A very accurate description for divorce is an emotional roller coaster. Lost. Scared. Bitter. Lonely. Relieved. Shaken. Sad. Angry. Hopeful.
It’s definitely something that no one should have to endure alone. Because divorce has become so commonplace, there are tons of resources available to help you survive the process. With the right combo, you may even make it out with some level of dignity.
First, let’s get this out of the way, DO NOT just rely on friends and family! Don’t get me wrong, they’re great for a shoulder and to keep you distracted and to remind you that you are loved. But, their advice can often be misguided, uninformed, and downright damaging to your ability to think straight. What’s more is they can’t help it, they’re biased. So, get your advice from objective professionals.
When considering useful resources, here are the first things that I think EVERYONE needs during the process and for at least a little while after:
1. An Excellent Therapist or Divorce Coach
There is just so much emotional trauma caused by divorce that you really need to talk it through with a qualified professional. This is the only way you can hope to form relationships that aren’t doomed to repeat your past. A therapist will help you explore your role in the end of your marriage. A divorce coach will help you get clarity about your goals for the next phase of your life and help you start moving towards them. The import thing is to know you don’t have to do this work alone.
Almost every community in the country has a non-profit that offers free divorce support resources. In Arizona, we have the Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center. Check your local community for those in your area.
3. CDFA® or Financial Planner
The most common and paralyzing fear that nearly everyone feels in divorce is “Will I be a bag lady?” or “Will I have to live under a bridge?” It’s inevitable. Before you agree to any settlement, you really need a second set of eyes and some financial projections tou know what you’re going to be looking at. Of course, I’m biased and would prefer that you find a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® practitioner, CDFA®, actually trained specifically in the finances of divorce but like I said, I’m biased.
4. The Internet
Divorce has become big business. New resource sites pop up every day offering a wealth of free information, downloads, blogs, referrals, directories, etc. It can be somewhat overwhelming so just pick out what you connect with and leave the rest. Go slow. Be kind to yourself. Also, Meetup.com is a great resource for local divorce support groups. Going to a few is a good idea but don’t let yourself sink in too long. Recovery is supposed to be about getting better and I know too many people that stay stuck in grieving and never move on. Use a support group to move through the process and then – move on.
This is going to be a challenging time in your life. Ultimately, you will be stronger, happier, and ok – as long as you choose to. Use the resources available to you to make good decisions for yourself. Today truly is the first day of the rest of your life.