In some marriages, the arrival of divorce is a source of satisfaction and relief, a civilized way to put an end to a relationship that, for whatever reason, has not worked out. However, it is no secret that in many cases, even in people who have already been separated for months, the “official” end of the marriage is an emotionally painful experience or, at the very least, causes a certain feeling of disorientation or even existential emptiness.
This last type of experience is usually accompanied by emotional difficulties both in the relationship with oneself and in relationships with others, especially if there are children involved. For this reason, here we will address some guidelines for emotional management of the divorce experience, as general advice.
The keys to emotional management of divorce
Each case has its particularities, and if it is already true that each person is unique, in the case of a divorce, which directly involves two individuals, there are even more variables at stake. In any case, and based on the fact that the best solution to emotional problems is to attend psychotherapy (to obtain fully personalized professional support), several of the guidelines that can help you face a divorce are the following.
1. Focus on acceptance
Accepting the current situation that one is going through during a divorce process is the first guideline, an essential one, with which we can manage it in the best possible way.
Those people who do not accept their divorce or who do not want to recognize the reality of the facts tend to get frustrated, feel bad and constantly imagine possible idealized alternative scenarios or strategies to avoid the current situation. This not only prevents turning the page but often leads to confrontation and the adoption of a hostile attitude (or more hostile, if the relationship was no longer good) towards the ex-partner because this dynamic keeps the fiction that one himself has control over the existence or non-existence of the marriage.
Instead of doing that, it is recommended to focus on the present and the future that lies ahead as single people; We must be clear that the world is not ending and that it is perfectly possible to be happy beyond the marriage that has ended, and put our efforts into achieving our own emotional well-being through those elements of our lives that we can control.
2. Do not try to fix the situation
Even among those who accept that divorce is the “default” option that exists today, some people cling to the hope of “fixing” the relationship that has broken, an intention that is very unconstructive and that does not correspond at all with the chances of success.
Although some relationships can indeed be reconciled, that usually happens after a certain time, and something like this must happen without pressure or obsession, but spontaneously and without looking for it.
That is why it is of great importance that during the divorce process a state of calm and maintenance of the attentional focus on goals that involve us alone (or our family in case of having children) is maintained.
3. Don’t hide it
During a divorce process, it is also advisable not to keep this fact a secret, or take too long to communicate the news to the rest of your loved ones. If it takes a long time, that topic can become a secret that is difficult to “cover” and that in the long run generates more added concerns, because you feel the pressure of having to justify why nothing was said at the time.
If it is very difficult to communicate the news of the recent divorce, you can set specific dates and times to take the step and forget about that concern as soon as possible.
4. Do not limit yourself to communicating the facts to the children
If you have children, especially if they are very young, it is important not only to communicate the news of the divorce but also to clarify what will happen from now on in the family sphere and offer them emotional support, without assuming that they are “robots” that simply have to process verbal information. All this in a calm tone and open to participation, reserving a place that offers privacy and a time when there are no distractions or other things to do.
It should be borne in mind that if children lack information about the future after a divorce, they tend to adopt a pessimistic point of view and put themselves in the worst possible scenario: in the face of ambiguity, it is easy for anxiety to arise. That is why it is of great importance to clarify any doubts and address the present and future situation, instead of just talking about what has already happened.
5. Boost your social life
It is quite common that after a sentimental breakup of this type if it coincides with the marital separation, we have a lot of free time that we used to spend with the other person. Some people tend to waste this free time alone due to inertia, something that we must avoid at all costs.
After a divorce, it is advisable to give your social life a boost to compensate for the fact that the hours spent in the company of your partner are no longer there. It is better to participate in new social activities so as not to be alone through sheer passivity. We must not forget that going from living with a partner to not doing so has objective implications that go beyond the mental: routines change significantly, and you have to know how to adapt to it.
6. Don’t get obsessed with finding a partner
This is an important topic, as many people are obsessed with finding a new partner as soon as possible after a painful divorce, either because of the need to overcome the negative emotions that divorce generates or because they find it difficult to be alone, or directly because being single seems to them to be something linked to a stigma (especially in people who are no longer very young).
To achieve an emotional balance after the breakup and give ourselves time to reflect on what happened, it is important not to become obsessed with having a new partner and to focus on ourselves during the first weeks, partly to be clear about what we want, what our values are. and the life projects that we should focus on.
This does not mean rejecting dates, it is simply about not focusing on the need to have another partner and spending some time getting to know ourselves better, discovering what we want in the future and what philosophy of life we want to face in this new stage of our life with.
7. Lean on friends and family
They are there for that. We have the support of our closest social circle, that of the friends and family that surround us; if we can get to need them, especially at some point, this is one of them.
Talking with them about what happened, as an adult to an adult, helps to organize our ideas and stop trying not to think about certain topics, so that we can accept what happened and integrate it properly into our memories.
8. Attend psychotherapy if necessary
If the current situation overwhelms us, it is important to attend psychotherapy with a qualified professional who is an expert in divorce processes and marital breakdowns.
Going to the psychologist is one of the best ways that exist to start feeling better since in his consultation we will not only be able to express everything that we have inside and let off steam but we will also be trained in skills and techniques for managing emotions and of self-knowledge to turn the page.