Divorce is a process that often stirs up a variety of bittersweet emotions. For couples without children, once the divorce is finalized there’s rarely a need to stay in contact and it’s easier to move forward in life. However, a divorcing couple with children often face the challenge of how to co-parent without letting their personal feelings and issues interfere with raising their children with their ex. If you are struggling to have a healthy co-parenting relationship with your ex, here are some tips to ensure that your child’s well-being remains a priority:
The Benefits of Healthy Co-Parenting
Parents make their children one of their top priorities and while most parents are well-intentioned, the unfortunate reality behind divorce is that some children end up feeling tossed around, split in two, and are forced to act as a mediator between feuding parents. While the moments during and shortly after a divorce can be rocky, it’s important to think about how healthy co-parenting can benefit children. If you and your ex have both been given shared custody of your children, keep in mind some of the benefits of co-parenting:
- Children develop feelings of stability and are less likely to feel abandoned.
- Children are allowed to be children, rather than a social and emotional companion for their parents.
- Children can continue to have a good relationship with both of their parents and parents are able to focus on strengthening and improving their relationship with their children.
Be Available to Your Child
A divorce can leave you struggling with some intense emotions and while it’s important to work through some of your issues, make sure that you are always available to your child. Although it’s likely that you and your ex already sat down and explained the divorce to your child, don’t assume that all of his or her questions are answered and even though you may want to move forward, understand that your child may need more time. When talking with your child about the divorce, keep it neutral, don’t trash talk your ex, and focus on how you can help your child with his or her feelings.
The Importance of Communicating
While the last thing you may want to do is keep in contact with your ex on a regular basis, communication is key in regards to your child. Don’t make major decisions for or about your child (such as education, religion, extracurricular activities) without talking with your ex first. Failure to communicate can be toxic for your co-parenting relationship and will ultimately affect the wellbeing of your child. Keep your conversations with your ex professional, stay on task, focus on your child, and avoid using language that sounds accusatory.
Be on the Same Page
You and your ex may disagree on many things, but in order to have a healthy co-parenting relationship, the two of you need to agree on things related to your child. Even if you disagree with what your ex is saying, hear him or her out before arguing. While it’s likely that you won’t agree on everything, try to find a middle ground and be consistent. Many divorced couples end up competing with one another and try to be a “good” or “fun” parent. Keep in mind that children do better with a routine and if your child is sharing time between you and your ex, a healthy co-parenting relationship will benefit your child as he or she work through and adjusts to his or her new life transition.
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Valentine’s Day is a loved and loathed holiday. It’s over commercialized, there’s pressure to buy expensive gifts, flowers, chocolates, and finding the perfect card that expresses exactly what you feel. Some couples get into Valentine’s Day and see it as the perfect way to reiterate their expressions of love, while many single people would rather ignore the day all together.
If you are newly divorced, your first Valentine’s Day as an unmarried person may stir up a lot of emotions. You may feel free, you may feel relieved, or you might feel totally bummed out. If you’re dreading Valentine’s Day, there are numerous ways to get through it and you may even end up enjoying the day:
Don’t Dwell On the Past This Valentine’s Day
Were the Valentine’s Days of your past horrible or were they fairytale material? Regardless of how Valentine’s Day used to be, it’s important to focus on the present. This is your time to change the way you feel about Valentine’s Day. While there’s an overwhelming pressure to celebrate your love for a significant other or even finding your soulmate, people often overlook the general celebration of love. Valentine’s Day should be a day where you celebrate the love you have for family members, your children, friends, and even yourself. You are in control about how you choose to view Valentine’s Day, make the best of it.
Celebrate Love & Treat Yourself
Don’t wait and wish for someone to buy you flowers or other tokens of love and appreciation. This is a day to treat yourself and celebrate self-love. Buy yourself your favorite chocolates, a bouquet of flowers, or the latest tech gadget you’ve had your eye on. Don’t feel guilty or feel undeserving, everyone deserves a little something and you are no different.
Have Kids? Have a Special Date with Them
If you are feeling emotionally raw this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget about how your children might be feeling. Kids will often hide their emotions, particularly if they sense that their parents are bummed out. Consider putting aside your own feelings and focus on making the day extra special with your children. Whether you make homemade Valentines for family and friends or go out to eat and see a movie, forget about all the negative feelings you have about your divorce and focus on the love you have for your children.
Spend the Day with Friends
You may be tempted to spend the day at home, alone, but unless you plan on doing something productive you’re likely to feel lonely and upset. Rather than having a pity party for one, call up your friends and go out to dinner or host a gathering at your house. Remember, you don’t need to be in a relationship to appreciate and love others. Tell your friends how much you appreciate them and show your gratitude for the support they have given you during a difficult transition.
