Most people consider divorce as one of the most stressful times a person will ever experience. Psychology Today posits that dissolution of marriage is probably more stressful than even the death of a spouse, especially for people who don’t want to end a marriage or are financially dependent on a spouse. That stress can multiply and cause it’s own set of problems if the proceedings become exceptionally difficult, and many couples to find themselves navigating difficult journeys when they decide to end their marriage.
It’s important to remember during these difficult times that all things eventually come to an end and you can find ways to make a difficult divorce less stressful, traumatic and emotional.
First, let’s talk about the kids. When a marriage involving children comes to an end, parents must take extra care to ease stress and anxiety their children may feel. Kids need to grieve the end of the marriage as well and may even wish you would choose to get back together.
Keeping a focus on the children can help you navigate your own difficulties because it takes the focus off of the arguments between you and your former spouse, putting it instead on the children. Take the time to listen to them, answer their questions and tell them the truth. This focus on the kids can help you put arguments into perspective and get through disagreements faster.
Count to Ten
Most of us know it’s better to think first, then speak. Thomas Jefferson famously said, “When angry, count to 10 before you speak. If very angry, a hundred.” It’s a maxim that holds more power than we realize because when we’re angry, we want to react out of anger. That’s not overly productive and can lead to more problems.
In a difficult divorce, you will get angry but how you respond to the anger, anger management essentially, can make the process easier or more difficult. Anger management experts also advise taking deep breaths between each number as you count to facilitate relaxation and being in the moment.
You can also mitigate anger by:
- Taking a step back and responding later; there is hardly ever a need for immediate responses;
- Practicing anger management in times of calm;
- Avoiding situations that can trigger anger or make it worse;
- And describing what made you angry in specific, rather than general, terms.
You may not be able to make the difficulty disappear, but you can control your response to it.
A difficult divorce may feel like it eats up all your time, and it will require more effort than an easy separation. Seeking help from a therapist with expertise in divorce can help you work through the difficult times, even though it feels like you can’t fit one more thing into your schedule or don’t want to spend one minute more thinking about it.
Mark Banschick, a psychiatrist and author of The Intelligent Divorce series, advocates therapy for spouses and children during what he terms “malignant divorces.” Therapists can help you clarify your goals, help children through this difficult time, and act as a sounding board.
Ending a marriage will cause stress in your life. There’s no getting around it. Difficult separations can make getting to the end feel especially stressful. You can navigate a difficult divorce, though, by keeping your focus on what’s important, managing your emotions and talking with a professional therapist.
Your Local Family Law Attorney Can Help
No matter which stage you’re at, if you know there needs to be a change in your marital situation, Family Law Attorney Gerard A. Falzone welcomes your call for help. From mediation to filing for divorce, he’s here to help with a no obligation free phone consultation.