Thinking back to the day you said, “I Do”, probably the last thing on your mind was divorce. And yet, here you are.
No one goes into marriage thinking it’s going to end. In the face of a 50% divorce rate (70% for second marriages), as a whole, we still believe in the tenet of marriage.
Sometimes when I tell people I am a divorce strategist and coach they think it means I am an advocate for divorce. Nothing could be further from the truth!
I am, however, an advocate for you. And sometimes, that includes divorce. That’s why I talk to each potential client first – to see if this is what you really want and/or need.
The overwhelm, sense of loss and grief, the confusion – these are all part and parcel of breaking apart your marriage. You can expect that these feelings can and will spill over into every part of your life. Divorce is not for sissies!
Being aware of the nature of divorce and the impact it will have on all areas of your life is a big step towards being able to handle it, hopefully with a bit of dignity and grace.
Let’s talk about the effects of divorce on 5 key areas:
Although you may feel like throwing yourself into your work is a good distraction, you may find that your work performance is suffering. Feelings of failure may transfer from your personal situation to your professional life. You may even begin to view your work as pointless or no longer meaningful.
The focus your divorce requires may also leave you feeling unfocused at work, too distracted to give your best performance. The fact that you need your job now more than ever could put you in a downward spiral of stress.
Most of us have some sort of family, from kids to parents, grandparents, in-laws, siblings, and so on. Rather your family is tight-knit or not, likely they will have an opinion on your situation.
If you’re a parent, your parenting skills may be overcome with indecision, too much or too little discipline, or just flat out inability to deal! Unfortunately, this is not a job you can take a vacation from and your kids need you now more than ever.
Your extended family may also begin to feel like a burden – too many opinions, harsh conversations and perhaps judgment. This may trigger your desire to simply withdraw from or at least minimize contact.
As adults, our friends often become part of our “family” and as such many of the same issues pop up. You may also find it difficult to be around others, especially your couple friends.
Your friends themselves may pull back, not wanting to take sides or hold up the mirror that your divorce may reflect about their own marriage.
Your ability to be there for your friends may feel like too much of a stretch of your already overloaded emotions and this might add to your feelings of worthlessness.
This may be one of the most terrifying aspects for many people going through a divorce.
If you have been a stay-at-home parent you are now faced with trying to find employment. If you’ve been working part time you will now need to expand your working hours. Even if you have a full-time job, your income alone might not be enough or the fact that you may need to split your income between to households may put you under financial strain.
Regardless of your current situation, it’s going to change, most likely for the worse. The stability you’ve fought for and perhaps earned is going to be turned on its ear.
Lack of sleep, poor diet, feelings of fatigue, loss of exercise, stress, loneliness, fear – these are the hallmarks of divorce.
A persistent feeling of not enough time, resources or emotional bandwidth could be dogging you day and night. On top of all that, if you do manage to carve out some time for yourself or take care of yourself you may feel guilty doing so. Perhaps you feel like that time should be spent focused on other things like your kids or your job.
You may even feel like you don’t deserve to have “me” time, especially if you are the initiator of the divorce.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that you are not alone. The even better news is that it will not last forever. The best news is that help and support are out there! Awareness is half the battle. Of course, you still have to face the other half of the battle to win the war, right?
There are myriads of resources available to you – books, websites, support groups, counselors, lawyers, mediators, videos…and so on. This is both positive and negative. The sheer volume of resources may be too much to process.
One of my goals as a coach is to sort through all these options with you. Not every resource is right for every person or every situation. How can you know what you for your divorce?
Access to my resource rolodex is one big benefit of working with me. I work to match what’s going on with you up with the right resource to support you.
Divorce is a job.
Often a full-time job. As the CEO of Your Life, Inc., you want the best people working for you so you can focus on the big picture – you. Allowing your divorce to be handled like a job means pulling your emotions, aka reactions, out of it.
Of course, you still have the emotions, but you don’t let them run the company. Sorting through your emotions, dealing with them, healing them, and then moving forward with your life is your work, your real mission. Your ultimate goal is the expansion of the company, making Your Life, Inc. the best it can be!
Once you understand what you need to know, have built a plan you can act on, it’s time for you to grow. That’s the entire philosophy behind The Divorce Strategist.
Having an awareness around how divorce is going to impact you is great – now you need to build a strategy to address each area.This is where we get to collaborate together.
What does collaboration look like?
Believe it or not, you have the answers already. The challenge is that they are buried. Confusion, stress, lack of focus, and just being too damn close to the situation is what keeps you from accessing those answers.
You have the answers; I have the questions.
A brief sample of how we might tackle your situation could look like this:
Think about the 5 areas of divorce “overflow” we discussed above. Regardless of which area you tackle first – Work, Family, Friends, Finances, Emotional/Physical Health – the basic action plan is the same:
- Assess – Where am I right now?
- Prepare – What steps do I need to take to move ahead?
- Anticipate – What could go wrong? How will I respond?
- Act – What is one thing I can do right now?
- Adjust – How did that last step go and where do I go from here?
It’s common for us to have blind spots in these areas; we’re too close to the issues at hand. Emotions can begin to run the job and before you know it you’re duking it out over a vacuum cleaner that cost $100 while paying your legal reps $500/hr to mediate the fight (and yes, that really did happen to me)!
Walk through each of the 5 life impact areas with the action plan questions. Record your answers – not just in your mind; WRITE IT DOWN. Once you have gone through each area, review your answers and ask yourself this next series of questions:
- What things have I handled already?
- What areas have I yet to deal with but can quickly and easily answer the action plan questions?
- What questions left me with a vague or incomplete answer?
- What questions did I have no clue how to answer?
- What questions or areas do I think are not important?
After completing this series of questions you will quickly see where you need support. If you were able to quickly and confidently answer the action plan questions, you probably have a good idea what to do and how to do it.
If you were vague or incomplete in any of your answers, you need some support here to help round it out for you.
If you had no clue how to answer, clearly this is a place you definitely need some assistance.
If you thought any of these areas were of low or no importance to you, this is a blind spot! Even if you think it doesn’t apply to you, believe me, it does. More than anything else you need to dig into this area and make sure you really see what you need.
This brief exercise is an example of how we might work together to determine where you are right now, what areas you need support in, and then build the backing you need in that area.
Take some time to sort through what level of support you need. Or, better yet, let’s sort through it together in a brief chat. Let’s work together to get you pointed in the right direction – towards YOU!