3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Feel Better While Getting Divorced

coach divorce Jan 23, 2024


DISCLAIMER: Before we get started, just a reminder that this is generalized divorce information, not legal advice. Legal advice is particular to your jurisdiction, which is the state and county in which you live. Therefore, I always recommend scheduling a consultation with an attorney in good standing, who is licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction to get legal advice that’s tailored to your particular situation.

Sometimes, it feels like there’s nothing controllable about the process of getting divorced. And in fact, there are a lot of variables that are not controllable: your attorney, your ex, your ex’s attorney, the mediator, the judge, among other variables. 

But there are quite a few elements that you can control, some of which you might not think of at first. Let’s review three of them that can help you feel better right now and…wait until the end, because I might have a little bonus for you!

Number one.

This may rub some people the wrong way, but I’m going to throw it out there anyway. I’m suggesting you consider a “dry divorce,” where you don’t drink alcohol or use other non-prescribed mood-altering chemicals while you’re getting divorced. Here’s why. If you were pregnant, would you drink alcohol during the pregnancy? Most people would not, because they would want to give this new life they’re carrying the best chance grow healthfully in utero and to be born without any birth defects attributable to their alcohol use. Similarly, divorce is a passageway to a new life. And it requires many pivotal choices and decisions, not only for yourself, but on behalf of your children. It is also a loaded emotional landscape, with fear, grief, anger, vulnerability, regret, loneliness, to name just a few. I’m suggesting that you not medicate during this time, so that the choices and decisions that need to be made, as well as the emotions that need to be felt and navigated, and are not compromised or side-stepped, respectively. Simply put, divorce is too big a transition, with too many long-term ramifications, to go through under the influence. 

Number two.

Make the time to grieve. Even if you are excited to be divorced and so “over” your ex, there is still the loss of the hopes and dreams you had at the beginning of the marriage is no small matter. And while none of us likes to grieve, we can and should make time to do so. Why? Well, because you have to feel it to heal it. And grief, as well as the other emotions that come up in a divorce, will carry interest on the “unpaid balance,” just like a high interest rate credit card. The longer you stuff down the emotions, leaving the balance unpaid and accruing interest, the more likely this debt will affect your future “purchases” (meaning relationships). That’s just how it works. When I grieve, and I’ve had to do it a lot lately, because I have a mom in hospice, I get on the dog bed on the floor with a pillow and blubber. That’s what works for me. You might prefer to cry in the shower or in a quiet moment after the kids go to bed or in the arms of a trusted friend or family member. Or maybe your grief manifests as deep anger and you need to go to a rage room and smash up some stuff. However you do it – just do it – so that you don’t bring that huge balance into your next relationship. 

Number three.

Maintain a solutions-focused orientation. What the heck does this mean? It is so easy in divorce to look backwards at all the transgressions that occurred and to want to hold your ex accountable. The problem is…the divorce process is not equipped to do this. It’s hard enough to create parenting time schedules for the kids, to determine whether or how to share income and to figure out the property settlement, let alone trying to even up the scorecard for historically bad behavior. This is why most states are “no fault,” meaning that the court system isn’t going to wade into this topic. At all. In contrast, a solutions-focused approach looks to resolve the issues at hand with the resources currently available. In the vast majority of cases, both parents are going to parent the kids, marital property will get split up equally, and income doesn’t change hands unless there’s a big discrepancy in what the parties are earning or a big discrepancy in parenting time. Why waste time trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic? Time is money – BIG money – in a divorce – literally hundreds of dollars per hour. Don’t waste it trying to recreate the past.   


Number four.

Not only do you need to feel the emotions that are part and parcel of divorce, you’ll need to process them. Hire a therapist or a coach to help you do so. What’s the difference? A therapist is going to help you regulate emotionally if you’re having trouble doing so and they can also help you unpack the learnings from your marriage, which could also relate back to your childhood, since we often pick partners who are a mix of our parents’ good and bad qualities. A coach is going to assume you’re creative, whole and resourceful and able to regulate yourself emotionally. They can help you sift through the learnings from the marriage, as well as work with you to help you create the life you want moving forward. They’ll also help hold you accountable for the actions that will be required to get you to this new life. I do divorce coaching as do many other people. If you’re interested, you can click here to be directed to information regarding my services.

If you need my ultimate resource for navigating the legal, financial, emotional, and personal growth aspects of divorce, you can get a PDF version of my bestselling book, Divorce Wisely here.

May you have all the support you need for this challenging season.