Pay it Forward
Even if it feels like you are the loneliest person on the planet, you aren’t. Sometimes one of the best ways to get out of a “I hate this day” funk is to perform random acts of kindness. Buy a big bouquet of flowers and hand a flower out to each person you pass on the street. Buy bags of chocolates or other treats and give them to a nursing home facility or a food shelter. Your small token may brighten someone else’s Valentine’s Day.
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Valentine’s Day can be an especially painful holiday for newly divorced people. Everywhere you go, ads and social media and society are singing love’s praises and encouraging you spend a special evening with your significant other.
That all sounds great, but there’s just one problem: you just lost your significant other. The one person in your life to whom you were expected to share these special moments is gone. Granted, divorce is a choice, and you’re likely happy to be free from your strained relationship. Still, it’s tough for a divorcee to spend Valentine’s Day alone. These tips are here to help the newly divorced on the supposedly most romantic night of the year.
Friendly Valentine’s Day
Plenty of people hate Valentine’s Day, and for a huge array of reasons. Some hate it because it’s tack and commerical, others resent society telling them when to celebrate something as personal as love, and still others simply enjoy being contrarian.
In any case, the point is that you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting together with other people who reject the Valentine’s Day spirit. Have a big dinner party and watch horror movies. Talk about all the bad relationships you’ve been through. Have a laugh and enjoy yourself.
Go On a Date With Yourself
If you don’t feel like laughing in the face of your loneliness, you could always just embrace the pain. Some people find it helpful to give themselves a long evening of introversion and self-indulgence. Think about all the romantic trouble you’ve been through. This experience may be extremely painful, but you may come out of it with a new perspective on love and human relationships.
In a strange way, the intensely personal misery journey is a lot like a date. You can grab a bottle of red wine, watch old movies that make you nostalgic, and reminisce about old times. Note that spending a night alone with wine and memories is NOT recommended for everyone—only do this if you think it will help you understand and move past your grief.
Ignore the Valentine’s Festivities
If watching other couples celebrate their relationships is painful to you, try to ignore it. Stay in that night. February 14th is just another day, and you can spend it the way you would any other day. Do your normal things don’t let Valentine’s Day get to you.
Find New Love
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! For some people, joining a holiday is the only way to go. If you’ve recently gotten divorced, the world of new romance has recently opened up to you after years of deprivation. Take advantage of it. You don’t need to get too serious if you don’t want to. It’s your time to shine and have fun.
So fall in love again. Have a good time. There are plenty of people in situations like yours, and it won’t too hard to meet them. Don’t give up on love. Start again and make your romantic way through the world. Romance is yours again!
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Divorce has been predisposed as an ugly word to many people with negative connotation. Divorce can suggest a million things to people, including: failure, bitterness, disillusionment, poor planning, and long term unhappiness. But does divorce have a positive side? The answer may surprise you. Take into consideration some of the benefits of what divorce entails:
Divorce From Someone Who Made You Unhappy.
Divorce isn’t sad. An unhappy marriage that persists and continues to ruin the lives of the couple involved is sad. When you get divorced, you separate yourself from a toxic person (or at least a toxic relationship). Be thrilled that you can now set your own rules, define your own personal limits, and run your own finances without interference.
You Get to Do Whatever You Want After Divorce
Newly single people often speak of being nearly overwhelmed by a feeling a freedom. This elation may inspire you to seek bold new goals. When you were married, you need to set your watch by your spouse. You needed to watch the movies they liked, participate in the hobbies they liked, and decorate your home in the way they liked. Now that you’re on your own, you can set your own parameters.
Divorce Allow You to Connect With Your Friends.
After a divorce, you can strike up old friendships that previously had been dying from neglect. Friendship is a crucial component of mental health. And since you’re no longer being held down by your spouse, you can build those components. Being with friends is another counterintuitive benefit of the extremely high divorce rates of many countries—sure, you’re divorced, but so is everyone else! When you split up, you won’t be all that alone. Loads of newly single people will be right there with you!
You Can Make Dramatic Life Decisions.
When you’re married, you have a responsibility to your spouse. They married you, not your dreams. Now that your only responsibility is you, your can can reach up to your fantasy version of yourself. You can make big decisions without worrying about whether your spouse will agree or will suffer through the growing pains. As a single person, you can work on your dreams without being concerned about putting hardships onto anyone else. Make a career change, Go back to school. Take up a strange hobby that would have embarrassed your spouse. Move across the country, or even to a new country. Those exciting new places will offer you adventure, excitement, meaning, and even the strong possibility of future romance.
