Light at the End of the Tunnel: Surviving Divorce

Divorce is hard. Divorce is staring down the barrel of all the years the two of you spent together, and feeling the weight of your decisions. Divorce is loneliness and fear. Divorce is cataloging your entire life and deciding what you get to take with you. Divorce is so much more than just the emotional toll it takes on you. If you have children, they will crave answers to why their lives are shifting. Custody will have to be decided. The custody of pets must also be determined. From there you have to add up all the financial and physical wealth you’ve gained as a team and divide it to both parties satisfaction.

It doesn’t matter which side of the divorce you’re on, whether you asked for it or not, there is an uncertainty there. Having to start everything over again will give you pause, if only for a moment. A lot of things happen during a divorce, and it can be easy to get swept up in it. There is usually anger from at least one party. If the anger is yours, don’t give in to it. Divorce doesn’t have to be a brutal fight, a desperate need to wrestle every ounce you can from the other party. In the end, none of that stuff will matter. Fighting with each other over Tupperware, Aunt Helen’s tea cozies, and a pizza cutter won’t truly make either of you feel better. “Winning” one of these items might feel good in the moment, but dragging out proceedings over every object will leave you both hurting more.

Even though you are divorcing, remember, not all the times were bad. This person is someone you once loved. You planned a future with. You have inside jokes and funny stories. The relationship didn’t work, and that’s ok, but don’t lose sight of all you gained from the marriage. Don’t burn the bridge more than you have to. If you have kids, this is a bridge you will have to walk on often. Burning it makes you just as likely to get hurt. If you have kids, they are watching how you treat their other parent. It’s setting a baseline for every break up they have.

No matter how long the divorce seems, no matter how hard it is to get through the changes and the loss, all of it will come to an end. You will walk out the other side. When you do, there is an internal push for change. Cutting your hair, buying all new furniture, a need to pull all of the pieces together immediately. Be wary of that inner voice. It’s all too easy to overspend and end up in very troubled waters. This time all on your own. Make the changes, pull things together, but do it mindfully and responsibly.

Divorce is a fresh start. Divorce is a way to reinvent yourself. Divorce is the beginning of the next phase of your life. Divorce is pushing yourself on to better things. Divorce can be scary, but it’s usually for the best.

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