Divorce can be one of the most difficult things a person goes through in their life. The end of a marriage can often feel like a death, as though a part of you has died. For many people, moving on from divorce seems like an impossible task. But it is important for our children that we do move on and create a new normal for ourselves. Here are 10 tips on moving on from divorce and the benefits to our children.
1. IT’S OKAY TO GET A DIVORCE…and your kids will not die!
Yes. That’s what I said.
Many people believe divorce is “bad” and that staying together is best for the children’s sake. The thought of putting their children through a divorce seems unbearable. So some parents decide to co-exist with their spouse or partner despite how unhappy they are or how toxic or dysfunctional the relationship is. They may live in denial for years and misery, because the guilt of breaking up their children’s home is too painful to accept. The fear of being judged by others also plays a huge role. Some believe that children are happier and better off if their parents are together, even if they are unhappy. Or they tell themselves to tough it out until the kids are adults, because they believe their children can handle the breakup better.
I am here to tell you that these beliefs are 100% wrong. What’s best for our children is two happy parents, whether they are together or not. And many of us don’t realize this either, but adult children are just as devastated and confused as minor children when their parents divorce with their own emotions to process.
Fact is, divorce is hard, and it sucks. It sucks for the parents, it sucks for the kids, and it even sucks for our friends and family as they witness the often ugly process. It doesn’t matter when you do it or how you do it. Emotions are all over the place, and fingers are pointed in every direction. And the blame, shame, guilt cycle goes on and on.
2. HAPPY PARENTS RAISE HAPPY KIDS
In a perfect world of happy endings and fairy tales, the ideal environment for children is in one home with both sets of HAPPY parents who want to be together. But unfortunately, that doesn’t always work out that way. For one reason or another, a couple becomes so disconnected that one or both want out of the relationship.
Children need stability, safety, and love. It doesn’t matter if their parents are together; they are the happiest when their parents are happy. Two parents who can successfully co-parent provide more stability for their children than two who choose to stay together unhappily and miserably. Children hear the fighting and feel the rising tension and lack of love between their parents, no matter how well we think we may be hiding it.
I say this from experience, from the child’s point of view and the divorced mom’s point of view. I was nine years old when my parents divorced, and I remember missing my dad, but I was glad the fighting stopped. As a result of my divorce, my children are happier and more stable today than when I was married to their father.
3. TRUST THE HEALING PROCESS; IT GETS EASIER
Once we decide to end the relationship, we hear advice and wisdom from other divorcees. We are told “this will get easier,” or “you will get used to not seeing your kids all the time”. Our stomachs turn at the thought. So we judge other divorced parents for being happy without their children and being okay without their kids 100% of the time. We think we are more loving parents, because we believe we could never live a day without our kids, AND we think less of the parents who do.
Or we deny the possibility that we can effectively co-parent with our ex one day without the bickering and fighting. We think nobody’s ex is as difficult as ours, and that won’t be possible.
I am here to tell you, my friend, it does get easier. We get used to not seeing our children every day, which doesn’t make us bad parents who could love our kids more. It makes us strong and accepting of what we cannot control.
4. SPACE. SPACE. SPACE.
Often, we hold on tightly to our connection with our kids (or our ex), which ultimately hinders the healing process for all parties. We refuse to loosen our grip with a list of rationalizations.
As already mentioned, kids need to feel safe and secure, and one of the ways to do that is through consistency.
For example, I was a full-time stay-at-home mom when I divorced. I couldn’t bear the thought of not raising my children during the work day, instead of a nanny my ex was trying to use during his timesharing days. So it was legally agreed that I would be the primary daytime caregiver during my ex’s time sharing while he worked. We decided this would stay in effect until my youngest entered full-day kindergarten.
I eventually relinquished that right a year sooner than I had to, because I realized it was better and healthier for my son to have more stability and structure. I painfully learned that the frequent back and forth between his two homes wasn’t creating the peace I was intending for my son. Instead, it affected his mood, routine, sleep, and everything. And most importantly, it negatively impacted his adjustment to the new norm in his little world.
I also realized that I needed my own time to heal, process, and move on. I, too, needed a consistent routine and structure to find myself again and rebuild my life from the ground up. Having to see my exes face several times a week during the kid swap was not helping me heal and move on with my life. Not having to interact with my ex more than necessary helped me more than I imagined.
I was now able to use that new found time to focus on me…and start creating my business empire.
5. FORGIVE YOURSELF ….and your ex
Most people do not enter a marriage to divorce. Even though we may blame our ex for a more significant part of the breakup, we too have responsibility. And no matter what that responsibility is, we must own it and forgive ourselves. We have to own our parts that made the relationship fail, and learn from them. And no matter what story we have about our ex, they are human too. They may or may not take responsibility. Forgive them anyway. We are all doing the best we can with our current tools. I assure you, the sooner you forgive, the easier co-parenting becomes.
It is said that holding onto anger and resentment is equivalent to drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die. I understand there are many reasons why your ex is a jerk and did things that are “unforgivable”. While everything may not be forgotten, everything is forgivable. (it does not mean what they did is okay and acceptable, or that we should tolerate the behavior) Staying angry at anyone only creates inner turmoil and unhappiness. You punish nobody but yourself by staying angry, which creates more personal problems, including physical ailments, anxiety, and depression. And if they are narcissistic, your ex will relish in your anger, so why give them the satisfaction?
