What does it feel like to get divorced?
1. Accept what is. Not what you want, but what is.
2. The details of a divorce are simply business. Deal with the emotional part of it with a therapist, pastor or priest, or good friends who can listen without judgment or advice.
3. AVOID LITIGATION. This is the most emotionally harmful and the least satisfactory outcome you can have. You do not WIN a divorce, you just get one. Litigation is a complete and total waste of your money. Even though as a divorce attorney, I make the most money from litigation, I believe it is very destructive, particularly if there are children.
4. A good attorney will urge you to work something out and avoid court. The key is to identify the issues that keep you from an agreement, and address those issues with a willingness to compromise. When it comes to children, recognize that your children have a right to their mother or father, warts and all, even though you may think they are not as good a parent as you are. Unless the children are being physically harmed or put into a clearly dangerous situation, recognize that they need both parents. The damage that you do to your children by fighting over them is much more destructive than your ex feeding them fast food, forgetting their homework, etc., etc., etc….
5. Take the high road and don’t let your ex spouse engage you in the “Button” game. You know, they press your buttons, you react, and on and on and on…. The most powerful weapon you have against your spouses button pushing is to refuse to engage. Ignore it, refuse to have the conversation, hang up the phone, don’t respond to the text or email, and so on. It’s like the lab rat that gets a reward after pressing the bar, the more they are rewarded, the more they press the bar. Your reaction is the reward. If the rat doesn’t get rewarded after pressing the bar, the behavior is rapidly extinguished. If you don’t reward your ex spouse with a reaction, the game is no longer rewarding or fun. It may be tough to do at first, but the more you refused to react, the easier it becomes.
6. Lastly, let go of the attachment to an outcome. Accept what is. Not what you want, but what is. Time has a way of healing.