Your Ex Will Be Doing the Same.
Don’t worry about your former spouse. Not all divorces end in bad spirits; this leads to many newly divorced people feeling guilty about their newfound joys. Don’t feel guilty about your exciting new phases of life. Most likely, your ex is going through the same good experiences. You should both be happy for one another. You should absolutely not feel bad about enjoying the world. The two of you have agreed that life will be better for both of you if you split up. By enjoying yourself and growing your self in positive ways, you’ll be proving that both of you were right.
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Divorce is often thought of a problem for older folks, as the dramatic conclusion of a midlife crisis or a lifetime or mutual bad blood. But young people get divorced, too. While the rates of marriage among young people have dropped significantly since millennials entered their twenties, the divorce rates within the portion that does marry remains high.
Millennials get divorced, too. But much of the divorce coping advice you’ll find online is geared toward an older generation. Here are a few things that newly divorced young people should do and keep in mind when they find themselves in this scary, lonely situation.
Reconnect With Friends After Divorce
One advantage young people who get divorced have over their elders in similar situations is that their networks of friends are still going strong. Older people who get divorced tend to have difficulty finding ways to reconnect and socialize, since most of their friends are either still married, have moved far away, or both.
If you’re in your twenties, your friends are probably still out having a good time. It shouldn’t be too tough to catch up on lost time. Being single when you’re young isn’t really so bad; there’s a reason most your peers are waiting for their thirties to get married.
Reconnect With Old Flames Post Divorce
Here’s another great thing about an early split. Your old woulda/coulda/shouldas are probably still available! And they might just be guiltily excited that you’re back in the game. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get more opportunities to connect than you ever did in high school—those near-misses might realize they missed a big shot initially and have been granted a second chance.
Focus on Your Hobbies
You’ve still got time to cultivate your old passions. Or work on some new ones. You’re still young enough to pick up skateboarding, the piano, or whatever you want. You could even sit around playing video games for hours at a time. Think about all the time you spent fighting and working with your ex and imagine how much you could have accomplished if you’d put all that energy toward something productive. Well, now you can do just that. Pick a hobby, stick to it, and build something for yourself for a change.
Focus on Your Career
As a young person, you’ve also got tons of time left to earn a degree or work on a promotion. You’ve probably been spending the last few years fighting and wasting all kinds of energy on a doomed relationship. You’ve still got that time and talent. Put your newfound energy into something that lasts.
When you get divorced, you’re not distracted. You can put all of yourself into your professional life. And now that you’ve made it through such a rough experience, you’ll have a new maturity with which to approach your goals. If you’re a career-minded millennial, you’ve got a golden opportunity to advance your job life. You could Get that Master’s Degree, work on some certifications, or simply switch jobs.
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Divorce can be an emotionally draining experience. Even if the decision to end the marriage was mutual, it can result in a roller coaster of bittersweet emotions. With divorce comes independence, but also loneliness, particularly around the holidays. If you’re experiencing the holidays for the first time since your divorce, or while going through the divorce process, it may seem like too much to handle. However, the holidays are a great way to reconnect with family, friends, and reflect on a new stage in your life.
Don’t Spend the Holidays Alone
Even if the thought of getting dressed up and heading to traditional family dinner or a gathering with friends makes you feel anxious, strongly consider attending no matter how you feel. Maybe you feel embarrassed or ashamed of your new relationship status. Perhaps you’re afraid that you will be the topic of conversation. Chances are that if you express your desire not to talk about the divorce, your family and friends will understand. Support is essential during any difficult time in your life. You haven’t turned your back on others and it’s likely they won’t let you down.
Allow Yourself to Have Emotions
If you find yourself feeling depressed while decorating the tree or bursting into tears while listening to holiday music on the radio, allow yourself to feel sadness, but don’t forget to move forward. Tears are a natural part of the grieving process, but don’t forget to focus on the good changes in your life. Additionally, if you feel good or even somewhat “void of emotion”, don’t worry or feel guilty as these emotions are natural as well. However you feel, allow yourself to express emotion; it’s the healthiest way to work through a difficult life transition.
Start Your Own Tradition
Traditions are one of the best things about the holidays and your first holidays after divorce can make you long for the old traditions with your in-laws. This is the time to make your own new traditions. Was your ex afraid to try new things or celebrate in fun and unique ways? Take the time to celebrate in your own way, on your own time.
If you have children, it’s important to make the holidays special, just as you did when you and your spouse were married. Creating new traditions with your kids may help them adjust to the holidays after the divorce and it may also help you feel better.
