My divorce happened suddenly, catching me totally unaware. With an 8-week-old baby daughter to care for, I was definitely not expecting to be dealing with a marriage break up. But that’s exactly what I was doing!
After having some time to accept my new marital status, I understood very quickly I had a choice as to how I would conduct myself in our impending Divorce. There were two very separate pathways I could follow in my Divorce.
1. One full of revenge, anger and hate.
To be as harsh and money hungry as I possibly could and to hurt my husband in any way, regardless of the consequences. How many people do you know that once their marriage ends, regardless of whether they have been living a lie for many years, simply didn’t want the façade to end? When the marriage does end, they turn into this vengeful green eyed horrific monster (or maybe a “frightful version of their former selves). I was determined not to fall into this trap.
2. Divorce amicably.
Understanding there was absolutely no reversal in my husband’s decision to end the marriage, Divorce was inevitable. I had to face up to this fact and understand there was no other alternative. My marriage was over. No matter how much I loved my husband and wanted our marriage to continue, it was over. I was in shock and full of anger, as I felt extremely deceived, which I was. Yet, the image I had hard-coded in my mind, was of our beautiful daughter on her 18th birthday, thanking me for giving her a childhood that was not filled with animosity, hatred and anger towards her father. Instead, it was one where we co-parented, across international countries, overcoming any issues. Co-parenting successfully for our daughter was the end goal, and we did it.
How I successfully navigated through my Divorce, and the steps I took, is the core of what I teach my Divorcing clients. What is paramount is to stay as focused and grounded as you possibly can; to create a divorce as amicable as is humanly possible. This will create the best environment to co-parent your beautiful children together respectfully and calmly.
Here are four steps you can take to achieve an amicable, respectful divorce from your spouse - based my own experience:
1. Always Look to your future.
When clients come to me and complain about the behavior of their partner during their marriage, I stop them right there. I explain very clearly ‘Your marriage is in your past, it’s over.’ If you want to move forward you, must only look forward to your future and your children’s future.
What does that look like? What do you need to do to get there? Wallowing in the past creates negative emotions and keeps you stuck in a victim state, which isn’t healthy for anyone.
2. Don’t talk negatively of your ex-partner.
If you’re trying to have an amicable divorce, you shouldn’t talk negatively about your ex - ever. There is nothing worse than meeting people who talk negatively about their ex’s, even many years following their divorce. When people do this, it clearly displays they have not dealt with their Divorce in a mature and evolved manner or taken ownership of their part in the Divorce.
Remember it takes two to marry and two to divorce. To achieve an amicable divorce, you should refuse to speak negatively about your partner and, if anybody does, you should try and shield your children from them. Your children deserve to be kids and not listen to anybody speak about either parent in a negative way.
3. Learning to Forgive.
If there is anybody on earth that should have found forgiveness impossible, it’s Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu - appointed to be The Chair of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission for South Africa once Apartheid was abolished. The depths of depravity witnessed was unfathomable. Yet, both he and Nelson Mandela choose forgiveness over hate, which is a lesson to us all. Tutu’s must read book - ‘The Book of Forgiving’ written by Desmond & Mpho Tutu, taught me how to forgive. He explains - ‘Forgiveness gives us the freedom to move into your future, letting go of your past.’ Desmond Tutu explains ‘The invitation to forgive, is an invitation to healing and peace.’ Doesn’t that sound like a nice place to arrive at?
4. Investing in a Divorce Coach or Therapist.
Divorce can be a time of emotional upheaval, yet during this time we are expected to make major life-changing decisions that affect not only us and our futures, but the futures of our children. Don’t try and be brave. Instead, be sensible and invest in you and your future, and employ a specialist.
Find an expert you trust, somebody who understands exactly what you are experiencing, who will be your unwavering supporter during the difficult times, and there to guide you towards your amazingly abundant future. Sometimes we look to lean on friends or family, but often they’re not fully equipped to help with the complexities divorce entails. And they can easily and unintentionally lead you into negative thought patterns. Unfortunately, divorce coaches weren’t the norm when I went through my divorce and meant instead I had to learn lessons the hard way. Make it easier on yourself, recover faster and gain a clearer picture of your abundant future with support so you can show up as a better, more positive person when co-parenting.
Divorce can be the key to unlock your amazing future that has been waiting for you. So make sure you’re taking the right steps towards an amicable divorce, so you can life a positive life far beyond your divorce.
‘But you have to do what you DREAM of doing, even while you are afraid.' - Arianna Huffington
Megan Holgate, Divorce Coach www.meganholgate.com