eat and the beverages we consume, they also tend to flow along familiar lines.
When we break up with our partners and continue to follow the same patterns we’ve always made the space they used to inhabit in the breakfast regime, is even more conspicuously loud in its absence.
Why not take this opportunity to change the way you do a few things first thing in the morning. Alter your routine in as many ways as you feel comfortable, change your brand of tea or coffee, perhaps squeeze some fresh juice instead of buying cartons, make a cafetiére of coffee instead of using instant, get a new dressing gown perhaps, make a couple of alterations to what and when you eat and maybe even choose a new radio station to tune into.
Fresh starts in every respect are healthy for the body and very good for the mind.