It’s no surprise that I believe that the best process you can choose for your divorce is divorce mediation. With the help of a divorce mediator, you save time and money. That’s great, but divorce mediation has a less tangible benefit, one that’s no less important—it can help you maintain your sanity. After all, you’re going through one of the most trying phases of your life. Don’t you want to keep your wits about you?
Today I’ll give you some simple suggestions on how you can stay sane, during your divorce and beyond.
1. Fairness has little to do with anything.
Your idea of fairness likely differs from your spouse’s, especially if you feel you’ve been the better partner. But conduct during a marriage is usually irrelevant. Divorce is not a way to compensate you for giving more or for suffering from your spouse’s failures. If your spouse was a bad mate, bad cook, or bad bill payer, it’s just not relevant.
2. This is a divorce—your life is not at stake.
Try to keep things in perspective. Yes, you’re going through a terrible time. But when all is done, you’ll likely be happier for ending an unhappy marriage. This phase of your life can’t be compared to going through a terminal illness.
3. Divorce is serious business, not a holy war.
It’s tough, but try to put your emotions aside so you can be objective. You will regret making long-term decisions based on short-term emotions.
4. Watch out for transference.
The stress of divorce stirs raw emotions like anger and fear. Watch out for transferring these feelings to friends and family. The best thing you can do is acknowledge these feelings and talk about them, with a therapist, if possible. I can give you referrals.
5. Life is short—get on with it.
Don’t become obsessed. Those who survive divorce best are those who work on other areas of their lives—work, social activities, and relationships. Think beyond your divorce to the next chapter of your life.
6. Talk with friends—just don’t pay attention to them.
Throughout this rough patch, your friends will be sure to give you advice. They mean well, but that doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about. If you want to keep your head clear and also keep your friends, listen politely, thank them, then forget what they say.
7. Take the high road.
If you’re feeling wronged, you may have a gut desire for revenge. You can follow your gut, or you can rise above it. The first way leads to misery. The second approach recognizes reality: the legal system does not provide revenge.
8. Know the perils of court.
This one is big. You may think a divorce unfolds like a drama with a wise judge listening patiently to bomb-dropping disclosures. The reality is different. Court involves long waiting time and busy judges more concerned with getting cases resolved than anything else. If you go to court, the only guarantee is that it will be exhausting, ugly, and expensive.
9. Get some physical exercise.
This one is so simple, I’m (almost) embarrassed to suggest it. But I bet you know it’s true. Just 30 minutes of walking each day will improve your physical health as well as your mental outlook. Just do it!
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