When it comes to divorce, no one really knows what to expect. So much of the stress in a divorce comes from the unknown: not knowing what's about to happen to you on so many different fronts. However, you can rely on other divorced people to provide insight into what you are about to face.
Remember that book, What to Expect When You're Expecting? It was the number one best-seller for years, and the bible when it came to pregnancy books. It even became a movie last year.
Wouldn't it be nice if there was a version of that book for divorce? "What to Expect When You're Expecting... a divorce."
I didn't write a book, but I did write this: 12 things I wish someone would have told me to expect when I was getting divorced. I really could have used this advice!
- The day your soon-to-be ex moves out, you will feel surprisingly very relieved. The sadness you thought you'd feel will instead be such reprieve, that you will almost feel joy. Don't feel guilty about that. You've been miserable for so long, you deserve a break.
You're going to get attorney statements that will make you physically nauseous. If you want to avoid that, try to settle or mediate with your ex. Put your pride aside, suck it up, and talk to him. You will save so much money. You will feel like you are going to be alone forever and that you will never meet someone. Not true! You will meet someone at some point. I can almost guarantee it. It doesn't feel that way, but trust me, I've never met a divorced person yet who hasn't fallen crazy in love. It just takes time. Your kids are probably going to cry a lot, feel sad, do strange things or misbehave. They are feeling angry or sad or scared or guilty, (like it's their fault). Just talk to them. Always keep the lines of communication open. But don't try to reason with them. Just validate how they feel. Keep telling them that you understand how they feel that way. And drill it in their heads that it's not their fault. Your ex is going to do things that piss you off for the rest of your life. You are going to do things that anger him, too. Half the time he isn't speaking to you, you won't even know why. But, there will be times when he will make you laugh, and you will remember why you married him. They are fleeting, but they are there. You're going to meet other divorced women and they are going to become some of the best friends you ever make in life. Your ex's family is either going to stop speaking to you completely, or they are going to call you up and go off on you. Nine times out of ten, they will not want to remain friendly. It's very hard, but don't take it personally. Your ex is going to have a serious girlfriend in two minutes. Do not be shocked. Some of your married friends are going to dump you, because they don't want to go out as a threesome, they want to go out with couples. But, some of your married friends will be there for you at a level you never imagined, and it will touch you beyond belief. People are going to set you up on blind dates, and when you go on some of them, you will be sitting there dipping your bread in olive oil, and thinking, 'How could so and so possibly think this was a good match?' You will be getting take-out with your kids more than ever before. Make an effort to sit at the kitchen or dining room table and eat with your kids and talk, with no cell phones and no TV, because you are still a family.You will have a year ahead of you that includes hilarious moments, crazy dates, but a lot of crying and sadness too. It's okay. You will be fine.
You will be fine! Have confidence in yourself and handle each thing as it comes. Some days will be good. Some will be really bad. You will cry at least five times a week for awhile. But you will laugh, too. You will still be the same person you are, and actually you will be better. You'll be stronger and more real. You'll be just as good of a mother, if not better. And, you will find love again, but only if you want to, and if you have the guts to open your heart again.