After discussing my experience of dealing with a divorce with so many friends. Some who had been through a similar situation , some who were currently thinking about getting a divorce or some who just knew someone going through a divorce, I thought I should write down my top pieces of advice.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and everyones situation’s are different, but here’s my ‘wise words’ about divorce, for both the person going through it and how you can be an amazing friend at that crap time.
If you’re going through the divorce…
1. It will definitely cost more than you think and more than the solicitors tell you.
2. All the things you think you’ll be able to sort amicably between yourselves, in order to save money may not happen. Divorces take time, and time can change how people feel about one another, so don’t rely on how you feel now – and how you think your ex feels about you – staying the same.
3. Ask questions, so you completely understand everything. My solicitor sent me letters just full of lawyer speak and some of it went straight over my head so I emailed her with a list of questions and she usually rang me back to discuss.
4. Check all letters and forms that the solicitor writes/fills in for you before they send them out. I found that invariably there’s something wrong with it. One time it was my actual name!
5. Try not to discuss the ins and outs of the divorce with too many people. Everyone will have their own opinion on what you’re entitled to, how much money you should get and what should happen, especially if they’re close to you. But only do what you feel is fair and will make you happiest.
6. Sometimes taking the high road is really, really hard…but it pays off. It’s also much easier for you to move forward with your life if you’re not the one wallowing or feeling bitter.
7. Try and make the most of your time alone. Start doing things you stopped doing or start doing things you always wanted to do. DON’T FEEL GUILTY if you don’t miss your children all of the time when they are with your ex.
8. Also, try not to fill up ALL of your child free time with tasks and appointments and seeing people. Use the time for some RnR because you need it and you deserve it. Children can be hard work, especially with all the change happening, so just treasure the quiet times and bank it for when you’re ready your patience is being fully tested.
And as a friend, pretty please…
1. Invite her to do things on the weekends. This is family time I know, but it can also be the hardest time for single parents as they don’t want to intrude, so invite them all to the BBQ or just to the park for half an hour so they can get out of the house with the kids.
2. Offer her time out, away from the kids. She may work or be a SAHM but once the kids are all tucked up the evenings can be lonely – take her out, babysit for her so she can go out or just bring a bottle of something and a dvd. She will be grateful for the company.
3. Try not to slag off her ex (unless she does). She may have mixed feelings about whether she’s done the right thing or they may have just spent many years together and it can still hurt hearing that person being bad mouthed.
4. Notice the changes and if they’re good changes encourage them. This sounds a bit patronising, I know. She probably wants to change her hair style or start a hobby or lose weight but she may be feeling a bit battered and bruised and lacking in confidence. Knowing someone else thinks it a good idea or worth a try maybe that little extra nudge she needs to finally do it.
5. Say the word “Divorce“. Don’t say “the D word”, don’t spell it out like the Dolly Parton song and you really don’t have to say it in hushed tones either. If you whisper it, it makes it sound like we’ve done something wrong or shameful. We all know it’s not an ideal scenario obviously but it’s not something we should feel ashamed of. I swear the word ‘DIVORCE‘ is more taboo than the C word!!