My Q & A with Divorce Coach Andrea Javor

Andrea Javor divorce coach

By Jackie Pilossoph, Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, Love Essentially columnist and author

I’m just getting to know divorce coach Andrea Javor and I have to say, I’m loving her energy, enthusiasm and passion for helping newly separated and divorced men and women. If you’re considering working with a divorce coach, my Q & A with Andrea might give you a better look at her. I find Andrea to be compassionate, empathetic and really, really smart. And, she’s been where you are, twice!

Here is my Q & A with divorce coach Andrea Javor

 

1. What made you become Andrea Javor, divorce coach?

My journey to becoming a divorce coach has been slowly building over the past two decades.  Since my story has included divorce, actually on two occasions, I felt this strange conflict in even talking about it with people outside of my small circle.  I had that little “boo-hoo crew” in the beginning, the people who heard every story, but to the larger world around me I wasn’t sure how to relate to others regarding divorce.   I didn’t talk about my divorces at cocktail parties. When an acquaintance at work asked me how my step kids were doing, I hid the fact that I wasn’t sure if I would ever see the kids again once I divorced their dad.

After more time went on and I properly healed from my second divorce, I realized that my mess is my message!  One of my business mentors used to tell me to embrace the things, good, bad, and ugly, that make me uniquely qualified to do the job.  What I realized is that I was walking around my life feeling both ashamed that I’ve had two divorces and at that same time so proud at the way I have handled both.  I had this constant feeling that I was meant for more, destined to do something with my life beyond what I had been doing.

I had to fully embrace both sides of my story – the shame and the sense of pride – to get to the realization that I have a huge value to add to women who are going through divorce.  I knew that working another 20 years in corporate marketing would be safe, secure, and predictable for me – really great in many ways too – but I also knew if I didn’t somehow spread my message of living happily BETTER after divorce, I wouldn’t be making a larger contribution to society, and to strong women.  And that’s what I feel proud about doing as a coach; helping women build a beautiful future they are excited about about divorce.

2. Having personally gone through two divorces, how was each at the beginning, from the time you knew the marriage was over and through the first few months of the divorce?

My story of marriage and divorce both times around were similar in length (less than 5 years) although going through it twice, almost a decade apart, I can tell you they each hurt me in acute ways that felt completely different.

 

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In my first marriage, I really have to say I couldn’t have done any better than I did.  We were young, everyone around us was getting married, and we had been dating several years.  Marriage felt like the logical next step.  For me, he completed the idea of what I wanted, a husband and eventually a family.

We had big, loving plans for a lifetime together and shortly after we actually got married realized that we really didn’t have what it took in the long term.  There were issues hidden on his end and things I didn’t let myself see.  It’s easy to do that, by the way, to let yourself really overlook red flags.  It’s in service of something beautiful – marriage and family – and those things are indeed beautiful.

In my second marriage, I didn’t know right away and with step kids involved I would have done almost anything to avoid upheaval in their lives at any cost.  What I realized is that I can still be a role model to them as a healthy adult even if I am not married to their dad.

So, what I can say is my feelings once I knew divorce was inevitable were probably similar to so many other people who go through it – MIXED.  I felt everything from shame to doubt to relief to freedom to despair to hope.  All of it.  Divorce is overwhelming and creates so much uncertainty.  I remember feeling schizophrenic some days, depressed other days, and normal at times too.  All of those feelings are normal, and deeply feeling those feelings is what will get you through it.  All that said, I didn’t know I would truly be OK without my husband and step kids for a long time.  The reality is that not all marriages last forever and if you have to go through divorce, it’s not something that has to completely frame the rest of your life, even if you have to do it twice like me!

3. Was there anything you wish you would have done differently through divorce?

I think I handled my divorce like a boss, which could be both good and bad.  Those who know me know that I tend to analyze, strategize, plan and take quick action in life.  It helped me climb the corporate ladder in my career for sure, but sometimes that approach is too rigid when you’re hurting deeply at an emotional level.

In divorce, I was really proud of the way I was able to find a self-care routine that was deliberate enough to be effective yet flexible enough to be realistic.  I was regimented about what I did during my divorce recovery – and what I didn’t do.  I did yoga 4x/week, no exceptions.  I didn’t lay in bed crying past 10AM on a weekend without calling someone to help me get out of bed and at least brush my teeth or make a coffee.

 

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Halfway through my summer of pure hell, which is what I call the early stages of my divorce, I realized I needed to adjust my day-to-day activities.  I started looking for a new job, I changed my exercise routine to reduce stress on my body, I experimented in eliminating foods from my diet, I proactively reconnected with people who I knew would help me through.  All throughout my first year of recovery, I checked in with myself often to be sure I had what I needed when I needed it.  I still use these tools to help me through emotional times.

I don’t think I would do anything differently in my divorce … now if you ask me if I would do anything differently before getting married I have a different answer for you *wink*.

4. What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give a newly separated person?

You probably have some concept of the way a divorce is handled in your area based on what you know from friends, neighbors, relatives.  My best advice is to acknowledge yours will be unique and you need to build your own divorce team.

