Going through any kind of breakup is hard, whether you were dating someone and broke up, or engaged and called things off, and especially if you went through a divorce.
Going through a divorce can be one of the toughest situations anyone can go through. You will be going through so many mixed emotions. Did I make the right decision? Should I have tried harder? Was it my fault or my partner’s fault? What will happen with the kids? Will they hate me?
You may find yourself emotionally drained and so many questions can be going on in your mind, making it a very difficult and stressful time for you and your partner.
It is important to understand that even though you’re getting a divorce that it is not the end of the world. If you have reached a dead end with your partner and there is no other solution then going through a divorce will eventually pass with certain coping methods.
We spoke to Clinical Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist, Mai Kotb, to understand the top 5 tips to help in coping with divorce.
Understand that divorce is a loss
“The first step you need to understand is that getting a divorce is a loss, so you will be going through a grieving process which has stages. You will be losing a relationship, companionship, plans, and hopes and dreams you had with that person,” Kotb told us.
Grief has five stages
- Denial: You may not really accept the fact that this happening, sometimes you believe it happened, other times you don’t.
- Anger: You may feel a lot of anger from yourself, from your ex, from the situation in general
- Bargaining: This is where the what ifs come in. What if I did this? Could things have been better? What if I didn’t say this or that?
- Depression: You become down because of the divorce and you go into a state of depression.
- Acceptance You accept the situation you are in and that the relationship is lost.
Accept your feelings
“It will be a roller coaster of emotions for you. It is important to be aware of your feelings and accept them. Don’t fight your feelings,” Kotb further explained. You will need to become aware of all the emotions that you will be going through. There will be a gush of feelings such as anger, hurt, resentment. It is important to tell yourself to accept these feelings. If you fight and resist them, you will not be able to reach closure and move on.
Surround yourself with a support system
The psychologist and family therapist stressed the importance of support systems. It is important to find yourself a support system whether with family, friends, or even seeking therapy if you feel like it is important for you.
It is very important to take care of yourself both mentally and physically after a divorce. Be good to yourself and to your body, because this is what is carrying everything, so it needs to be healthy and well.
Avoid power struggles
Kotb urged couples to avoid power struggles as much as possible. It is important to try to communicate and try to make it a healthy break up as much as possible.
Do not involve your kids
It is important to have a healthy and civilized break up even though in some situations it might be difficult.
Kotb advises parents to break the news to the kids together and to reinforce that you love them and that the divorce is not the kids’ fault and it was solely the parents’ decision.
Don’t involve the kids in the conflict or use them as messengers between both sides. You need to maintain stability and everything needs to be the same and consistent as much as possible for the sake of the kids.
Believe it will get better
Tell yourself I will be fine and believe that things are going to be ok in the end. If you keep telling yourself this, it will help you with the coping process.
Finally, Kotb explained that it is normal to feel like there are many phases and finally progress in your acceptance after getting a divorce. This means that you are on the right track. If you feel like you are not progressing, then maybe it is time to seek professional help from a therapist.
Further read: When Do Mothers Know It’s Time for a Divorce?