Divorce is a legally and emotionally complicated process. (Talk about an understatement!) There are so many things to consider, such as getting your finances in order and figuring out who will get what, who will live where, and if you have kids, what a good parenting plan will be.
It's so important that you pay attention to every details as you move forward with your split, and boy are there A LOT of details. One of the biggest mistakes people make during a divorce is letting there feelings get in the way of making smart, informed choices. 6 Ways To Separate the Emotional Side of Divorce From The Business Side
Being able to separate all the feels from all the legal stuff should be your top priority!
Here are 6 things you can do to help separate the emotional side of divorce from the business side:
1. Recognize Your Triggers
Look, we're all human. Feeling big things while going through a divorce is normal - NORMAL. (Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!) You're going to be going through every detail of your married life when negotiating your divorce and that can bring up all sorts of emotions. The key is not to act on them!
Recognize when you're having a reaction to something during the process. Maybe hearing about how you'll have to relocate after divorce is bringing up feelings, or perhaps having to think about splitting your time with your kids makes you want to throw up. Recognize that you will have an emotional reaction to certain things, just don't act on them.
When you're feeling triggered, you can:
- Take A Breath
- Wait A Beat
- Take Your Time Before Responding
This will allow you to take time to remove the emotional component from whatever task or topic at hand triggered you so you can work through your feelings (and not shoot yourself in the foot by answering in the heat of the moment!)
2. Consider Therapy Or Joining A Support Group
Having a trusted person in your life that you can share all the good, bad, and ugly thoughts and feelings that divorce brings up is like having a magical pressure release valve. If you're new to therapy, reach out to your insurance carrier and ask for a list of in-network providers in your area. You can also ask friends, co-workers, and family for personal recommendations.
If therapy has never been your thing, consider joining a support group. Whether in person or online, it's a great way to work through the healing process and feel connected to other's during a time that can make you feel very isolated. You can find local resources by asking your divorce attorney for recommendation, reaching out to your place of worship, or talking to your librarian!
PRO TIP: Psychology Today has a great online directory of support groups in your area.
If in person is a no-go for you, you're in luck! Apps like Circles are a great option. Circles offers small group session with other people navigating divorce. Per the company, "Circles is a digital platform that offers emotional support during times of need by connecting you with people going through a similarly hard time. Through small, secure online groups led by a professional therapist, you are surrounded by care and support with the opportunity to find mutual relief and encouragement, develop coping skills, and build personal resilience." Yes please!
3. Get A Handle On Your Finances
One of the most emotionally triggering aspects of a divorce is how your budget will change after divorce. Getting on top of your financial realities early in the process will allow you to release a lot of anxiety about the unknown. Having an accurate assessment of where you are now and being able to anticipate what your financial picture will look like after divorce is a game changer. Knowledge, as they say, IS power.
It's important to break down how much money it costs per month for both parties in terms of living expenses, childcare costs and other expenses such as car payments or student loans. This will give an idea of how much income needs to be added each month after divorce proceedings end so there aren't any sudden changes in lifestyle due to having less money coming in than before. The Divorce Planner's Monthly Budget Calculator gives you an accurate picture of what it costs to live your life in minutes. All you do is plug in your numbers and you're done. Best of all, this tool is something you'll have and use for the rest of your life!
4. Start Thinking About How To Split Up Your Stuff
Taking time to log your assets in advance of divorce will go a long way to save you time when you’re negotiating how to split up your possessions during divorce. A complete log of your assets is required for a divorce attorney or mediator to get to work, so tackling this in advance of starting the divorce process is a smart use of your time. This List Your Assets worksheet walks you through what to do. (Bonus, it has two versions: a fillable PDF and Excel spreadsheet!)
So many people get hung up fighting over things that are replaceable because they’ve assigned emotional attachment to an item or decided that they want to make their soon-to-be-ex miserable by withholding something they want. Both are BIG no-no’s. Think of it this way, do you want to spend time and money fighting over an item that has less value than your attorneys hourly rate you’re going to be billed? That puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
5. Make Time For Self Care During Divorce
I know, I know... you read the words "self-care" and think bubble bathes and making flower crowns and getting a manicure. All of that is well and good, but there is so much more you can do that will really fill your heart and mind so that you take good care of yourself during this big life transition.
A few activities to consider incorporating into your self-care routine are:
- Get Outside
You don't need to take a five mile hike or drive to the ocean to reap the benefits of the great outdoors! Even a simple walk the the neighborhood can make a world of difference on a difficult day during divorce.
- Keep A Gratitude List
Acknowledging things you're grateful for is scientifically proven to build resilience. (If there's one thing you need when navigating divorce, it's resilience!) Keeping a gratitude journal helps you gain perspective and think of things outside of the all consuming divorce you're dealing with. The Divorce Planner's gratitude journal can be used on your computer, tablet or printed out.
Yep, helping other's benefits them and you! Being a part of your community at large is a wonderful way to give yourself purpose and perspective. And you might meet new friends too!
6. Start Writing
Get all of the thoughts swimming around in your head down on paper ASAP. Get into a routine of writing once a day -- even a quick five minute journal session makes a difference! Getting everything down on paper can help you get off the hamster wheel of constant worry and anxious thoughts.
According to WebMD, keeping a journal has the following positive effects: reduces anxiety, cuts down on brooding, creates awareness, it regulates emotions, and it can speed up healing.
Starting simple is always best. Start with a few sentences of thoughts or fears that pop up for you. Remember, there are not rules so what you write doesn't have to be long or even make sense.