Getting a divorce is rarely easy and one of the most difficult parts of coming to terms with the pending divorce is often just managing the painful emotions and preparing yourself mentally for what's ahead. This emotional rollercoaster is even worse when there are children involved that will be impacted by this life-altering event.
You should first make sure you have done everything you can to make the marriage work out. Reflect and think back whether you've done your best save it. You don't want to look back later and regret you didn't at least try marriage therapy before filing for a divorce.
In most cases, you may have been considering whether or not to pursue a divorce for several months. Now you have finally reached the painful decision that you have to end the marriage in a California divorce courtroom. What's next?
Regardless of the primary reasons you have made the decision to seek a divorce from your spouse, the feelings you are experiencing are often complex and overwhelming.
Since divorce is typically a life-changing event, you need to be able to think clearly while planning it, which includes effectively managing your emotions so you can make wise long-term legal decisions.
To help you gain a better understanding of the mental challenges you will experience, our Los Angeles divorce and family law attorneys are providing some tips below on how to manage your emotions in order to make sound decisions.
Common Emotions in Divorce
Some of the feelings you will experience as you prepare for divorce emotionally may include:
- Fear of leaving your spouse because you don't know exactly what will happen and fear of how it can impact your kids;
- Anger is common in divorce when one spouse was unfaithful or they were physically or emotionally abusive during the marriage;
- Guilt because you feel you failed in marriage and you are taking away the stability of your children in a two-parent household;
- Overwhelmed because there are many crucial financial decisions that must be made, including child support and custody, spousal support;
- Grief because your marriage began happily and you made vows to each other, but now it's not even possible to save it.
- Relief in some divorces because your spouse may have been an addict or abusive and you are ready to move on with your life;
Your emotions and feelings will eventually stabilize as time passes, but you will certainly go through days of sadness, and possibly even depression, especially on anniversary dates.
You need to know these emotions above are common and there are ways to prepare for divorce emotionally. Put simply, as painful as this moment feels right now, you will recover and learn how to get past this. Try to focus on positive thoughts and the bright future ahead for you and the children. Chances are that you will find love again in the near future.
For now, however, let's review some tips on the emotional preparation for a divorce that might make you're your situation a little easier.
Tips for Emotional Preparation in Divorce
One of the first steps to emotionally prepare yourself for a divorce is to understand and accept there will be a temporary uncomfortable period in your life.
Rather than focusing on your current emotional state, try to look down the road a bit and envision where you and the kids will be a year from now. Perhaps the children will be in a home where they are no longer exposed to anger and domestic violence and they are much happier.
Put simply, the best remedy for difficult and painful emotions is time. Thus, even on days that seem hopeless, keep reminding yourself there is a better future.
If you are unable to get past these emotions on your own as time passes, you should consider consulting with a therapist who may be able to help you. Here are some tips below to help you deal with the emotions you will likely face now that you have decided to end your marriage.
Make a Commitment to Move Forward
Recall that you have already done everything to make the marriage work, but it didn't work out and now your best option is to dedicate yourself to a peaceful and civil ending of the marriage.
Now, don't look back and constantly second-guess whether you made the right decision as you will make yourself miserable.
You must accept that there will some bad days ahead. Divorce is not suppose to be easy and growth will come out of leaning to tolerate some negative feelings. Now that the decision has been made, move on to the next steps in the divorce process.
Of course you will still have some negative feelings, but you can't let emotions impact the steps you must take do to protect your best interest and the children as it will hurt you later and possibly make your ex-spouse hostile.
Set some limits on divorce talk and try to focus on your kids and your own health so you will be able to make wise legal decisions moving forward.
Seek Support from Family and Friends
Now that you have made the decision to divorce, don't go permanently stick your head in the sand and wait for your emotions to settle down. It's easy to be tempted into isolation, but be strong and realize this is not in your best interest.
You are most likely feeling overwhelmed and mentally drained, especially if you have children whose emotional health could be impacted too.
You should seek support from family members and close friends and regularly socialize with other people. Ask them for help and just tell them what you are going through and that you are on an emotional roller coaster at the moment.
When you talk to people you trust, it will normally help you feel better and realize you have a better future ahead of you and that what you are feeling today is only temporary.
Provide Emotional Support to Your Children
Clearly, one of the most difficult parts of getting a divorce is the potential emotional scarring of your children. Many people remain in a bad marriage for just this reason, but there are situations where your kids are better off getting out of an unhappy environment into a more stable home.
Don't make the mistake of beating yourself up for not being a better parent for your kids during the marriage, which doesn't help them.
Rather, mentally commit to accepting there will be some changes in your life, which will allow you to become more empathic with the kids and give them crucial emotional support. Put simply, make ample room in your heart for their feelings about the divorce and offer empathy for their worries.
Encourage them to ask you questions and let them know they are not alone. You should always avoid making negative comments about your ex-spouse to your children.
To emotionally grieve does not mean you have to find a quiet place and cry all day. Rather, it means you have accepted the divorce and have started the healing process.
Put simply, it's mentally recognizing the reality of where you are in the divorce process and accepting it. You will go through different stages of emotionally grieving and you have to accept it will take some time to heal, but eventually it will become easier to accept.
Take Care of Yourself
Now is the time to take care of yourself, physically and emotionally, before you get deep into the California divorce process. This means to eat healthy, exercise, and even go to the doctor to get a physical. You could make regular appointments with a therapist. Some people find meditation very helpful to clear their mind.
You can also work on your spiritual health by attending church more regularly, or getting more involved with church activities, or even becoming a volunteer. Further, many churches will offer classes on dealing with grief and most will have a pastor available to talk to you.
Do not make the common mistake of believing excessive food, alcohol, drugs, sex, or smoking will make you permanently feel better.
In the end, they will only make your mental and physical health worse, while impacting your ability to be the best parent to your children at a crucial time in their life when they need you the most. Further, an alcohol or drug addiction can certainly threaten child custody and visitation orders from the California family law court.
Put simply, if you can't eat or sleep properly, then you will not normally make the best decisions.
Contact Furman & Zavatsky for Help
Divorce is normally emotionally draining for most people and some get overwhelmed and make bad decisions.
As noted above, there are some things you can do to reduce the emotional turmoil, but you should start by accepting there will be a temporary grieving process, which is normal and actually is the start of the healing process.
Clearly, this is a time to lean on family and friends for emotional support with a focus of helping yours kids cope with the change.
The end of a marriage will always hurt, but you can manage the pain by emotionally preparing for what is about to happen.
Furman & Zavatsky are Los Angeles divorce and family law attorneys who can help you with any legal issues related to divorce, child support, child custody, spousal support, and property division. Contact our office for a free consultation at (818) 528-3471.