During consultations, most men will ask me if it’s possible to come up with a “game plan” for their upcoming divorce. I have always found that during stressful times, having a plan of action with goals, tends to give individuals more peace and less stress. In fact, with the right planning, not only will it help clients anticipate good things to come, but it could also help quell anxiety by dealing with the cognitive clutter divorce tends to cause.
I thought it would be beneficial to ask a few of my former clients if there was anything they would have done differently to make their divorce less expensive, peaceful, and easier for their children. All individuals have given me their permission to publish their answers, however, since my coaching is confidential, I am only using their initials to protect their identity.
- Choose a process. “Many people think litigation is the only option in a divorce. This should be your last option if possible. You and your spouse have the options such as mediation, collaborative law, and attorney negotiations outside of a courtroom. Choose a process, don’t let the process choose you.” -R.L.
- Mediation first. “Mediation supports a solutions-focused and non-adversarial process. When I explained to my ex just how much money we would both save, she was onboard immediately.” -S.N.
- Don’t stay in limbo. “Once you have decided to get divorced, I encourage people to begin the process immediately. Staying in limbo will cause more stress and anxiety on you and your kids.”-S.B.
- Get support early on. “Divorce is a very emotionally challenging period for you and your spouse’s lives. There will be sadness and pain on both sides. I can honestly say, just having a new routine was causing me to struggle. Seek a professional such as a divorce coach or a therapist to help you process the emotions involved and help you function at your best. Having an unbiased, unconditional support system is priceless!”-T.R.
- Try your best to compromise. “In divorce, no one wins. The best you can do is to try your best to compromise whenever possible so that you both come out of the divorce process ready to heal and move on.” -H.F.
- Plan how you will tell your children. “Make sure the news of your divorce is not something you say while screaming at your ex for your children to hear. This is when you must buckle up and have a peaceful conversation as a family. Show a united front to your kids, remember, they will be affected more than anyone since they have less control than you do. Be honest and most importantly, make sure they know this does not change your love for them.”-M.W.
- Share with family and friends early on. “I felt I had to put on a “brave face,” in front of my family and friends. I also spent so much time focusing on the divorce, I didn’t reach out to the people I needed. By pushing people away, it resulted in my difficulty making new friendships as a single man.”-J.O.
- Choose not to let your children see you at your worst! “When it comes to your behavior towards your spouse, make the decision to be cordial and show respect by not resorting to name calling, yelling, and accusations, especially in front of the kids. Remember, your children will be affected by your divorce, choose the best path possible with the least amount of damage to everyone involved. And no matter what, do not drag the children through any unnecessary drama. I promise they will appreciate it years after your divorce is over.”-M.R.
- Keep the focus on the kids. “If you both stay focused on the kids, everything will work out better if their well-being is the priority. Once you lose sight of that, it becomes messy, and people begin being selfish. Money is always an issue, but it comes and goes. Your kids, and how they feel will always be there. That is the big picture everyone needs to focus on!”-L. J.
- Grow up! “You’re not a teenager going through a bad breakup. Focus on your kids, and the bigger picture. Also, don’t drag it out, just because you can. The sooner your divorce is over, the faster you will come to terms with this and move on.” -K.N.
- Pick your battles! “While preparing for your divorce, financially and emotionally, figure out what matters most to you, then pick and choose your battles. If it’s already become an emotionally charged situation, try to remain as respectful, collected, and cooperative as possible. This is where you learn just how much self-discipline you have.”-A.F.
- Do some soul searching. “Having the mindset that this chapter will pass and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is very helpful when you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. Make time for yourself, practice self-care, and do some soul searching on what you want and don’t want to go forward in your next chapter.”-P.K.
So, there you have it! The best tips from former clients on what to do or not do during your divorce. I say, learn from their mistakes and take the good advice.
Hayley Lisa, The Divorce Coach for Men