Your marriage has crumbled. The person you intended to spend the rest of your life with is no longer your friend; your “in sickness and in health” partner is gone. It’s a horrible and lonely feeling.
To whom can you turn? Who can help you get a perspective? Who will listen to you? Who is out there to support you? Where can you find support after your divorce?
There are several good answers to these questions: From beloved family and friends to -– yes — strangers.
Family and Friends
Parents, siblings, and friends can all be supports. Turning to relatives can be wonderful (“We love you and we’re with you”) or awful (“How could you get a divorce! What did YOU do wrong?”)
Consider these perspectives when dealing with family and friends regarding your divorce.
1. Realize that they are hurting as well. A divorce impacts families and friends, changes the dynamics. No more holidays at your house, no more family togetherness. Your family may feel as much pain with the change as you do.
2. Be fair to your friends. Do you really want their support or do you just want sounding boards so you can vent? Recognize that venting can get very old for others.
Professional and Group Support
Coach or therapist: Dealing with a deep pain? Not sure what to do next? Seeking the guidance of professionals can help. Seek referrals from others on how to find professional help. Your attorney may have a professional network of referrals.
Support Group: As with any of life’s challenges, finding a support group of like-minded people can help. Check local newspapers and on line for names of organizations. Or ask friends. Note: If you arrive at a support group and it doesn’t feel right, that’s okay. Keep looking.
Go on Line: These days, an increasing number of divorced people turn to their computers for answers. There’s an appealing anonymity to chat rooms and message board conversations, although there is also a degree of risk if one divulges too much personal information. Note: If you are in the middle of divorce proceedings, do not tell-it-all on your Facebook page!
Yes, You! No matter how many support systems you have, the only one that truly works is yourself. You can talk to family, friends, strangers, but you also need to look in the mirror and talk to yourself. One way to move on from divorce is to get out of your doldrums. Whether you go to an adult education class, join a gym, attend a workshop -– moving on means moving away from self-pity and depression. You need to get back into life.
While you’re going through a divorce, it’s appropriate to turn to your divorce attorney. However, there’s a difference between having your attorney advise you on the court system versus advise you about what went wrong in your marriage. Your attorney is a legal professional who will guide you to the dissolution of your marriage; he or she is not your confidant about dating opportunities.
Being divorced –- especially being newly divorced -– is a tough road to travel. Thanks to the many support systems we have available, it does not have to be a road that is traveled alone. Don’t be shy about reaching out for help. However, realize that “moving on” takes time. Do not be too hard on yourself.