Since roughly one in two marriages ends in divorce, you’re probably very familiar with it. Surely, you have watched from up close or afar as friends, family, and co-workers have gone through a divorce. You may even be a child of divorce, and you may have experienced it first-hand. But now it’s you who are going through a divorce, and even though you’ve watched others go through it, experiencing divorce yourself is a whole other ballgame.
After representing countless clients in their divorce proceedings, we’ve learned a thing or two. And while we can honestly say that nothing and we mean nothing, shocks us anymore, there are a lot of similarities that we see (and hear) over and over again. If we had a dollar for every time we heard, “I’m so anxious I can’t eat or sleep,” we could make a generous donation to a good charity.
But there is a point we’re coming to and that is, we see and hear a lot of the same things with our clients, but a lot of these things are not in the divorce articles you read on the internet or in divorce magazines. So, we thought we’d devote an article to the things that people don’t tell you about divorce. Brace yourself for the ride because this information may hit close to home if it isn’t happening already.
1. I’ve been dreaming of this day, so why am I so depressed?
Suppose you have been unhappily married for years. You’ve been fantasizing about divorce, about being single for a long time, but now that it’s really happening, you’re depressed. You may be fine one moment and totally lose it the next. What gives?
You probably had some good times, right? Otherwise, you wouldn’t have married your husband or wife. In the beginning, it may have been beautiful. You fell in love, had a wedding, and maybe even started a family. You probably had a lot of firsts together – first experiences, fun vacations, lots of hugs and kisses, and late nights watching your favorite TV shows. If you have children together, you have a lot of history.
Even if your marriage took a total nosedive for one reason or another, that doesn’t mean you didn’t have a lot of good times and make a lot of memories that you’ll never forget. You may wonder, “I was very unhappy, so why am I so sad?!” Well, don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re going through a deep sense of loss, and you lost a lot – your hopes and dreams for a beautiful marriage that would last a lifetime.
If you have children together, that’s a double whammy because now you’re not able to provide them with the family you hoped to give them. Realize it’s only natural to feel sad or depressed during a divorce, even when it’s 100%, no doubt, the best thing for your family. Just give yourself some time and accept the fact that your wounds will heal.
2. I’m scared that I’ll die alone.
When our clients get divorced, they have different mindsets. Some people are thrilled to jump back in the dating scene. Some want to wait until their divorce is final, and others want NOTHING to do with dating and don’t know if or when they’ll date again. Then, there are others who are terrified that they’ll be single for the rest of their lives. If you fall into the last category, be careful of falling into a rebound relationship.
For a lot of people going through a divorce, they are well-served by giving themselves time. Time to be alone. Time to get all of their ducks in a row. Time to focus on their kids. Time to focus on themselves, and to really discover what it is that they want out of life and their next relationship. Perhaps a relationship is off the table for at least a solid year or two after the divorce, or perhaps you want to play the field for a while because there really are, so many fish in the sea, especially in Los Angeles.
Don’t be afraid you’ll die alone, or that you’ll end up being a “cat lady” or single forever. If you still believe in true love and the institution of marriage, and if you want a second chance at finding your soulmate, then it’s entirely possible. There are so many people looking for partners, all you have to do is look in the right places and be open to meeting and getting to know new people.
3. The tedious tasks feel like big mountains.
In this fast-paced society, we’re used to getting instant gratification. Not surprisingly, some of the hardest parts of divorce for people are not actually hard, but tedious. We’re talking about moving into separate residences, packing boxes, changing utilities, canceling credit cards, closing bank accounts, changing dozens of passwords, creating new emails, changing health insurance, updating cell phone plans, changing beneficiaries on retirement and bank accounts, making changes to insurance policies, and so on.
Truly, it’s like starting your life all over and the dozens of mundane, tedious tasks can be the most annoying part of getting divorced. You’re probably very pressed for time, and when you get a divorce, you’ll find that you’ll have to spend a lot of precious time getting your affairs in order so you are untangled from your previously married self. All of these tasks may be tedious, but once you tackle them head-on, we promise, you’ll feel a big sigh of relief and you’ll look forward to the next chapter in your life.
Next: Coping With Your Divorce