Getting divorced is probably the most stressful time in your life. You’re mourning the loss of the most serious relationship you’ve ever had. You’re stressed to the hilt about finances. You’re watching your children’s lives in upheaval. And you’re trying to figure out your new life.
When I was getting divorced several years ago, I did some really stupid things. Thankfully, nothing was too damaging, but still, there are many things I regret. Looking back, I see what I did right, and I see the mistakes I made and what I could have done better.
Here are 5 big mistakes people getting divorced make:
1. They get their hair cut short.
When getting divorced, many people feel like they want to start fresh, make changes, be different. Changing your hair right at the beginning is a bad way to do this. You’ll regret it. Trust me! Wait a few weeks before doing anything drastic with your hair. Do you really think you’d look good in Gwenyth Paltrow’s short hair or Pink’s bleached white, spiked do? Really think it through. Otherwise, you’ll have more to cry about!
2. They are rude and unfriendly to their soon-to-be ex in front of the kids.
I’m sure that he or she is not your favorite person on earth right now. Either he/she is leaving you or you chose to leave. Either way, there’s most likely resentment, anger, and hostility between the two of you. Whatever the circumstances, when in the presence of your children, keep your feelings to yourself! Be polite. Be kind. You don’t have to act like best friends, but if you are rude or mean and act angry toward your spouse, it is killing your kids. Think of THEM before yourself. Keep a journal and write down everything you want to say about your spouse. But to his or her face, in front of the kids, show nothing. I know it’s hard, but do it. On a side note, there are people who have been divorced for years who are still rude to their ex in front of the kids. Not starting off being rude could establish a healthy pattern, which is just one more reason to be polite!
3. They talk about the divorce non-stop.
Getting divorced is what’s going on in your life right now. Therefore, when you get together with friends and they say, “What’s new?” obviously you are going to talk about it. It’s okay to vent. It’s okay to cry on your girlfriend’s shoulder, and it’s okay to have an angry outburst. But try to keep these conversations to a minimum and remember that your friends have lives too. They might not be getting divorced, but they have other issues and problems in life, and you need to be a friend to them, too. Try not to be known as “the girl who won’t shut up about her divorce.” Instead vent and talk things through with a therapist. It really does help.
4. They drink a lot and they drink and drive.
When I was getting divorced, my therapist told me to “watch my drinking.” She said that people going through a divorce are very susceptible to a drinking addiction. It makes sense. You’re under a tremendous amount of stress and depression. Alcohol will intensify those feelings and make you want more alcohol to try to soothe the pain. It can become a vicious cycle. Be careful! Also, don’t drink and drive! The last thing you need is a DUI or even worse, to kill someone. Those things will make your impending divorce seem like small potatoes!
5. They jump into a new relationship.
I’ve seen it a million times. By the time I hear someone is getting divorced, I’m running into them at a restaurant, arm in arm and all lovey-dovey with a new guy. I want to say, “Put on the breaks!” Can you be by yourself for two minutes??!! Don’t get me wrong. I hardly think getting divorced means you have to sit home by yourself and be lonely. And yes, I do believe that when you and your ex finally split, some people might have been grieving the relationship for quite some time. So, I don’t begrudge anyone for wanting to jump into the dating scene. But don’t jump into a serious relationship and certainly don’t jump back into marriage for a long time. After divorce, when it comes to relationships, SLOW is better.
Good things to do when getting divorced:
1. Work out and eat healthy
2. Find a hobby. Figure out what you like to do for yourself.
3. Make platonic friends, both men and women
4. Go to therapy. (no eye rolling, please. It is very helpful for most people!)
5. Find faith and talk to God.
6. Focus on your children. They need more time and attention from you right now.