How to make the most of a difficult divorce

Dealing with your emotional divorce is not just a way to rebuild your life… it is also an investment in reducing the aggravation of your divorce process.

As in the midst of a divorce, you’re experiencing a lot of pressure. Major decisions have to be made, especially about money and children. All of this happens in a climate of distrust between you and your ex. Divorce opens some of your deepest wounds… yours as well as your ex’s. You push each other’s buttons. This makes it more and more difficult to deal squarely with the issues. This is why the typical divorce takes so long to be finalized.

It may seem that dealing with your feelings is a luxury you can’t afford at such a time. You may be afraid that, if you were to be too conscious of your emotions, you might no longer be capable of coping with the pressures of your divorce. But it’s just the opposite.

Chances are you are hurt and angry. The temptation is strong to think of the divorce process as a way to strike back. And our legal system certainly encourages you to do this. Divorce is fought through two lawyers who act as champions for the two spouses, fighting it off.

The goal is for one person to win, and for the other to lose. The strategy is to assign as much blame as possible to the other person. The tactics include costly legal battles.

The outcome? Thousands and thousands of dollars go down the drain in legal fees. There is even more distrust and acrimony between your spouse and you than there was at the beginning. How can this not happen after slinging so much mud at each other? Not to mention emotional scars that will last for years, for you as well as your children.

In other words: Do not confuse the legal system for a way to act out your frustrations, or to get emotional closure.

Divorce is easier if both your ex and you agree not to indulge in the adversarial, destructive process of traditional divorce. However, it is often the case that an ex might not have the same degree of commitment to this balanced approach as the other. What do you do if your ex is intent on fighting destructively?

It is especially important that you focus on keeping your integrity and self-respect. This doesn’t mean giving up and letting your angry ex steamroll all over you… far from that. In fact, what you need to remember is that keeping your integrity is actually going to help you fight much more effectively!

Divorce activates murky, unresolved feelings. As you get mired in these difficult emotions, you react in a knee-jerk fashion that tends to be counterproductive.

You can’t do much about your ex’s wounds and emotional state. But you can do a lot about yours. Dealing with your emotional issues will help you deal more effectively with all the other issues.