Divorce can be taxing on every area of your life. It can affect your relationship with your children, your productivity at your job and even your ability to get out of bed in the morning. While you may have pictured “until death do you part,” that isn’t always the reality. In 2015 in Pennsylvania alone, while 72,774 marriages were performed, there were also 33,600 annulments and divorces. This statistic echoes across the nation, as close to 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce.
There are ways to minimize the emotional effects of divorce, whether you saw it coming or were blindsided. Emotionally protecting yourself can ensure that you heal faster and are ready to move on with your life when the time comes.
1. Give yourself permission to grieve
Even if you’ve been betrayed, abused or know this is the logical step, you still have to grieve the end of your marriage in order to move on in a healthy way. You may notice more ups and downs and conflicting emotions, and these are all perfectly normal. Confusion, fear, relief, resentment, anger and sadness are all common emotions during divorce proceedings. Identify these feelings and acknowledge them early rather than fighting them.
2. Reach out and talk to others
If you are the type who wants to hibernate when you are dealing with emotional challenges, you may need to step outside your comfort zone and reach out to your support system to talk through your feelings. Not only does this remind you that you are loved and supported, but also helps you put your problems and concerns in perspective when you speak them out loud.
3. Nurture yourself
When dealing with a divorce, many people are focused on how others will be affected, to the point that they neglect their own needs. This is particularly common when children are involved. Don’t forget to nurture yourself and pay close attention to what you need to get through the process. If you aren’t emotionally healthy, you can’t help others deal with their own feelings about the divorce.
4. Avoid negative coping
Many turn to harmful things like drugs and alcohol or overeating during a divorce. While these things may provide temporary relief, they put you and those around you at risk and simply put off the process of dealing with the negative emotions you are feeling. It is better to face your feelings head on than to try to stifle them with unhealthy behavior.
5. Speak to a professional
No matter how amicable the divorce, you can always benefit from having a professional on your side. As you begin ending your marriage, an attorney may be able to help you protect what’s most important to you.