When you got married, you probably thought it was forever. You probably thought that you and your spouse would be good, that you’d never become a “statistic,” but now, here you are. You’re in one of the 5 out of every 10 first marriages that end in divorce. But don’t feel bad, the divorce rates increase with each subsequent marriage, so you’re not to blame.
As people hear about your divorce, the advice will probably start rolling in, whether you ask for it or not. “Hire a good attorney,” they’ll say. “Don’t change your relationship status on Facebook until you’re divorced,” they’ll say. “Take some time off work” and “Now is the time to slow down and focus on your kids.” Surely, you’ll hear a lot of the same advice repeated and it will come from people with the best intentions.
Each person who offers you divorce advice will be sharing nuggets of wisdom based on their personal experience. Well, after representing countless clients, we have narrowed down the best pieces of advice that we share often, and most of it applies to everybody, regardless of their unique relationship circumstances. Here are some divorce facts and advice that you probably won’t hear from the average divorcée, but you’ll hear it from our experienced divorce attorneys.
1. The Divorce Will Affect You Physically
Even if you’ve been fantasizing about divorce for years, when it becomes official, it’s very common for people to be affected physically. By physically, we’re referring to nausea, insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, or weight gain. If the divorce didn’t affect you physically to some degree, it would be unusual.
We expect the divorce to affect you physically. If and when it does, our advice is to slow down and take good care of yourself. Instead of turning to food, drugs, or alcohol to numb the pain, our advice is to eat healthy food, get extra rest, and exercise. In fact, a good diet and daily exercise can be the best things you can do for yourself right now. What’s more, you can use the divorce as motivation to get in the best shape of your life!
2. The Divorce Will Affect You Emotionally
Again, you may have been dreaming about divorce for some time, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be stressful. Even when a divorce is for the best, it’s still normal to feel a flood of emotions, which may be unpleasant. You may be thrilled about the divorce, but the thought of detangling your finances, putting your house on the market, telling your friends and family, and dealing with child custody can be overwhelming and extremely stressful.
So, the breakup itself may not be the issue, but dealing with the divorce process may be the hardest part. At a time when you’re at your worst emotionally, you have to make big decisions that will affect you for the rest of your life. It can challenge you to the core.
3. You May Want to Get Rid of All Physical Reminders
Ever wondered how people could get rid of expensive items for “free” on Craigslist or how they can donate valuable items to thrift stores? Sometimes, people get rid of things and don’t even sell them during a divorce because they want to eliminate all reminders of their marriage.
If you find yourself walking around your house and you get the urge to get rid of something your spouse gave you, or an item you bought while on vacation with your spouse, or a wedding gift because it reminds you of your spouse, you’re not alone. If you have the urge to get rid of all physical reminders of your spouse and your marriage, it’s not strange. It happens all the time.
However, instead of throwing all reminders away or donating them, we recommend setting them to the side and asking your spouse if he or she wants them before removing them from your home permanently. It’s nice to do this out of respect, even if you despise your spouse. If he or she did the same for you, you’d probably appreciate the gesture. It just helps keep things smooth.
4. Your Spouse May Start Dating Before You
We don’t know your situation. As soon as you and your spouse are living under separate roofs, you may be the first one to sign up for a dating app like Tinder or Bumble. Or, maybe you can’t imagine going to bars, let alone signing up for a dating app. If you’re nowhere near ready to date again, beware, your spouse may be, and it may not draw the best emotions out of you.
If your spouse starts dating before you, try not to take it personally. It could upset you, a lot, but do your best to distract yourself. Often, the best thing someone could do in this type of situation is to focus on themselves. This means doing whatever it is that makes you happy as long as it’s not self-destructive. Perhaps this means working out, reading, binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix, diving into an old or new hobby, taking a new class, camping, or traveling, etc. If you’re happy with yourself, it will be easier to accept that your spouse has moved on.
5. Your Spouse Will Remain Flawed
If you have children with your spouse, he or she will be in your life forever, especially if you have grandchildren one day. While you’re getting a divorce, the things that bother you about your spouse probably won’t change. So, you’ll have to accept his or her flaws and just be glad that you don’t have to live with them anymore.