"What do you think I should do”? my client asked. I was doing a consultation with her to create a strong clear strategy before she filed for divorce. She and her husband had been separated for a year and, based on our prior conversation, she assured me their marriage was completely over and she was ready to move forward to her next chapter.
Now this. He was talking about getting back together and she was suddenly confused. Should she call a halt to her plan and attend counseling with him or just stick to her plan and move the divorce forward?
This started a conversation about divorce and closure and the practical and emotional steps to prevent future regrets or uncertainty.
Over the last decade of consulting with divorcing women there have been common feelings that women express, such as, “I don’t know what I don’t know” and “I feel so all alone”.
The one comment that brings women the most reassurance is, “I feel like I’ve given this marriage my best shot, and now it’s time to move on”.
You can almost see a light bulb turn on and usually a smile appears. They’ve gone through a checklist and feel satisfaction that they won’t be questioning if there was something else they should have done. How does one get to that place of certainity?
Yes, closure comes at different times for women, but we do know these 5 steps have provided clarity for clients and empowered them to successfully progress in their new lives.
1. Be kind to yourself and don’t establish a time frame to cross the “closure finish line”. Some days are better than others and you might catch yourself doing a bit of reflection and feeling like you are regressing. This happens, but those incidents will lessen in frequency and duration.
2. Putting on a happy face won’t hasten your process. It’s healthy to feel sad and grieve, but not advisable to wallow in that space. If you don’t feel you are moving through these emotions and are stuck in victim mode, it might be time to find a support group or some professional guidance.
3. You may want to give forgiveness a try- both for yourself and your former spouse. Okay, maybe not right away, but see if this concept fits on your list. It will be freeing and positive to direct that energy toward forward motion, for yourself and your kids.
4. Take a peek at what you are modeling for your children and how they are coping with the divorce experience. If they see you taking action to create a new life, it will have a transformative impact on them. Regardless of their age, they’ll worry about you and look for your confirmation that this “new normal” is going to be safe and positive.
5. Let your imagination run wild! After-all this is YOUR new chapter. What’s been missing in your life? What are your dreams and short-and long- term goals? Taking action goes a long way toward regaining control. Consider lending a hand to help others, as this is a powerful step toward healing. Try it, and perhaps include your kids.
By the way, my client has agreed to some marriage counseling, just to be sure she’s making the right decision! I‘ll keep you posted!