Don’t Lose Sight of What Matters
The holidays can be a financial strain for everyone, but maybe even more so after a divorce. Rather than stressing about the material gifts and potentially putting yourself in debt, focus on what matters to you this holiday season. If you have children, don’t overspend on holiday gifts. You may feel obligated to be the fun or generous parent, but it may make your divorce even more complicated. Remember, your presence during the holidays is more important than anything else. Focusing on what matters in your life will help you get through your first holidays after your divorce.
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Divorce is an extremely emotionally complex situation. You may been through a trial, custody proceedings, fights, and many other tribulations. You need to gather strength everywhere you can to keep from being overwhelmed and broken by the pain. Here are 5 things to do after your divorce to keep on top of your life.
Focus on the Positive
As comedian Louis CK said “Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce.” His joke is effective because it contains an important truth: you got divorced for a reason. Be thankful that you no longer have to put up with whatever it was that was keeping the two of you so unhappy. Your life is yours alone now. Did you hate the music he listened to? The music is gone now. Did you practically have a stroke at the sound of her sister’s voice? Her sister’s voice is gone now. There are lots of good things about being single. Take advantage of them.
Cultivate Close Friendships
You’ve probably already done some of this. Don’t let it end. Your friends have been there for you through this whole thing. Let them know you appreciate it. Stay close. Go out to fun events. Relive your youth (although make sure you don’t get sucked into a reckless midlife crisis). Isolation is dangerous for anyone, especially for someone like you, who has recently gone from constant companionship to your current state.
Keep Your Family Around
Like your friends, your family have likely been on your side through all of this. Divorce means losing a family member. Keep the others close. In most cases, your family knew you before you met your ex, and now they’ll know after you’re through. Strong familial connections can keep you from becoming overwhelmed by loneliness and stress.
If Possible, Maintain Friendly Ties With Your Ex
This is, of course, not always realistic advice. Again, the two of you split for a reason. But if your ex is a decent, tolerable person, you would do well to maintain a cordial relationship. This applies doubly if you’ve got kids together. The kids will be happy to see the two of you at peace, and this could serve as an opportunity to teach them important life lessons about conflict resolution. Even if you don’t have kids, a friendly relationship will keep the memories you built together from being too painful.
Make Another Change
If your new life is too similar to your old one, it might remind you too often of the old days. Maybe now’s a great opportunity to make that move you always wanted to, or to change careers, go back to school. You probably based many life decisions around your previous relationship; take a fresh look and see what’s available to you now.
Don’t Give Up!
You’ll feel pain. Depression may rear its ugly head from time to time. You’ll falter. When it happens, don’t give up. You’re not a failure just because things didn’t work out. You’ve made a bold decision, and you’ve stuck to it. Keep moving forward.
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Divorce involves an overwhelming variety of emotions. On hand, you and your partner will feel regret, devastation, failure, exhaustion, and even shame at the thought of ending your formerly lifelong project. On the other hand, you’ll feel relief, joy, and excitement at the thought of putting an end to your troubles.
In such tumultuous times, things can go bad quickly. You, your partner, your friends and families, and your legal team will have countless views on countless things. The big picture can get jumbled. You may forget what you even want. Keep these things in mind to ease tension and make things smoother for everyone.
Plan Ahead and Write Things Down
Don’t wait to craft your stories, arguments, and thoughts until you’re stuck in a tense situation. When you’re stressed, you don’t think straight. This process will affect you for a long time, even the rest of your life. Don’t wing it. Take time to articulate your feelings. Write them down and come up with a plan. Look over your thoughts. Think about them. Edit ideas, and make sure you say what you truly mean during your proceedings. This will make things easier for everyone. Especially for you.
Keep Unnecessary People Out
This is your life, and your divorce. Don’t let a friend with an axe to grind or a stubborn affection for your ex influence your decisions. The same goes for family. Yes, you need support, but don’t let other people push you into a direction you’re uncomfortable with. You might feel your ex is an honest, decent person with whom you simply can’t live; if so, stand your ground and offer her a kind, respectful deal. On the other hand, don’t let a mutual friend talk you into going easy on an abusive former partner.
If Possible, Work With Your Ex
The two of you have most likely known each other well for a long time. Splitting up doesn’t necessarily mean you now need to become lifelong mutual nemeses. If you get your deal right the first time, it could save you a lifetime of fighting. You split up for a reason. Don’t prolong things. If your divorce proceedings leave one or both of you bitter, you’ll only be stretching things out. Even if you have no interest in getting along with your ex, making common cause will help you in the long run— imagine fighting with this person for twenty more years! Get along, find common ground, and bury your issues.
