I have tried to look at my divorce as an opportunity to become my authentic self and reinvent a new life. That’s not to say that my divorce has not been challenging though. Last week as we weathered the polar vortex, with windchills at-55 degrees I really had to take a harsh look at the things that I had to give up as part of my divorce. One of my biggest adjustments was to relocate to another city and move into an apartment from a large family house that I picked out, decorated and remodeled. My apartment had several maintenance issues last week (which took over a week to be addressed by the management company). In one week I had to deal with a ceiling dripping water and a toilet that was barely functioning, in addition to an apartment that could not hold heat due to the subpar windows. I sat back and took stock of how much I hated it, there was no need to have a positive spin in all actuality it was time for me to get mad.
For every divorce there is an adjustment, whether we wanted the divorce or not. Rediscovery after divorce does not mean we pretend it’s easy or ignore the fact that there are true sacrifices that suck!
Here is a list of common adjustments after a divorce:
Much like me many women have to move out after a divorce. That may mean downsizing or moving into an apartment. Women that keep the marital home have to adjust to the maintenance on the home which include shoveling and mowing the grass, and to be honest I don’t even know how to work a lawn mower. Those tasks can of course be outsourced but there is an adjustment to being one income to factor in as well. For everyone their is the adjustment to dreams. With my spouse I dreamed of buying a nice newer home in a suburb and buying a vacation property at some point, while I can move towards those goals they are no longer the same. Home is often a huge adjustment after a divorce for all involved including the children.
After and during divorce there is a major change to finances. If you were staying home to take care of the household or working part time, you may find that you need to go back to work or transition into full time work.
One surprise I had about finances were taxes especially the year we got divorced, I would encourage you to work with an accountant to figure out the taxes the year of the divorce as there may be additional considerations. I like the saying “we don’t know what we don’t know” and in this case it helps to have a professional guide us through the process.
Loss of Friends
People have a funny way of turning your divorce into their issue. Divorce often makes people confront the realities that marriage don’t always work out and relationships that looked perfect have cracks too. Friends may not be able to handle the discomfort of your divorce and may distance themselves from you. Couples friends may also decide to side with your ex or attempt to be neutral. During this difficult time you need your tribe, not people that are on the fence or projecting their shit on you.
Many women after the whirlwind of divorce are left with the deafening feeling of silence and loneliness. If they have children that feeling may surface at night when the littles are in bed or when the kids visit dad during the visitation. Loneliness is felt when you need someone to talk to or share the burden of life post divorce. The marriage may not have been healthy or your partner may not have even been home much but divorce is really the death of having a partner in your life.
This might not seem like it would fit in an adjustment after divorce. After all maybe you have your car after the divorce and it’s not even something you have to consider. For me it was the feeling of being responsible for the maintenance of the car. My spouse did not honestly help out with the maintenance of my car but if I had an emergency he helped me get my car in or sent an assistant to pick me up when my car wouldn’t start. I picked out my new car myself but he helped my make the decision to purchase my car new from the dealer. Now I weather all of the maintenance myself, dealing with a mechanic myself, and down the road purchasing a new car by myself. Another stressor that I am dealing with a is a 16 year old in the house, I am the primary teacher for behind the wheel for my teen and now i am responsible for buying my teen a car and picking out something that ideally isn’t a pile of junk and won’t break down on the side of the road or be a money leak.
Even though your former spouse is no longer your spouse, it doesn’t mean you get to close that book especially if you have children. Now you have to adjust to coparenting and if your spouse goes absentee as some do, you have to bare all the responsibilities of parenting on your shoulders while still being mindful of not talking poorly of your kids parent. Children are also experiencing their own adjusting to the life change and may act out behaviorally, which you as a parent have to figure out the best way to navigate. It’s incredibly lonely to make all the decisions and provide the support, there were many times I cried at night or in the shower because it was so stressful. Then there is sharing your kid with your ex and sharing the important days such as holidays bday summer vacation. This topic is vast and needs it own blog post which I will work on.
Jessica Cline is a psychotherapist and divorce coach. She is launching a membership site for divorced women at www.jesscline.com to provide women with a community of others with shared divorce struggles and access to a divorce expert at a low price. Sign up for more information now at www.jesscline.com
If you are interested in downloadable quotes and affirmations please check out https://mailchi.mp/cd36c9503c3b/85a9wt3fol