After more than twenty years of profession and after accompanying my clients on the difficult path of separation and divorce, I have developed these tips for my clients whom I gladly share here.
#1 THE AWARENESS THAT IS BEING CROSSING A DIFFICULT MOMENT
The separation period can be very heavy, regardless of the reason for which you split up. It can really be heavy, turn the world upside down and make your job difficult too, often staying productive is really difficult.
There are things you can do to overcome this moment of instability.
First of all it is important to recognize that it is right to have such different feelings. It is normal to feel sad, angry, exhausted, frustrated and confused, these feelings can also be very intense.
You can also feel anxious about the future. We must accept what we feel with the awareness that such reactions will diminish over time. Although marriage was a disaster and separation is indeed a liberation, venturing into the unknown is still scary.
#2 ONE STEP AWAY
Coping with the chaos caused by the failure of marriage is a huge task. There are concerns related to the emotional state and the children (if any) require a lot of attention. There are a thousand practical things to do, such as finding a new home, verifying financial resources, managing properties and, even more important, understanding how to organize children's time.
Everything seems terribly discouraging and impossible to achieve until the activity is divided into smaller parts.
It is necessary to take one step at a time; go slowly. Address the most urgent things first as a home to live in and then gradually start dealing with other issues. In the end everything will work out in the best way.
#3 TAKE TIME
Permission should be given to hear and function at a sub-optimal level for a period of time. It is normal to have a lower production level at work or to take care of others differently from the way you are used to doing. No one is a superman or a superwoman; we need to take time to heal, reorganize and reactivate our resources to the fullest.
#4 DO NOT LOOK BACK
Looking to the past and continuing to re-train what happened slows down the recovery. It is important to realize that a chapter of life is closing: accepting the loss and going through pain is the only way to proceed. It is necessary to forget the image that one has of oneself as a husband or wife, to forget all the projects that are made for family life and sometimes even the concept of family itself. Sponge old habits and change expectations about where you are going is winning. Even material goods can be sacrificed. However, it's not all a loss. You can learn from what happened to create the next phase of life. You will need to take an honest look at yourself and your role in the relationship.
Can one ask what part was interpreted in the separation and what was learned from what happened? This may require the help of a professional, but it's worth it. Sometimes small changes can make a big difference in how relationships are conducted.
#5 DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK FOR HELP
Sharing feelings with friends and family can help you get through this period. Consideration should be given to joining a support group in which to talk to others in similar situations. Isolation can only increase stress levels, reduce concentration and hinder work, relationships and general health. You don't need to ask for help if necessary.
#6 FIND A LAWYER SPECIALIZED IN FAMILY LAW
From the beginning YOU NEED a lawyer who can advise you on what is possible or not possible. Specialized legal advice even when there are the first signs of family crisis is never a waste of time and money: knowing exactly your rights and duties is the secret to managing a good agreement and not risking mistakes.
#7 GOING WELL
You need to take time to do sports, eat well and relax. Maintain normal and healthy living habits as much as possible. It is necessary to try to avoid making important decisions or those that can upset one's life until the situation has stabilized. We need to stay away from alcohol, drugs and self-prescribed drugs that are not a means to solve family problems, rather they only lead to other problems and concerns.
#8 AVOID LITIGATING AND "FIGHTING" WITH THE EX PARTNER
If a discussion starts to turn into a "fight" it is better to suggest a break, try to postpone the discussion or, if this is not possible, it is better to leave or hang up the phone. Better go for a walk!
#9 TAKE THE TIME TO EXPLORE YOUR OWN INTERESTS AND THINK WHAT YOU REALLY WANT
In the vast majority of cases, divorce is a contradictory situation. In order to minimize confusion, quarrels and endless discussions, you need to be sure of what you want to achieve and, if possible, you must clearly state it, leaving no room for doubt. We must not think that we can guess what the other person may or may not want, could do, etc. It is necessary to ask precise questions and demand equally precise answers. If, for example, you want to stay in the family home and be the parent of the children, it is important to say it.
In meetings, both formal and informal, you need to explain your reasons in the best possible way in a calm, civil and reasonable way, always leaving room for an agreement.
#10 THINK POSITIVE
It's certainly easier said than done, isn't it? Things may not be the same, but finding new businesses and friends and moving forward with reasonable expectations will make this transition period easier. Flexibility is needed. If you have children, family traditions will still be important, but some may have to be changed or adapted. Creating new family activities is often a solution.
Life will return to normal, even if a "normal" be different from what was originally thought.
#11 PROTECTING CHILDREN TOGETHER
If you have children, here is a short list of suggestions that can help children and young people cope with parental separation.
Reassured and listened to. It is necessary to verify that the children know the separation and the divorce is not their fault.
We need to listen to children and ease their concerns, be compassionate but direct in their answers.
Try to keep your children's daily and weekly routines as familiar as possible.
Providing a coherent discipline by both parents is essential.
Since the children can share their time with both parents separately, it is necessary to make sure to agree in advance on the time to go to bed and wake up, the time of return, the time for homework and study, the time for entertainment and TV and all other daily decisions, as well as any penalties.
It is necessary to know to the children that they can count on the parents. Making and keeping realistic promises is a good practice as well as not relying excessively on one's feelings about separation and divorce.
There is absolutely no need to involve children in the conflict. It is fundamental to avoid discussing or speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the children. There is no need to use them as spies or messengers, or to let them take a part.
#12 CONSIDER SEPARATION AS AN OPPORTUNITY
Initially, the separation is experienced as a real catastrophe, it is thought that there is no way out of a really critical situation.
Life seems chaos, people are sick and self-esteem is at an all-time low.
The good news is that this period does not last long and that we can transform what we see initially as a disaster into an opportunity for growth and positive change.
Would you like to know more?