It’s helpful to think of this as inviting the right people into your “divorce board room.”  The concept is simple.  Think about having to go through a process that on average in the U.S. will cost each party $15,000 and take one year to complete.  For many, the cost and time is even higher, especially for high conflict cases.  You wouldn’t just call the first lawyer you found and pay the retainer, hoping for the best, right?

To plan for a year-long process that will be costly and complex, I first imagine my “board room.”  What expertise do I need at the table to help me get through this?  OK, this process is legal in nature so I definitely need to address that.  My finances are going to change as a result of this divorce, I may need an Accountant, or a CDFA.  I may need to sell the house, I will need a Mortgage broker and a Realtor. You want your Therapist there at the board room table to work with you on what’s happened in the past, look at childhood issues and more.

Picture your board room and who you need there.  Now, imagine you have someone next to you, your right hand person, who not only knows all about the divorce process but is also trained to compassionately address all of your emotional needs as you look ahead to the future.  Imagine that person has your financial and emotional interests at heart as a first priority.  That’s what a divorce coach can do.  Your divorce coach sits next to you at the head of the board room table and helps you put in place not only what you need, but helps you attract and invite in the right person in each role at that table.

My advice is to build your customized support team.  When you do it deliberately you will save time, money and energy by putting your resources in all the right places and avoid the common pitfalls in divorce.  Also, your divorce process will be so much easier to get through emotionally.

5. What is the hardest part about getting divorced, based on both your own experiences and what your clients have told you?

The hardest part is early on in the process you will just not believe anything positive can come from this.  I certainly didn’t.  My boss at the time said to me, “What no one tells you, Andrea, is that you will be so much happier when this is all through.”  I left his office and cried in the bathroom.

I have worked with many women who simply cannot believe that life will get better.  I think so many women in unhappy marriages unfortunately lose a bit of self identity and it’s difficult to operate from a place of optimism when you’re not even really sure who you are.  It’s so hard, but keep your chin up and know that you will be so much happier on the other side if you continue to do the work on yourself.  It’s all about building up YOU and the best YOU you can be after your divorce.  Do it and you will get through the hardest part which is having hope for a better future.

6. What can you tell us about dating after divorce, especially for those who have a grimm outlook on the subject?

I feel like a subject-matter expert on dating pre and post divorce!  I was introduced to my first husband through a friend, met my next boyfriend on OKCupid, dated lots of goofballs from IJL & Match, met my second husband on Tinder, and then accidentally sat next to my current boyfriend in a bar.  When it comes to dating, I’ve done it all!

I’ve written many blog posts about dating after divorce and I’ll share two highlights.  First, have fun with it!  Spread the wealth, put yourself out there on a couple platforms and just see what happens without taking any of it too seriously.  If you get ghosted, so what!?!?  It will happen.  If you go out with a guy and don’t like him, politely decline the next date.  It doesn’t have to be stressful and it can be fun.

Second, and this is the most important, be very clear with yourself and your dates about what you want out of the dating experience.  Be upfront about it.  If the last thing you read is your divorce papers, be clear about how quickly you want to get serious with someone again.  Eliminate all societal pressures.  Instead of thinking what you should be doing, get in touch with what feels right to you.  Only invite someone into your life who will immediately and tangibly enhance the beautiful world you already live in.  Anything less, swipe left!

7. It’s hard to imagine for a lot of people, but is happily BETTER after possible after divorce?

Yes, yes, yes!  It is much more than possible, it has been proven over and over by strong women just like you and me!  The idea of moving on can be so challenging especially for women who didn’t want to get divorced in the first place.  Even though statistically 2/3 of all filings in the U.S. are done by women, that doesn’t mean that the same number of women initiated the divorce.

Wherever you are, whether it is blindsided by divorce papers, the initiator, living in the messy middle, or post-decree still mining through your divorce debris, know that the recovery is a process.  Going through this process of untangling your life offers the opportunity to let go of things that no longer serve you.  And, the process allows you to bring new things into your life.  When was the last time you did something just for yourself that felt good and nourished your soul?

You just went through hell getting through a horrible event in your life – divorce.  Now, you have the world at your feet and every opportunity to define your own “better after” happiness for your future.  I know first hand that fairy tale happiness is possible when it comes from within.

So, that’s my Q & A with divorce coach Andrea Javor. She is currently accepting new clients and would love to hear from you!

Bio of Divorce coach Andrea Javor

Andrea Javor is a Certified Divorce Coach and founder of Happily Better After, which offers one-on-one divorce coaching.  Her mission is to bring sanity to the process of divorce, saving clients time, money, and energy, so they have what they need to create a life they love living.  Andrea works with people considering divorce, in the middle of the process, and those who are post-divorce.  She has a sweet spot in helping families affected by mental illness.  Andrea’s coaching business mirrors what she learned after going through two divorces of her own: It’s not what happens to us, it’s how we handle it. To learn more or to work with her, visit her website.

Like this article? Check out, “How Do I Let Go of My Husband After 15 Years?”

 

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Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

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