This blog originally appeared on ThinkFinancially, Not Emotionally.
If there is one thing that everyone can agree upon when it comes to divorce, it's that it is predictably unpredictable. Just when you think you have it figured out (to some degree) and you are on the path of recovery -- wham! You walk right into another wall that leaves you feeling disillusioned, confused, and completely unsure of what you are doing.
Yet, in all your upheaval, the one thing to remember is that transitioning from being married to being divorced is that it often occurs in cycles: a period of calm period followed by upheaval. You start feeling somewhat settled and even positive about your future, only to have another change take place that makes you feel you are back at square one. But you are not -- it just feels that way. And you are not alone. Most people going through a divorce experience a 'roller coaster' feeling. Giving yourself permission to take the time (lots) you need, moving forward eventually becomes easier.
Both awareness about the process and what to expect and more importantly what not to expect, is key.
1) To feel secure that you made the right decision. You will have moments when you ask yourself, 'what have I done?' 'Did I make the wrong decision?' Feelings of security sometimes feel fleeting, other times they will drag on with what seems like forever. Only towards the end of yours divorce -- if even then -- will you feel secure in your decision. It takes a long time to get to this place. Give yourself the time and space you need.
2) That moments of calm will last. They will not. They may linger longer as time progresses. Remember that divorce and feelings of calm do not go hand in hand -- but also remember that this doesn't mean that feeling calm and centered will not occur. They will, but with a lot of fits and starts.
3) That the decisions you made today will stay with you and carry you through. Making decisions is a continual reassessment process. You will have to reaffirm your decisions for yourself time and time again. Things change. Circumstances change. People change.
4) Your friends will always be your friends. We would like to believe (and hope) this is true, but it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes friends remain friends with the ex-spouse and sometimes with you. It just depends. Sometimes it's hard to remain friends with someone who's in the midst of a divorce due to divorce contagion -- the fear that being close to someone who is divorcing produces their marriage to crumble and possibly end in divorce. Many unhappy married people are frightened that their friend's divorce may bring their marital issues into the spotlight (because sometimes it does!). And, they don't want them around your spouse, giving them ideas or possibly -- gulp -- the courage to leave their marriage. And, many times the invitations for the couples' events will stop arriving and you will find yourself having to create new relationships with other single people or couples who enjoy having single friends!
5) Listening to others will help you make the right decision. Many people will turn to their friends and family to help them make the right decision during a divorce. Because everyone has their own life experiences, their views will be based on and sometimes biased because of them. Although friends and family do provide a lot of support, people can often miss listening to their "inner voice" and will not make their own decision based on their particular situation. This is the tricky part; you have to find the balance between getting the support you need and want and making decisions that will be good for you and your family.
Remember, divorce -- like marriage and other major life transitions -- takes time. It is a journey -- a journey of your own.