I’m so sorry. Congratulations. It likely doesn’t feel like congratulations time if you’ve only just discovered your marriage is not going to work. But at some point, however far in the future it may be, it will. This might be hard to believe, but it’s true. This is just one of the things I’ve learned going through my own divorce. Here are some other things I learned or wish I’d known at the start.
1. Welcome to Divorce Club. It’s a little like getting a motorcycle. You’re going to find out there’s a little wave and an understanding people flash at each other. We find each other via uncanny emotional cruising we might not realize we’re doing. You’re entering or have been through the shit. We know. We’re there too. People who haven’t been there have no idea. Those civilians probably aren’t going to be very cathartic to talk with.
2. You will need a new emergency contact for your doctor’s office. This will hurt.
3. There is no reason the person you’re divorcing is going to make more sense to you or behave in a way you think makes more sense during divorce than they did during the marriage. If they did, you wouldn’t be getting divorced.
4. Holding onto anger and resentment about your spouse’s behavior is only going to make you, your friends and definitely your kids miserable. Of course, it’s a good idea to feel however you do feel about things. Be as angry as you need to be when you feel angry. But nurturing anger long term is just going to make the divorce process harder. You have practical shit to deal with now.
5. You are going to be a teenager for a little while. This part can be fun, especially if you’ve never been one before.
7. You get a sex life! Only have sex with people who are unavailable for a relationship for a good while.
8. Make a friend under the age of 25 who can talk sense to you about texting and social media as they relate to online dating, pick ups and their aftermath. If you haven’t dated in a while this shit might be new to you. If it’s been a really long time, learn how to have safe sex.
8. Have some friends you can fall apart with. Divorce Club members are good candidates. Unless someone has been through hell, they won’t be very good at being with you while you’re in it. Walk away from advice givers (this included if it bothers you).
9. Divorce is like a death. It’s the end of your idea or dream of a future you made decisions and compromises for. And like any death grieving isn’t linear. Be very gentle with yourself. A friend told me “when someone dies you get a year.” Your life relationship died. You deserve to be forgiven for whatever weird stuff you may do this year. See number 4.
10. You thought planning your wedding was time-consuming and expensive?
11. If you can avoid hiring divorce lawyers, do it. It’s a cliche because it’s true: the lawyers will do better than either of you will financially in the split. You will often end up having to manage and fight with the lawyer as much or more than your ex.
12. Don’t hire a lawyer without an endorsement from someone who’s been in Divorce Club a lot longer than you.
12. Nothing emotional is accomplished or gained in a lawsuit. You will never feel better because you sued someone. You should take care of yourself and if this is necessary to do financially, then it’s necessary. Just know that it is often a second emotionally painful thing to deal with in an ongoing way. And it makes closure take much longer.
13. If you die while you are still married, your ex is your next of kin. At some point you will be motivated to do whatever you have to do to end it.
14. You will want to be divorced more that you ever wanted to be married.
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