Every Massachusetts divorce is unique, of course. Divorcing is difficult, painful, and scary, even when you are the one that decided to divorce. Some alternative dispute resolution processes, such as mediation are more respectful. But even if you can divorce amicably, it’s hard and it hurts.
If you ask people what the hardest thing was about their divorce, you’ll get a lot of answers. If you are divorcing, considering divorce, or divorced long ago, you may think that some (or all) of these are the hardest thing.
Making the decision
Simply making the decision can torment you. Divorce may violate all your values, and when you are so hopeless that you cannot stay with your spouse, it can be crushing. There is a myth that the person who makes the decision doesn’t suffer, but in fact he or she does, in many ways: fear, shame, guilt, anger, and so on.
Worrying about your children
Many people feel that telling the kids is the hardest part-usually this is early on when your emotions are raw, you may be about to separate or newly separated, and your future is unknown.
You worry about the damage the divorce will cause your children. You grieve that you won’t see your kids every day and put them to bed every night. You miss them when they are with your ex and worry about whether they are ok.
Many people say that the loneliness is the hardest part. It takes a very long time to get used to being single. Not only have you lost your partner, and perhaps your best friend, but you have possibly also lost your in-laws and the extended family that you married into. Your home and your bed feel empty.
Not only do you have less time with your kids, if you have them, but you are parenting alone, and you may miss the support of a parenting partnership.
You may find that friends choose sides, or try to blame one of you.
Maybe you are filled with shame about the breakdown of the marriage, and perhaps guilt for the ways you contributed to the problems.
Perhaps you can’t imagine starting to date again. You imagine that you’ll be alone for the rest of your life. You think, “Who would want me anyway?”
Not knowing you will recover and things will get better
It often seems that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. People frequently think they are ruined financially, and emotionally. Your anxiety may get the best of you as you imagine the worst. You wonder if you’ll live in a dank basement apartment or become a bag lady.
You may have to earn more or (if you haven’t been working) find a new job. Money is a huge stressor and causes a lot of conflict when you are trying to settle your divorce.
You may also worry you may never recover emotionally. Your world has turned upside down and you wonder if you’ll ever come out of the depression or fog. You feel lost without a compass. You’ve lost your sense of purpose as a spouse and parent. You struggle to figure out who you are.
Your relationship with your ex
You can’t figure out how someone you once loved, and who loved you, has become so hurtful and distant. You think, “He was my best friend, and now he’s my adversary?” You can’t understand how or why this happened. You may blame yourself, wrestle with self-doubt, or wonder, “Did I do the right thing? Could I have saved the marriage?” Maybe you are dealing with months or years of your ex’s rage and rejection, and the awful rumors that your ex is spreading in your community. Maybe you can’t get over your own rage, and even years later you are caught up in a blaming story about what happened, what he or she did to you.
Dealing with the miserable legal process
It is often said that divorce is 95% emotional and only 5% legal. But for some, the legal process is the hardest. Many people are unable to focus on the paperwork and just want it to be over. Many decisions were made that were egretted later on.
Life does get better
But over time, life does get better. Once the conflict stops, and the divorce is over, you may find that in a year, perhaps two, you feel like yourself again. You adjust and your kids adapt. You create new traditions and explore new activities or interests. You reconnect with your friends. And your kids still love you.
Perhaps you begin to date or start a new relationship. Just give yourself some time, and pay attention to taking care of yourself. If you need support, find a counselor or therapist who specializes in divorce-related work.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.