Twenty Something and Divorced

Being twenty something and married is often difficult, being twenty something and divorced is always tough.
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Being twenty something and married is often difficult, but being twenty something and divorced is always tough. Beyond the usual issues of divorce, the twenty something divorcee faces a myriad of additional concerns including single parenting young children, lack of available emotional support, financial hardship and increased social isolation. There are many ways to cope, here are just a few:

• Shed self condemning beliefs; divorce is not a synonym for failure. Many people think of themselves as being a failure when their marriage fails. This is simply not true. Being divorced does not make you a failure, a loser, a bad person or any other self-limiting personal depiction.

• Don't buy into the gossip mill. Unlike Eva Longoria Parker or Britney Spears, it is unlikely that details of your divorce will make the cover of supermarket tabloids. It is, however, likely to become fodder for gossip for family, friends and foes. Speculation as to what went wrong, who was at fault and how the settlement will play out will become the subject of many kitchen table, and water cooler conversations. Accept the fact that people are going to talk about your situation, and yes sometimes it hurts, but don't let it bring you down and add to your stress and pain.

• Figure out how to deal with hurtful comments and unsolicited advice. As soon as word of your divorce gets out, you will be subjected to comments and advice from everyone from your mother to the neighbor down the street whose 3rd cousin is a divorce lawyer to the co-worker who had a friend who went through the "exact same thing." Remember not all advice is useful and not all comments are complimentary. Come up with a standard response ahead of time; "thanks, I will give that some thought." For particularly hurtful or prying comments try; "why would you want to know that?"

• Protect yourself legally; regardless of the duration of your marriage or your age, you have certain legal rights and obligations. Get some credible legal advice early in the process.

• Get your finances in order and plan for the future; it is crucial to protect your finances. Develop a plan for meeting your current living expenses. Talk to a financial advisor before making financial decisions, which will have long-term implications such as alimony and retaining or selling property. Review your life, health and auto insurance coverage to make sure they are adequate. Although it seems early, retirement planning should be given careful consideration.

• Stop packing emotional luggage. In an attempt to develop or regain a social life many young divorcees engage in inappropriate behavior; excessive drinking, promiscuity, extravagant spending. Avoid the temptation. Dressing like a Snookie look-alike may have been acceptable in pre- married days, but may be completely unacceptable given your current life roles, particularly as a parent and or professional.

• Take the lessons learned and move forward, find ways to celebrate and embrace your new single life.

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