The hardest part of a divorce is not the legal part. That's a drop in the bucket.
Getting emotionally divorced. That's the kicker.
It is in trying to detach from all of the anger that can so easily turn into bitterness. Perhaps it is watching your partner make changes that you had been begging him or her to make. Sadness, from feelings of personal failure. Watching your children trying to cope. Fear, from new worries, perhaps financial concerns or just being alone. Confusion, as your friends and family try to be supportive, but their lives go on as normal.
Yours has changed forever.
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Perhaps it's losing friends who "side" with one or the other, especially if the divorce is highly conflictual. Or you have friends who try to stay friends with both of you, but there is perhaps now an awkwardness that didn't exist before.
Working through all these feelings is complicated. It takes time. Lots of it.
Facebook and other social technology? Probably not your friend while you are going through this. There was a great post on this recently in the Huffington Post. The author unhooked from Facebook after her divorce to get more real-time support from her friends. I think that's a point very well-made.
There are others.
Why should you be wary of all our techie tools when getting divorced?
1) It's too easy to become obsessed with your ex.
Knowing things about your ex through social media prolongs the process of letting go. Of getting closure. It's much healthier to focus on your own healing.
If you have been blocked on Facebook, for example, it probably means that your divorce is not amicable. You of course can get access anyway, through friends. It can become an obsession.
It's going to be a rough enough ride without making it rougher.
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2) It's hard to contain your emotions.
Remember all the emotions I mentioned above? Any one of those is tough to get through. Whether through texting, private messaging or more public Facebook posts, it's difficult to not use any and all forms of communication to make your point one more time. Sometimes... just to try to understand.
I have seen it over and over in my practice. I did it myself. (Thank the good Lord Facebook didn't exist back then.) It's hard to let go, especially if there's not a sense of closure that seems fair. Sometimes, that just doesn't happen. Failure feels terrible. You can accept it and go on.
3)If you have children, especially, learning how to communicate appropriately should be the focus.
It's hard to be arguing with each other at 2:30 am via text, then see each other at a parent/teacher conference and be cordial. It is, of course, lucky and wonderful if your divorce is fairly amicable—a conscious uncoupling, as Ms. Paltrow would define it.
If you are struggling with painful emotions, you are doing well to set those aside. Try to make some good decisions with your ex about the children. To try, especially in front of the kids, to be respectful.
Continuing the same fighting that was occurring during the marriage is just not helpful. You didn't fix it then. You are probably not going to fix it now. With time, you both may get some perspective and be able to see things differently.
It takes time.
With time, you both may get some perspective and be able to see things differently. I know I am repeating myself, but I can't stress that enough.
To emotionally divorce? It can take a while.
When it is done, when you are truly detached, it feels wonderful. Maybe a little sad at times, but good.
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