Marriage and divorce, unfortunately, go hand in hand. Today’s vows aren’t as sacred as they once were and, for one reason or another, couples often split up. According to the American Psychological Association, between 40 and 50 percent of married couples ultimately end up untying the knot.
Divorce is never expected, but it happens. If you find yourself in the midst of a divorce, don’t cause unnecessary stress and friction. By avoiding a toxic divorce and limiting stress, everyone will move on quicker, and there will be less emotional fallout.
Helpful Suggestions for Limiting Stress in a Divorce
Divorce is stressful and trying. Anyone who attempts to tell you otherwise doesn’t have any firsthand experience with the process.
“Emotions are bound to run high because of the extremely personal nature of almost all aspects of divorce,” attorney Laurence J. Brock explains. “You are dividing a life—splitting personal property, working out shared custody arrangements, and attempting to separate yourselves financially from one another.”
But just because divorce is emotional and filled with friction, doesn’t mean you have to let it become toxic. Here are some simple, yet practical ways you can ease the stress:
- Own Your Junk
Divorces get ugly when each spouse zeroes in on the other spouse’s flaws and mistakes, yet refuses to acknowledge their own. As tough as it can be to look at yourself in the mirror and admit your faults, it’s something that needs to happen.
When you own your junk, two things happen. First off, you stop focusing on all of the “terrible” things your spouse has done and you realize that you’re both to blame. Secondly, your spouse will notice a shift in your demeanor and will be more likely to own their own junk. Some of the tension subsides and civil conversations can ensue.
- Breathe Before Speaking
It’s often the quick responses to statements, accusations, or questions that cause arguments and flare-ups in a divorce. You can prevent a lot of this tension by doing one simple thing: breathing.
Always take a brief pause and slow, deep breath prior to speaking. Doing so will give you a chance to collect yourself and push down that internal inclination that tells you to whip out an insult, raise your voice, or give a nasty look. It’s not easy, but it’s highly beneficial.
- Take Care of Yourself
During a divorce, so much of your life is consumed by conversations with attorneys, filing paperwork, preparing for negotiations, and working through logistical issues with work, childcare, housing, and finances. Sometimes you just need to take care of yourself.
“A big part of self-care is taking the time to do the things you love, so when you aren’t tied down to a responsibility, get out and do those things,” OurFamilyWizard suggests.
Self-care looks different for every individual, but includes eating well, exercising, resting, and even pampering yourself. Carve out time for all of these important duties and treat them with the priority they deserve.
- Avoid Excessive Venting
During a divorce, you’ll be tempted to vent with friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers. In the moment, it feels good to let out the frustration. However, it’s rarely beneficial in the long run.
Excessive venting usually turns into gossip. And when you gossip about your partner, you actually make yourself even more bitter against them – something that will shine through in your conversations and negotiations. All this does is make the divorce more emotional. By limiting your venting and focusing on yourself, you can shift the focus away from troubling circumstances.
- Be Okay With Forgiveness
As countercultural as it is in today’s society, you need to become okay with forgiveness. No matter how badly your spouse has hurt you, there’s nothing to gain from harboring hard feelings. Forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s a sign of strength. You aren’t saying you’re okay with what they did, but just that you’ll no longer allow yourself to be a prisoner of the resentment that flows out of their mistakes.
Keep the Big Picture in Mind
It’s really easy to allow the poignancy of a divorce to force you into emotional decision-making, but it’s imperative that you shift your focus beyond the isolated moment at hand. This is just one small chapter in your life. As difficult as it is, life will eventually go on. By making smart, objective decisions that aren’t inappropriately influenced by anger, frustration, jealousy, or resentment, you can guarantee yourself an opportunity to move on and rediscover peace and fulfillment.