No one ever said divorce was easy. Or if they did, they should be smacked down. Hard. Because it's not. Even though my husband and I are still friends - mostly for the kids, but also because we like each other as people - it's tough.
Whether you're at the beginning of the divorce, when all things must be done! right! now!; during the middle of a divorce, struggling to find your way again; or at the end, when all is said and done, it can be hard to remember which way is up.
Here are my best tips for someone who is going through a divorce.
1) Remember, you didn't cause the divorce. Divorce is NEVER the result of one person, no matter how you may feel. You both got married, you both are divorcing. There's rarely any "bad" guy.
2) You are NOT a failure. Many of us feel like we've failed because we couldn't make it work with our spouse. It's sort of ingrained in us, I suppose, to feel that way when something major doesn't work out. Your marriage didn't work out. Doesn't mean you failed.
3) Try not to be hurt by those who choose sides. Sometimes, even your very best friends can decide your partner was "right" and choose to side with him (or her). There are no sides, only people. And while it will hurt, I always remind myself that it's a nice way to find out who truly loves you.
4) The days when you can't even get off the couch to brush your teeth will happen. But they will also end. You will find your way again.
5) Try your best not to become jaded. This is a hard, hard time, but it doesn't mean that the pain will last forever. It doesn't mean you failed, you're a bad person, or you'll never be happy.
6) This isn't the end of you. I've been working really hard to remind myself that I am a good person who deserves love, just like the next person, and that I will, once again, find it.
7) Do one thing every day that makes you happy. Whether it's making a craft, taking a hot bath, or reading in bed until late at night, do it. And don't feel guilty about it.
8) Reach out to people when you're hurting. Don't isolate yourself. It's really easy to hide in your bed all day, hoping this is all a dream. Instead of allowing that to continue, text someone, tell them you're in pain. Sometimes, even that act alone can help you find a bit of reassurance that people DO love you.
What advice would you give to someone who's trying to survive a divorce?
Image via Foxtongue/Flickr