The "Dos" and "Don'ts" of Re-Building Confidence and Self-Worth After Divorce: Part 2
- Tend to Your Healing and Listen to Your Feelings: Don’t push too hard and allow yourself to say “no.” Many women in married relationships spread themselves very thin with family and other obligations. While you are in a period of healing, acknowledge and accept that you do not have to take on more than you are ready for. Be comfortable politely declining invitations you are not yet ready for or obligations you do not truly wish to take on. If you feel overwhelmed, scale back. Just because you always volunteered for extra projects at work, ran marathons and led the bake sales before, doesn’t mean you are obligated to continue all of that – for now. Taking a break can be good, isolating yourself is not good. Be mindful of the distinction between maintaining balance and avoiding interacting.
- Improve Your Communication Skills with Your Ex and with Others: This can be challenging, depending on where you are in the healing process. Practice being clear, concise and polite with your ex when discussing any issues after your divorce. You may still feel hurt, or he may still feel hurt, but now is the time to work on reconciling those feelings and not fall into old patterns. Resist any urges to name call or blame, even if your ex does. Practice explaining your position concisely but politely. If you are able to speak on the phone, try typing out what you plan to say first. Visualize how you would feel if he were making your points
to you. We cannot clean up someone else’s side of the street, but we can always work on making our side of the street cleaner. Effective communication is magic that moves mountains.
- Accept that “Transitional Dating” is Okay: It is okay to join a dating website and use it to “practice” dating again, with no intention of finding a relationship or ever going on a second date with people. Really. It is. In fact, studies show it is extremely good for our self-confidence; it sharpens our social skills and can even improve our interview skills. If nothing else, it can make for some very interesting stories. Be open to life’s humorous experiences, laughter is good medicine.
- Give in to Negative Thoughts, Feelings and Behavior Patterns: If you accept that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet continuing to expect different results, then you can probably understand why it’s important to build new habits and thinking
patterns and to be consistent about them. If you sustained verbal abuse or if you attempted reconciliation that was met with rejection, it can take a long time to fully shed the negative emotional impact. It is very important to remind yourself that those thoughts were not healthy and that they no longer serve you. Then, let them go. There is no such thing as “successful revenge.” Vengeful behavior always has more than one victim and the perpetrator is always negatively impacted as well as the intended target.
- Ask Friends or Family to “Pick Sides”: Regardless of the make-up of your social circle or family unit, it will take time for those who knew you as a couple to adjust to the divorce too. Trying to force them to align their allegiance with you or cutting them out if they maintain a relationship with your former spouse will only cause additional negative feelings. Allow everyone time to re-adjust and get used to this “new normal.” It is your dignity, your behavior and your attitude that will cause people to maintain their relationships with you, not your insistence that they do so. If people close to you maintain contact with your former spouse, be respectful and behave with poise. Try to accept that you are in control of your feelings and your behavior, but trying to control the behavior of others is about as productive as trying to herd cats with a spaghetti noodle (read: not productive.)
Of course, we realize that there are always exceptions to these suggestions. These are derived from our long experience speaking with women who are in the process of and healing from divorce. Please use these as a guideline
and a starting point. If you are curious about our services or need more information about the process of divorce, please contact us regarding a consultation.
The Law Firm of Victoria
The Law Firm of Victoria is dedicated to representing women only in divorce and family law matters. Contact us today to schedule a private consultation. We also offer free seminars to educate you about divorce and family law for women. Reserve your spot now; call (248) 723-1600.