6. DON’T TAKE ON ANYONE ELSE’S GUILT
This may sound harsh, but it’s reality. It doesn’t matter who wants you to stay married….the ex, the kids, your mom…..it’s not their decision. It’s YOURS. If you want to get a divorce, you can get one. Do not let anyone else’s fears or judgments get in the way of what makes you happy. We are no good to ANYONE when we are not satisfied, especially to our kids.
During my divorce, I remember the pain of guilt and heartache when my then 3-year-old asked me when I was coming back home. It crushed me knowing he was going through his grieving process. Fast forward five years, all three of my children happily hug and kiss me goodbye each week, and spend the next seven days with their dad and step-mom until they happily return to me. I can talk to them whenever I want. I attend all their football & soccer games and riding lessons, and I can still chaperone any field trip or school party I want. They know their parents are always there for them, whether married or not.
7. TALK TO AN UNBIASED PARTY
Socrates once said, “No enemy is worse than bad advice.”
Our best friend might be our go-to person to vent about our problems and divorce, and sometimes that’s okay. But unfortunately, our best friend isn’t always the best resource, and may unintentionally give us lousy advice despite its good intentions.
It can also create inner resentment and turmoil with our supporters, because they don’t always want to hear us talk about the negative topic of divorce. Talking to a therapist, life coach, or mentor with experience in what you are going through can be much more beneficial than anyone else we talk to.
8. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
You are raising little humans, and they will adopt many of your traits and behaviors just by observing you. Ask yourself how you want them to act as adults, and start acting that way. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. Get along with your ex as best you can, don’t badmouth them or their new partner to your children, and most importantly, take care of yourself. Remember, the more respect we have for ourselves, our children, and our ex-partner, our bonds with our children will be healthier. It is statistically proven that children often resent either parent who foul mouths the other. So while we may be trying to poison another relationship important to our children (stemmed from our fears and insecurities), we are ultimately poisoning our own. Remember that.
9. RESPECT THE NEW PARTNER
We usually don’t anticipate adding step-parents to our family dynamic, but it’s not uncommon. No matter who is parenting, we should all be on the same team raising the kids together. And we should remember that respecting is not the same as liking someone or being their friend.
I am co-parenting my three children with my ex and his new wife. I am grateful to be aware of such an important responsibility, and I don’t take it lightly. I have the confidence in my relationship with my children not to feel threatened by their stepmother. By respecting her, I avoid creating and adding drama to my and my kids’ lives. I am lucky to have another woman who adores my children and has a positive influence on them. We communicate respectfully about the kids. We attend school open houses together, all sit next to each other at shared events for the kids, and we even have group texts, one of which includes my teenage son.
By respecting the new partner, I am giving myself and my children a gift by not holding onto anger and resentment that only poisons our relationship.
10. GET YOUR SEXY BACK
It’s common for humans to become somewhat lazy about our appearances after marriage. We don’t even realize it as we become more comfortable with our partners; and more consumed with children and work; we put less effort into our looks. No matter how far you allow your physical appearance to go, sprucing yourself up can be a massive step in your healing journey. Get a new hairstyle, and buy some new clothes and accessories. Try wearing your make-up a new way or more often. It helps lift your spirits.
My weight fluctuated by sixty pounds during my almost 20 year marriage. Although I wasn’t happy with my body at anytime, I was miserable about my appearance when I divorced. Along with my health coach, I started caring for my body physically and mentally. Today, I am down forty pounds and more confident in my skin than ever. And I am 30 pounds heavier than my wedding day and couldn’t glow more.
After getting your sexy back, it leads you into the next phase of dating again. Stay tuned for that blog post coming soon.
If you are interested in getting your sexy back and need guidance and accountability from a certified health and life coach, consider joining one of my six-week MILF Bootcamps offered throughout the year. More information is on my website at www.jenslifecoaching.com.
Guilt, shame, and anger are powerful emotions that can keep us stuck in our divorce long after the papers have been signed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By following these tips, you can work through your emotions and start to move on – which will benefit you and your children in the long run. I can help guide you through this process and help you find emotional freedom. If you want to put your divorce behind you and finally get your groove back, contact me any time for a chat.
The process of divorce sucks, but being divorced doesn’t have to suck. It can be an incredible new chapter that opens doors you never thought imaginable.
If you would like to read more on divorce I recommend that you read my Blog:
I am Jen,
As a dedicated life coach specializing in co-parenting, divorce, and single motherhood, I bring a unique blend of professional expertise and personal experience to my coaching practice. I am deeply committed to helping women not only survive divorce but also thrive as they transition into their roles as single mothers. I provide tailored coaching to assist my clients in developing effective co-parenting strategies, fostering healthy communication, and creating nurturing environments for their children.
I am also the author of the best-selling book “I am Amazing: From Invisible to Invincible”. My self-help memoir offers hope and inspiration for anyone who has felt overwhelmed by life and their struggles with mental health. With raw honesty and vulnerability, I provide an intimate look at my journey from victim to victorious.