Good Advice: Don't Compare Your Divorce

Just about everybody feels insecure while they’re going through a divorce, and this makes perfect sense. When we split from our spouse, we’re literally turning our lives upside-down, and we don’t know what’s to come of our lives. This major life shift can be unsettling; it can make us worry about what people are thinking, it can make us unusually vulnerable, and more susceptible than usual to poor advice. Sometimes, divorce can make us engage in uncharacteristic comparison – to our ex and to other divorced spouses.

When our lives are in flux, we can have a tendency to compare our lives to other people’s. If you’re finding yourself comparing your split or divorce to your friend’s, your neighbor’s, or your co-worker’s, be cautious of the urge to compare because it’s counterproductive and not worth your mental energy or your time.

With divorce, it’s important to focus on our own personal situation instead of looking at other people’s divorces. Keep focus on your own divorce, rather than comparing it to your best friend’s or your neighbor’s. Remember, every relationship is different, every marriage is different, and every divorce is different; there is no such thing as two identical divorces. Since this is your marriage that is ending, you can’t compare it to someone else’s.

Your best friend’s wife burned all of his clothing on the front lawn? Or, your next-door neighbor’s husband ran off with the nanny? Neither scenario has anything to do with your divorce, even if you live on the same block and your children attend the same school. Other people’s bad divorces have nothing to do with yours.

You Can Have a ‘Good Divorce’

Have you read studies about the ills of divorce? Those studies don’t necessarily have anything to do with you and your spouse. Generally, most people are able to maintain a relatively stable well-being throughout their adult lives, regardless of the curveballs that life throws at them, including divorce. The best way to defend oneself against the negative implications of divorce is to remain calm, thoughtful, and positive throughout the divorce process. When spouses commit to rational, reflective, strategic behavior during divorce, they are in a better position to handle the inevitable changes brought on by the split.

By far, most people who get divorced do just fine. Like anything in life, conducting one’s research (about the divorce process) and maintaining a positive attitude are critical before, during, and after a divorce. By focusing on divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce, it is possible to divorce with one’s dignity intact. In your divorce, you want to stay positive and look for solutions instead of focusing on the negative. Even if the divorce has you down (which is normal), there is life after divorce and it can be beautiful.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Your Spouse

Does your ex seem to be moving on while you’re at home alone and miserable? Is he dating a 21-year-old while you’re eating ice cream alone every night in front of the TV? Is she in Italy with her new rich boyfriend while you’re hitting the bars on Sunset every Friday and Saturday night, too depressed to meet anyone new, only to go home alone?

We all move on from a breakup, especially a divorce, at our own pace. Even when we’re thrilled to split from our spouse, it can still take time to recover emotionally and even physically sometimes. For example, your ex-wife may be in Italy with her new boyfriend, but she may be missing your sense of humor. Or, your ex-husband may be dating a 21-year-old but he’s missing that real “connection” you two shared.

Remind yourself that your ex’s romantic life should be the furthest thing from your mind. When you were married, it was your concern, but so were your ex’s flaws that drove you apart. Now that you’re in the midst of a divorce or officially divorced, you no longer need to care – that’s the magic of divorce.

Managing the Emotional Transition of a Breakup

Aside from moving into different homes and dividing the assets and debts, one of the biggest challenges of a divorce is managing the “emotional transition” of going from being half of a couple to becoming single once again. You may find it difficult to think of what your ex might think of your decisions, what he or she would think of your actions, or whether or not your ex would approve of you – but that’s common.

What would he think of you talking a walk alone at 10pm? What would she think of you going to a bar in the middle of the week? What would he think of you getting plastic surgery? What would she think of you joining a gym? What would he think of you going to a nightclub on his night with the kids? If you find yourself asking yourself these types of questions – it’s 100 percent normal! In fact, it may take you a few years to stop wondering what your ex would think of your choices, especially if you were married for a long time.

If you recently split from your spouse, or if you’re recently divorced, understand that it can seem unnatural to think and act as a single unit, but you’ll get there. Often, it can feel unnatural to shift our focus to ourselves, but look at this as a chance to focus on what matters most to you. If you have children, now is a great time to focus on them and their well-being.

Whether or not you have children, divorce offers a fresh start; a new beginning. If you want to go back to school, travel, focus on a new career, or reinvent yourself – there’s never been a better time to create the life you deserve.

If you’re looking for a Los Angeles divorce lawyer, contact Claery & Hammond, LLPtoday. We gladly offer free consultations to all prospective clients.