Take Time to Assemble Your Team
Again, your divorce proceedings will likely leave lasting marks on your life. Get a good mediator. Shop around. Discuss options with and friends or family members who’ve been through this process. Yes, you’re exhausted, but you need to careful and thoughtful; long-term effects of a bad divorce can be brutal, especially if you’ve got kids. Divorce is a delicate process, and you need to handle it with patience and respect. You don’t want any old lawyer to step in and mess all these lives. Search out patient, compassionate, ethical law practitioners.
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Divorce can be harsh. It signifies a different phase in your life, and that change is not always easy. At a time when emotions are fraught and there is quite a lot of anger and bitterness, people often make mistakes that could cost them significantly down the line. These mistakes can range from the places you go to for advice, to the way the kids are handled during the process. It is not easy to be ‘smart’ about something so emotional and personal, but if you know what to look out for it might save you from more unnecessary strife.
Getting The Right Legal Advice
One mistake many people make is listening to everyone that has an opinion, and receiving advice about how to best handle their divorce. Once divorce is on the cards, you should get legal advice. There are many people who will only be too ready to give you advice on how to proceed with your divorce. They mean well, but what you really need at that point is a good lawyer. Getting expert advice about everything from alimony to custody is the smart thing to do, and could save you some stress down the road. There is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion, but make sure you go to the right quarters for that as well.
Your Kids Are Switzerland
A lot of people drag their children right in the middle their messy divorces, forcing them to pick sides with one parent. Such kids are usually torn apart, not knowing which parent to support. Don’t do that to your children. You might be getting divorced, but your kids are not. One mistake that is easy to make is badmouthing your ex-partner in front of your kids, or making negative comments about your ex-spouse. Making your children choose sides is cruel and hurtful to them. Always remember that in the battle between you and your ex, your kids are Switzerland – neutral territory. This makes the adjustment period smoother for them, so that the divorce is not a totally devastating experience for them.
Plan For Your Future
It is hard to think about planning for your future when you are beginning the process of a divorce. That is probably the last thing you feel like doing and yet, it is one of the most important things you can do. Financial planning is often the toughest part, particularly when you are stuck with the daily financial demands of a costly divorce. Regardless, don’t ignore this aspect or leave it to fix itself. Know what your assets are, whether to keep the house or sell it, and plan for how you are going to live your life after the divorce. Putting things down can help you gain clarity and aid the planning process.
Whatever you do, avoid letting your emotions rule. This is not easy to do as divorce can be a very emotional experience, but it is critical to keep your emotions from spilling over. It is in your best interest to ensure that you do not make crucial decisions from an emotional place. Practicing emotionally intelligence will help things move along smoothly and calmly.
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Whether you were married for two years or twenty years, dating after divorce can be a challenge. Though being a single parent can be awesome, you just want to get back out on the scene and meet a significant other. Dating may have changed since you were last single, and you may be uncertain of the rules. When you find yourself single once again, the prospect of dating can be both stressful and exciting.
Before you start dating, make sure you are ready. Divorce can be traumatic, and it is important to give yourself a chance to heal. Make sure that you feel “whole,” and know who you are and what you want before you venture into dating again.
On the other hand, it is not a good idea to wait too long to start dating, according to an article on Babble. If you allow too much time to pass before getting back into the game, you run the risk of getting cold feet or becoming too comfortable alone. You may become set in your ways and resentful about sharing a bathroom or closet space, and may prefer to sleep alone. After too much time on your own, it can be difficult to make room for another person in your life.
With internet dating sites and other social interactions, it may not be difficult to find someone to go out with after a divorce is over. Depending on how long you were married, you may find that the dating scene has changed, and you may not be quite sure how to go about it, what to wear or how to act.
With internet dating sites, you may meet a number of people who fall short of your expectations before you connect with any interesting prospects. The picture posted on the site may be too flattering or may have been taken years ago. Your date could turn out be ill-mannered, self-absorbed, annoying, offensive, or simply weird.
When you meet someone you like, there are still issues to deal with in dating after divorce. How do you fit dating into your schedule, around your job, children, hobbies, and responsibilities? How long should you wait before introducing your date to your kids? Who picks up the check, now that social rules have changed on this point? How soon should you move from casual dating into a more committed relationship?
Confusing and frustrating as it may be at times, dating after divorce can be well worth the effort. These basic tips can help divorced men and women make dating a better experience:
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- Leave your ex out of it. Get closure with your ex, move on, and converse with your date about more positive subjects.
- Create a new and improved you. Eat well, exercise, and upgrade your physique and appearance. If you feel attractive, that is what you will project to your date.
- Don’t rush into it. Take dating slowly, and don’t dive head-first into new relationships. Take the time to thoroughly get to know the person before committing.