A divorce is a very traumatic life event (even if you are the one making the decision or the parting of ways is amicable). This is something that people underestimate since divorce has become so commonplace these days. When dealing with trauma during an online psychologist consultation, any professional will tell you that trauma is experienced when:
- An unexpected event occurs
- Someone feels powerless against what’s happening to them
- Someone experiences intentional cruelty
- A life-changing event was experienced during childhood when someone is particularly vulnerable and powerless
A divorce ticks most of these boxes. If you take an especially messy divorce into account where custody is also at stake, you’re sitting with a boiling pot of emotions to process and deal with.
We have many clients who contemplate a divorce long before they actually take the official step. That’s why many struggle with certain things in their relationship (marriage is hard, after all). And people tend to keep hope and try and save the marriage ‘till they almost feel forced to call time of death.
This realisation in itself and the decision to get a divorce can be traumatic in itself. But when a client reaches that stage we usually guide them through a few hard truths during their online psychologist consultation. You will have to understand and accept a few basic truths about divorce before even attempting the difficult divorce road ahead. These include the following:
Hard Truth #1: The break-up will be painful, even if the feelings for your partner has dwindled
Forget about the emotional knocks that you will take just by having to deal with a legal matter. It’s not just the loss of an individual that you will be grieving. It’s the loss of a dream. The fact that you thought your future would be looking a certain way only to find out that it now looks completely different. You will also have to deal with other losses throughout your divorce. It can be as basic as someone’s jacket always hanging at the back of the door. Or the loss of a house that might be unaffordable for each of you on your own.
Hard Truth #2: Divorce is not a quick fix
Yes, you might’ve been quite miserable in your marriage at the end. But you’re not going to wake up the morning after you’ve officially served the divorce papers and feel on top of the world. Leave that expectation at the door of your attorney’s office. Divorce might give you a sense of freedom. But it’s definitely not going to make you happier overnight – especially not with difficult admin and legal matters looming.
Hard Truth #3: When the shoe is on the other foot
What if you are not the one who asked for the divorce? It might be that you still have hope that the situation will get resolved. But what if the other person is really not interested? In fact, what if they are quite hasty to get the divorce finalised because they’ve met someone else? Another hard truth about facing a divorce is that you are only prolonging the inevitable if you stick your head in the sand and do not acknowledge or accept the situation for what it is. The only way out is through.
Hard Truth #4: You will be losing friends and family
No matter how amicable a divorce is, your ex’s sister is probably not going to be calling you quite as often. And while friends might try to walk the neutral tightrope, they will inevitably have to pick just one of you when it comes to group outings or dinners. Especially if one of you moves on with another partner.
Hard Truth #5: Divorce brings out the worst in people
This is the one truth that most find the hardest to deal with. Who will ever be able to understand how the person that you’ve loved and spent your life with for decades, suddenly says the most hurtful things about you and uses things that you talked about in confidence against you in a court of law? A lot of things you’ll read in legal documentation or hear in court will probably also be complete fabrications. And this from a person you once knew as the most honest and reliable person you’ve ever met. You’re going to have to face the fact that you might be dealing with someone completely different than the person you exchanged vows with during your divorce proceedings.
Hard Truth #6: Life is not on pause because you’re getting divorced
Even if you sometimes wish that you could get a little bit of a breather from all the drama, you will find that the world is not very sympathetic to your situation. The boss will still need the report on their desk by 09:00, whether you’ve been crying all night or not. The intense support from friends & family will most likely start to dwindle after month 2 or 3 after the initial shock of the news. Life goes on and you will need to keep up with it.
Hard Truth #7: Your financial situation will change dramatically
It’s only in the movies where someone gets divorced and then walks away with millions in assets, cash and alimony. Even if you both were well-paid working adults, one underestimates the difference two paychecks make when it comes to paying the utilities, the groceries, etc. Ironically, life is much more expensive if you’re just one.
Hard Truth #8: You’ll have trust issues
Remember when we mentioned divorce bringing out the worst in people and that you’ll lose family and friends? Yes, to say that trust issues will be a very real thing to deal with sometime in your immediate future is an understatement.
Hard Truth #9: There might come a time when you reconsider
Whether it’s time, space, fading memories, or just due to comfortability, there might come a time when you actually consider getting back together with your ex. Although there are certain cases where this works out, it is in the vast minority. You will need to do some serious soul searching if this temptation ever arises.
Hard Truth #10: Divorce doesn’t fix your own personal issues
It takes two to tango. And the fact that your divorce got finalised doesn’t mean that you’ve suddenly turned into a relationship pro. In fact, the reason why most second marriages don’t work out is that they didn’t make the effort to fix themselves after the first. Getting divorced might mean not having to listen to someone complaining about you constantly working.
But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a massive impact on relationships in general. If you enjoy grabbing a beer every day after work, you might not have someone angrily waiting for you at home… yet. Do you crop up your emotions and then have an outburst? Well, the only real reason that might not be happening at the moment is that there’s no one else to outburst to. You need to deal with yourself and you’re more than welcome to do it during your online psychologist consultation.
How to deal with a bad divorce.
If an amicable divorce is extremely tough, a messy one can easily feel like the world is coming to an end. Here are some of the advice we give clients during an online psychologist consultation:
- It’s one thing for an ex to spread horrible rumours about you. But it’s another when they are aggressively banging on your door or window. You need to find the help you need if cruelty turns from petty into dangerous.
- Don’t be player number 2 in the games. Whether losing their temper, threatening other legal actions, refusing to sign the papers or reach a settlement – all of these are games in which to establish control. Playing along won’t help the situation. Protect yourself and take the necessary actions. But you can let the attorneys deal with your ex not wanting to sign without ending up keying a car.
- You will need to accept the unacceptable. Many will tell you to ignore a toddler throwing a tantrum. That’s exactly what you’ll need to do in this situation. It’s really not worth the effort, time (or legal fees) to react to every backhanded comment, insult or accusation.
- You’ll need to get a support system together. This can consist of a number of people. From friends and family to a support group, your legal team and your psychologist. They will all play a role in managing the situation. Whether by allowing you to vent, defend you or hug you. These are the people who will see you through this difficult period of your life.
- Put the kids first. It doesn’t matter that your ex is acting just as old as your two-year old. Focus on the children and think about how your words and actions might impact them.
- It’s time to be super vigilant and careful. If you enjoy a glass of whiskey with your dinner, your ex will argue that you’re an alcoholic. Get extremely upset over something your ex said or did, and they’ll claim that you’re unstable. If you have to go to a work event while the children are in your care, your ex will open a case of neglect. Things that a normal couple would never even think twice about can end up being a weapon in a messy divorce. Be careful what you say or do so you don’t hand them the gun.
- Consider starting individual online relationship counseling. These counselors are experienced in guiding you through these difficult times.
Even though there are often very dark days in a nasty divorce, the old adage still remains true: this too shall pass. And having a support network on your side makes it so much easier. If you would like to schedule an online psychologist consultation to work through past or present divorce trauma, please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below and we’ll reach out to you.