It is so hard when we are separated and divorcing a spouse. Keeping our heads and hearts centered is a monumental job that at times feels overwhelming. Dealing with all the emotional, mental, physical and financial stress at one time and hoping that we are making all the right decisions for ourselves, our kids and even our STBX (soon-to-be-ex) spouse can feel impossible. Just the emotional side alone is hard to command let alone everything else.
But dear friends, you must continue to try.
We all make mistakes along the way, but when we continue to strive to stay centered, to do the right thing for everyone involved, to not get caught up in the minutia of paybacks and digs and all the ugliness that can evolve during this stressful time, we will be better for it. Our kids, our spouse and we ourselves will benefit if we can be the one, like in Rudyard Kiplings’s poem IF:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
I know it’s hard. Believe me, I do. But I also know that there’s a way to keep life simple and peaceful by staying centered. Don’t indulge in the garbage. Keep on the path which is simple. It’s staying on the path which is hard. But this is what helped me:
My goal was to stay me, not a bitter version of me who felt awful about her loss, her grief and her circumstances and heck, the whole divorce in general. I wanted to keep my eyes and mind on my goals which were to untie the bond of marriage in the simplest, kindest way possible for all involved so that we could move on and begin to heal. I allowed my hurt, distrust and immense grief to be my own and I tried very hard not to affect the kids with it. Of course, they saw me cry occasionally, I’m only human, but I made sure to not speak badly of their dad, to not throw him under the bus and to not wail in grief (you know that sob from the center of your soul) when they were nearby. Frankly, I didn’t want to scare them because their mother’s heart was so deeply grieving and there were times when I had to let it all out. But I saved those times for when they weren’t home or I was driving in the car by myself and could pull over for a much needed respite of sobbing.
My goal was to not turn my heart against love, even though my spouse had left. I have had frank conversations with my kids about this because they asked. I told them that I inherently believe in love, that I grieved the loss of our marriage, but that I wish for both of us to find happiness and love again in our lives because both their dad and I deserve it.
With the divorce agreement continuing to be negotiated, I am trying to be fair. Of course, neither of us will be thrilled with the outcome because division of assets is a give and take and in this type of situation, nobody wants to give more than they have to at any given time. That’s human nature. But when you take the emotionalism out of the equation and look at your divorce papers as a business deal, you can clearly see what you will and will not accept. I have found that I could bend on certain things that didn’t make much of a difference to me and in turn, they allowed him to bend a bit too which helped the negotiations go smoother. Then again, there were stumbling blocks at times when we didn’t stay centered through negotiations. It’s hard to mediate when you can feel your spouse’s emotions and you want to defend yourself or tell him off and surely he’s feeling the same way. It was in those times that I lost my center and I knew it. I felt off-kilter and I watched how it made the situation so much more complex and difficult all around.
Please understand that staying centered doesn’t mean letting someone walk all over you. It’s not that. It’s simply being peaceful and accepting in your heart and mind that this is what is happening. Knowing that I need to go with the flow, and yet be firm in my decisions. When I couldn’t make a decision, I asked for advice from friends, family and my lawyer. When I was angry by his actions/inactions/words, I took myself out of the equation, vented and then came back to clearly state how I felt (but ONLY IF I thought it would make a difference in our situation or when it wasn’t treatment that I deserved). Otherwise, silence was golden for me.
It’s a voluntary choice to remain centered during a divorce. It’s a choice you have to make at every stage and yes, it’s hard. But honestly, it’s well-worth the effort for all involved.
Does this make sense? Do you have any advice on the subject?