An estimated 39% of marriages end in divorce. Some end amicably. Most end bitterly. Either way, everyone walks away a different person – with or without a mountain of stress and trauma.
Divorce will always be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be all-consuming. There are healthier ways to end a relationship.
Here are the main elements that make up a healthy divorce.
1. Cooperation and Mediation
Many divorcing couples experience a whirlwind of emotions, including anger, grief, sadness, fear and anxiety. These feelings are normal. They may be intense at first, but eventually, they will subside.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re feeling angry or worried about the future. Be kind to yourself. Your marriage was a big part of your life. It’s natural and normal to grieve the loss of that relationship. Research has shown that people who are compassionate to themselves are better able to handle the difficulties of divorce.
And divorce is difficult, even for the most cooperative of couples. However, choosing mediation over traditional divorce (courtroom proceedings, lengthy negotiations, etc.) can make the process less stressful, particularly for children.
Cooperating and communicating with your soon-to-be-ex, no matter how difficult, can lead to a healthier divorce. With the help of a Conscious Uncoupling coach, you and your former partner can talk things through with the goal of coming to an agreement on issues and decisions as well as to start creating and living your “Happily Even After”
2. Having a Plan for the Kids
Divorce can be particularly hard on children. They’re often caught in the middle of their parents’ strife, fear of losing a parent, fear of an unknown future, and having to upend their lives can be traumatic.
While difficult, research shows that children can and do adjust after divorce. Splitting up is often the healthier option for children. Remaining in a conflictive marriage can be more problematic for children.
Still, for a divorce to be healthy, parents should have a plan for the kids.
- That plan should start with making sure that you keep conflict away from the children. Ongoing conflict can cause psychological and social issues in children.
- If the children will be moving into a new home, try to give them at least a few weeks’ notice. Sudden change can be traumatic for children, particularly if they have to change schools and make new friends.
- Make sure they know they are and always will be loved by both of you, that you both will always be there to keep them safe and help them, and that none of what’s happening is their fault.
- Make sure that you keep the lines of communication open. Encourage your kids to talk to you about what they’re feeling and to ask questions.
While you may have a list of reasons you dislike your spouse, it’s important to remember that he or she is still the parent of your children. Kids are much better off when they maintain close relationships with both of their parents, so try to keep things as normal as possible in this regard.
3. Taking Time to Care for Yourself
Divorce changes you. There’s no way around that. But change can be a good thing.
Use this time to take care of yourself and get to know yourself. Try new activities. Take up new hobbies. Stay active and eat healthy.
If you’re struggling, lean on friends and family for support and comfort. Support groups can help you connect with other people who share similar experiences.
How a Conscious Uncoupling Coach Can Help
Divorce is difficult for everyone involved. A Conscious Uncoupling Coach can help you work through your emotions, create a road map to end your marriage with grace and minimal damage, and how capture the learning from what went wrong so it doesn’t happen again.