Divorce is stressful. Not only are you dissolving your marriage, but you’re also probably spending a lot of money to do it. On top of that, you may be relocating, you’re kids may be having a tough time adjusting, and your soon-to-be-ex may not be as cooperative as you had hoped. With lots of balls in the air, it’s understandable if you’re feeling confused, unsettled, and isolated. During such a difficult time, it can be helpful to call in additional support. But where to find it?
We all know the obvious places—friends, family, a divorce coach, a mental health professional, even your divorce lawyer (although that can get pricey if you’re not careful). But the reality is not everyone understands, despite claiming to be a “divorce” professional, or has your best interests at heart. Even when they do, you may find yourself on borrowed time because unless someone has been through a similar situation themselves or can empathize (no amount of training can make this happen for someone who isn’t capable), they can become frustrated and impatient with you over time. Phrases such as “move on,” “get over it,” or “I don’t want to talk about (insert topic of choice) again” frequently indicate your time’s up. The effect can be devastating, especially if you’re still struggling.
The good news is divorce support can also come from the most unlikely places and people. After my separation, and today still, I find the following sources useful. With one caveat: divorce support is not one size fits all. Creating a foundation on which to plant yourself and grow, or reinvent, is an individual experience and can only come from trial and error. Trust your gut. If your effort or choice doesn’t feel right, keep moving until it does. As much as divorce is a process, so, too, is recovery. Regardless of which stage you are at in your divorce, whether you are just beginning to think about it or are decades past yours, there are places to turn when in need. Here are a few to consider.
There’s pretty much a support group for anything these days, and with the staggering number of people in this country who are divorced, divorce support and single parenting groups abound. If you’re not able to find one in your neck of the woods to attend in person, Facebook is a great place to find one online. The best part about online groups is that support is available 24/7. With members coming together from around the world, you can usually expect a response to a query or comment within seconds. Because these groups are moderated and filled with those going through a similar experience, they are generally safe spaces to find comfort.
Because these groups are moderated and filled with those going through a similar experience, they are generally safe spaces to find comfort.
In addition to social media groups, there exist online communities where divorce professionals and members come together to engage in conversations about divorce as well as provide valuable information to members. One such forum is Hello Divorce. Although the site’s tagline is “We know California Divorce,” Hello Divorce offers enough generalized and legal friendly content about divorce to make a visit worth your while. Others forums, such as DivorceForce, are not location-specific but provide state-specific listings of divorce professionals in your area.
From self-help to personal memoirs books, articles, and blogs, including Worthy’s Living, there’s a world of reading out there to make the divorce experience not feel so lonely or confusing. Whether you find yourself on a journey of self-discovery with Cheryl Strayed in “Wild” or are learning about narcissism at PsychCentral, the Internet, Amazon, and the library have got you covered. For me, the words of others are my daily medicine, fuel, and route to either escaping or making sense of my life.
You can find divorce support informally, too, not only in groups with the word divorce in their titles. Parents Without Partners, for example, is a non-profit organization with chapters around the U.S. and Canada made up of single parents who are male or female, custodial or non-custodial, separated, divorced, widowed, or never married. Love and loss is a universal experience, as is overcoming grief, and it’s our humanity that remains, above all else, the tie that binds. Relating to others who are also finding their way can bring perspective and insight where you may not have recognized it before. The point is to branch out, meet new people, and change the patterns that no longer work for you.
Everyone has a different relationship to God or the universe. As with any interpersonal relationship, its depth can change according to time and circumstance, divorce being one of them. If you find your current method or level of observance no longer serves you, tweak it until it does. Others may judge you for it, but pay them no mind. In the wise words of the Dalai Lama, “[p]eople take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” Or have you.
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