Your marriage is clearly ending. Your relationship is obviously over, and you both agree that divorce or separation is the only option. However, you have children and decide to try to make things as smooth as possible. So you both think that unlike many divorces, yours won’t be messy. You’ll co-parent and successfully and remain a united team from two households to raise your kids. And you think that as long as you’re committed to not making a mess of things, you’ll be the model example of how to divorce and remain perfect parents. Many of us have been there.
Carissa Henry, a divorced mother, shares in a HuffPost divorce article that she was there too. Here’s what she learned:
There is no such thing as an easy divorce. No matter how well you and your spouse end things, even if you’re still “best friends,” it’s not going to happen. And if you have kids… forget about it. There may be a one in a million chance that you have the “easy” divorce, but the odds are against you. So do yourself a favor and realize now that it’s not going to be an easy separation, and begin to deal with it. Many parents say that the days when their children aren’t with them feel like the darkest days of their lives, initially.
You aren’t just divorcing a person; you’re divorcing most of your life. Many people don’t realize that your identity is wrapped around your marriage and your family. It’s who you spend your time with, it’s your status, it’s who you live with and it’s how you are viewed by the world. Who are you once that all changes? Friendships, holidays, paperwork, and social activities may all drastically change.
Self-doubt and self-blame are vicious. You may not realize yet how you will scrutinize and analyze every aspect of your relationship and how you ended up divorced and single. You may start to blame yourself for things that weren’t your fault at all. You’ll need to fight the voice in your head that tells you that you’ve ruined things, and start thinking of the happy times in the past and the good times ahead.
Sadness is inevitable. No matter how strong you claim to be, sadness and regret are bound to catch up with you. When you planned to spend the rest of your life with someone and it doesn’t work out, you will be sad. Even if you know that divorce was the right decision, it doesn’t make it an easy one. Go ahead and cry. Let the sadness out. Don’t bottle it in and pretend like it doesn’t hurt. Sadness is one of the steps to recovery and grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance. Experience the depression and then, when you’re ready, let it go.
The road of your Orange County life post-divorce will get easier, but not right away. It’s probably going to be very difficult at first. And it’s better to know what’s coming and prepare for it than act like divorce is easy.