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“It’s always darkest just before the dawn.” It’s a saying you’ve heard hundreds of times, and it’s usually said by someone standing in a different “time zone,” where they are already in the light. Meanwhile, you may be stuck in a place so dark, it’s hard to believe there will ever be a dawn. Divorce can often feel like that. Your marriage may have slowly gotten worse until divorce was the only option, or your spouse may have surprised you with a request for divorce in a marriage you thought was working fine. Either way, divorce is like an earthquake, and the rubble of the life you thought you had is falling around your ears. Rebuilding may seem impossible. The good news is, it’s not. Getting through divorce is never easy, but when it feels worst, it’s about to get better.
You already know that lots of people go through divorce. You probably know more than you can count. And while no two divorces are alike, the sheer multitudes of people who have been through it before you are proof positive that you can not only survive, but thrive after divorce.
There’s no question that you will get through your divorce. The question is how. The mere passage of time means that at some point, your divorce will be behind you. The goal is for you to be thriving when that happens.
The good news is that the passage of time can help to make things better. The bad news is that the passage of time requires...time. When you’re in the midst of a painful divorce, time can seem as if it is dragging. While time is passing, though, there are things you can do to set the stage for the future you want to unfold.
Divorce brings up a lot of feelings, and grief and anger are some of the big ones. A mistake many people make is thinking that having a good life after divorce requires them to push those feelings away. While there’s a certain amount of merit to “fake it ‘til you make it,” it’s also necessary to feel and process your natural emotions before you can put on that happy face.
Some people make the opposite mistake: getting stuck in those feelings, especially if they didn’t want the divorce in the first place. They may isolate themselves, or ultimately drive away those people to whom they do reach out by continually rehashing the same sad stories or complaints.
Fortunately, there’s help for both of these situations, and they come from the same place: therapy and support. At Mundahl Law, we highly recommend our clients get some kind of counseling. Counseling can not only provide you a valuable new perspective at a time when you may be “stuck in your own head,” but can help you develop the tools to get to a different place. Therapy can also help you explore your role in the end of your marriage so that when you are ready for a new relationship, you can approach it in a healthy way.
Support groups serve a different, but related, purpose. A good support group will give you a place to vent with others who understand what you are going through, advice from those who have been there, and something equally valuable: the chance to make friends with people who are in the same boat as you. Divorce can be isolating; friends with whom you hung out as a couple may drift away or stop inviting you to things so you won’t feel “awkward.” Building new friendships can make a world of difference in your experience and outlook.
Every support group has its own “vibe.” Don’t give up if the first one you try isn’t the right fit for you. If you keep trying, you will find a group that makes you feel at home and reminds you to be hopeful for your future.
In addition to a support group, don’t forget to engage in self-care. Try to get enough rest, exercise, healthy food. Treat yourself as valuable and you will start to feel that way again.
There’s another saying to keep reminding yourself of as you move through the dark times in your divorce: “I may not be where I want to be, but at least I’m not where I used to be.” You are no longer in a broken marriage, but on your way to a whole future of your own design. It may not feel better yet, but it will—soon.
If you have questions about making it through divorce, we invite you to contact Mundahl Law to schedule a consultation.
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