I was very independent prior to getting married. My mother made sure to always encourage me to do things for myself, by myself, because there is no guarantee that there will be someone to fall back on -- even in marriage.
When I bought my first house in my twenties, I was going to have a roommate. She cautioned me that doing this could rob me of the opportunity to truly provide for myself. Not just then, but at any point in the future.
I can't even begin to tell you how valuable those lessons were when I had to start over. I knew how to take care of a home, budget, pay for everything on my own, do basic home repairs and not rely on the assistance of a roommate or partner to do any of it.
Of course I surrounded myself with people I needed, whose expertise was trusted or proven. I mean, I could install window blinds, but plumbing should be left to a professional right? If I thought I could cause a flood or burn the place down, I called in help.
When starting over after divorce, or even contemplating those next steps, you need to be prepared to do it alone. Alone, with some smarts and a few secret weapons that is. What you need is people.
You need smart people, qualified people, fun people and give it to you straight people. People to help you thrive, fix your car, make you laugh and even people for tough love.
Money People: Find an advisor for your financial planning. Look for someone who understands your money goals and needs, who will work with you on a long-term investment and budgeting strategy. Don't assume that the people you used during your marriage are the best fit either. Your husband's third cousin who was your accountant; what if he chose sides?
Fix it People: This could be a qualified mechanic, handyman, home-improvement expert or contractor. Do not search for these types of people on Craigslist. I feel like that's a given, but for good measure I feel compelled to say that. Ask friends, family or coworkers for recommendations and do your homework on the people you hire. Get estimates or final costs in writing before authorizing any work.
Non-drama or judgy people: I've seen so many times with clients, family and friends who think they're "helping" by always pointing out your exes shortcomings. They think they are supporting you, because what's better that agreement with what a jerk he is or was. Tell them to stop. Ask them to help you focus on moving forward in a positive way. If they can't or don't know how, create some distance.
Be wary of online support groups as well. I've made the rounds on Facebook groups and a few divorce specific platforms. While the purpose is to give people an outlet for grief or support, these places are often filled with drama. I have personally witnessed bitter women slinging insults or half-assed legal advice under the label of support. Man-hating women and laptop lawyers should not be among your people.
In my divorce I had a lot of judgy people. My clients have had this experience too. They pick sides or tell you that this is a huge mistake. They might even say bad things about you. Friendships can change on a dime during divorce. Be prepared for this and be very careful who you confide in.
Fun People: Friends, people at work, the flavor of the week on Tinder -- basically anyone who makes you laugh or provides a good distraction. This could be anything from catching a movie, grabbing a drink after work, brunch with your BFF and yes, even a fling by swiping right. I'm a non-judgy person, so get it girl if that's what you need.
Give it to you straight people: Professional tough-lovers as I like to call them. These people can be therapists, coaches or experienced advisors in life matters. Think first of what your desired result is. Who or what is the best accountability partner in that success?
Therapy -I've done it twice since divorce, as a family to aide my son's transition. Huge props to our therapist for helping my son deal with separation and the eventual blending of families.
Choosing this route will depend on what you are comfortable with and I know there are those of you who feel like seeing a therapist is desperate or will get you labeled. Do it if it feels like this is the right path for you. Especially if you have children, because trust me, no matter how close you are there is something they are probably not sharing with you. It took my son a few months to admit that he blamed me for the divorce.
Also, don't be afraid to switch therapists. An insurance referral may not be the right fit for your success.
Coaching -Coaching unlike therapy is a more direct path to the end goal. Mainly because the focus is on how you want your life to look and feel after the sessions are complete. Often times you will often have greater access to a coach than you would a therapist.
A good coach will have you do mindset work, which challenges you to think bigger and dive deep into core belief systems. A good coach doesn't BS you. He or she helps you confront yourself, be utterly honest with yourself and let you say things your friends would gasp at. "I need to be more than a mom to be fulfilled" is not only acceptable but encouraged thinking. We don't need to analyze that statement. We need to accept it as a part of who you are and find a way to get you fulfilled and thriving.
I'd love to hear about who your people are...