Is your marriage ending? Here’s some practical suggestions for working through.
Are you a father going through a divorce? Trying to make the process easier? Hoping for some practical tips to help keep your sanity in check? If the answer is yes, you wouldn’t be alone.
The hard truth is nearly half of all marriages in the United States end up in divorce. During the transition period, many people are left emotionally devested, particularly dads with young children.
Is there any way to make things easier? The answer is a qualified “yes”, however, it would be untrue to say things will be stress-free. Instead, it’s better to think in terms of creating a “soft landing”.
What follows are seven tips for fathers surviving the divorce process. Some of these are common sense. Others will make you pause and think. Read them all and apply what feels right to your situation.
1. Try to react rationally
Avoid any tension from an angry wife by keeping a level head and reacting rationally to whatever she says or throws at you.
One tip: Do not engage in verbal or physical battles with your wife. Otherwise, you might risk yourself of being thrown out of your house.
So, no matter how impossible your spouse is, you can cope up with her during and after the divorce by learning how to manage your emotions.
For instance, in a high conflict divorce, consider thinking of a few proposals rather than fighting for your idea for a better decision later. And you need flexible thinking here. That is also to say not to reject what she’s first saying when discussing new ideas to come up with a decision.
Part of flexible thinking, you should also check yourself and your reactions to stay rational. If you do, you can make decisions out of a calm mind and rational thought.
Staying rational, you can also focus on the big picture by keeping track of the things you want to accomplish during and after the divorce. For example, think differently about the way you respond to your spouse in front of your children if you want a less difficult divorce process.
If you need help in managing your emotions, contact a mental health counselor who is experienced with relationship transitions. Doing so will help strengthen your abilities to keep your emotions in check.
2. Hire an experienced divorce attorney
Find a sympathetic and competent divorce law attorney that has the experience working with fathers as early as possible if you feel that divorce is inevitable.
You can ask for recommendations from other divorced fathers, local state bar associations, family and friends when searching for a lawyer. It helps to learn as much as you can about the legal intricacies of dissolving a marriage so take your time with this process.
FYI: Don’t be afraid to hunt around the web and identify professionals who specialize in marital collapses when looking for a divorce attorney. Your goal should be to identify the best person possible to fit your needs.
By seeking out help sooner, you can avoid mistakes that might damage different aspects of the case and your child custody goals.
Your lawyer can guide you through the process’ legal aspect as well as refer you to specialists in the areas of mental health, emotion management, and financial coaching. When you get those referrals, make the most of them.
3. Communicate with people (the more, the better)
Men aren’t known to be vocal about their feelings. As a tribe, we speak less or not at all about our emotions; something we can chalk up to societal norms. As a result, some dads going through marital changes end up isolating, thereby making their moods worse.
To avoid this problem, communicate with people by reaching out to others. As you go through this painful stage in your life, seek emotional support from close friends, family, clergy, professional counselors and life coaches if needed.
Remember you’re looking for support, not sympathy, so be wise about who you confide in and choose people who genuinely care about your welfare.
4. Try not to be the aggressor (by yourself)
Do you want to keep your finances, reputation, and well-being intact during and after the divorce? Don’t be the aggressor, period. Take the high road, limit your alcohol consumption (or stop) and maintain proper behavior.
Don’t let anyone question your responsibility. Finally, never let an angry spouse pull you into a verbal battle or get caught up in repetitive, abusive patterns.
5. Think about your health
Take care of yourself well. Do not neglect your health, feel isolated and be depressed. It might be easier said than done, but you have to consider it during this difficult period of transition. A few good strategies include keeping a healthy lifestyle.
- Eat well. Limit your sugar and salt intake. You should take some time to eat fresh and nutritious foods. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Include lean meat cuts, wholegrain cereals, and bread, fish and poultry in your diet. Have an annual health checkup.
- Get regular exercise. Do yoga or meditate. You can also participate in sports in your community and join sports clubs.
- If you occasionally use substances, like 420, rethink this as a coping mechanism. Right now, you need to keep your head as clear as possible.
- Nourish your spiritual well-being for strength that you badly need during these trying times. Fill your mind with positive things. If you believe in a higher power, whatever that might be, now is the time to strengthen that connection.
6. Have Realistic Expectations
Periods of disappointments and frustrations are inevitable. Divorce is typically a lengthy process, anyway. The court system can be frustrating and often slow; something that adds to anxiety.
The takeaway for this tip is simply this – don’t expect things to run smoothly. Sure, it may turn out that everything will run like clockwork. But to keep it real, it usually doesn’t happen this way.
By having realistic expectations, you reduce your level stress and empower yourself to deal with things as they are instead of how you wish them to be. This leads us to our next point.
7. Be Patient
Yes, it is normal that you want the process to be over as soon as possible. Who doesn’t? But the reality is marital termination takes time.
The key is extreme patience, and this cannot be stressed enough. In fact, it is possibly the most important virtue you need during this time.
- Do not lack patience in the divorce process because it really takes time, not to mention delays in proceedings and time-consuming hearings.
- Do not lose patience to get over the breakup with your ex. Accept that it takes time to turn around, walk away and ready your sails for new waters.
- Do not be impatient in meeting someone new in your life. Give yourself some time to heal before entering another relationship after the divorce. Also, take the time to know the other person before getting married again.
- Consider reading books on how others have survived the divorce process. A great one to consider is “Crazy Time” (see Amazon).
Above all, be wise enough to choose patience. This will help you to have a smoother divorce journey and a successful ending. Always be kind and patient, not just to yourself but also to your wife and your children.
Remember, you have a long time ahead, so it pays off to work together in rebuilding trust and opening communication lines.
If both sides are willing to cooperate rationally with one another, the entire process does not have to be agonizing.
As a divorcing father, there are many ways on how you can healthily go about terminating your marriage, including reacting rationally, being patient, and setting realistic expectations for the experience.
Hopefully, the tips shared here will make the experience less stressful.