Dealing with Divorce - 10 Thoughts and Musings.
Ok divorce sucks. Lets just be clear, no-one wants to get a divorce. It's a miserable anti-climax to an otherwise beautiful story between man and woman, woman and woman, man and man.... And well anything else that is happening at the moment.
I'm writing this not because I am some kind of awesome person but because I am an idiot. Well I was an idiot I suppose is a fairer way of putting it. Or you can say that I behaved in an idiotic way for a while. Aw shucks.... Maybe I just had a journey to go through and was made of flesh, blood and other things men are made of during the mid life crisis period.... (10% self loathing, 50% confused, 20% fearful, 15% hopeful, 5% intoxicated)
But this blog is not about me. (kind of) This blog is about the big D. Not death... At least in death people turn up and say nice things about you. (I Hope!!! :/) I'm talking Divorce. It happens... Happens to 50% of couples these days. Well that's what some stats say. Who knows it might be out a bit but lets face it - its more common than not...
In reflection after going through the years of pain, agony, boozing, smoking and the heartbreak and coming out the other side, I figured it was time to put down a number of true thoughts and reflections.
1. Don't Flame and Don't Blame.
Yes there are wild emotions during this period. My god it is civil war. (with someone but mostly in yourself) It is carnage. It is the apocalypse. One person has initiated divorce. Or both. You lose control either way. Even if you are off on another tangent the emotions run wild wild wild. But the key thing is not to flame or blame. This is the person you were in love with. This is the person you chose to marry. This is the person that you shared dreams, hopes, adventures and the miracle of love. Who is at fault really? Even if someone has been the main culprit, there is no joy or maturity in blaming or bagging the other person out to everyone who will listen. Rather it is a time to go very very quiet and considerate. Because.... Wait for it... You may get back together! Or not. But either way YOU need to get put back together and it makes it worse when you fire bullets at the other person... Even when they are shooting missiles at you. Rise above it.
2. Understand what Divorce Really Is.
Its not nice. Its horrible. Its heartbreak. Its wretched. But what is it really? It is a breakup. Everyone breakups. Whether it is a teenager with a 1 day relationship at school or a 50 year marriage it is a breakup. Yes there are more working pieces BUT at the end it is the loss of love. A miserable shocking thing but a breakup. Like a business partnership or an employment contract; it can end and a new one can begin. There will be always a time to mourn and grieve and deal with the emotions but it is not the end!
3. Children Come First.
This is simple. Do not fight. Do not turn kids against a parent. Be safe. Be Careful. But put kids first. They did not choose to be born. They did not choose to be with divorced parents. They need their Mummy and Daddy. And they need peace and stability so they can grow and deal with their own shit. Which by the way in their own little universe can be like the end of the world. So they have to be Numero Uno.
4. Heal Thyself
Yes all sorts of things have gone wrong and you feel like its the end of the world. Your old comfortable routines are gone. Half of you has been torn out painful and wickedly. And people are against or for you. And you have legal and property issues to deal with. Not to mention sleep deprivation, bouts of depression and fits of anxiety. You also, underneath it all, even if she was a "bitch" or he was a "prick", you still care about the other person. You want to heal them and get things sorted (sometimes). But the point is, forget it all and focus on yourself. Not comforting, I know, but its the fact. What is that you contributed to the downfall? What can you do better? What are your issues? Is it time for counselling? Is it time for exercise? Travel? Study? What is it you need to do to get RIGHT and heal truly... Be complete. Find your values. Find your compass. Find your bliss.
5. Recognise the Reality of Assets
Stuff. That's what it is. You have worked hard for it and built it up. It may be the McMansion in the suburbs, the vintage car, that guitar you slaved for , the business built up, the holiday house, the trust fund etc etc. Its all just stuff. You may not feel like it or realise it but it wont mean an iota on your deathbed. So yes do the right thing and be fair, on both fronts, but don't let it override all emotions and turn you into an A Class Asshole. Oh and by the way its ok to get lawyers involved, its not ok to let them run the show. They are nice people lawyers. I met a few human ones once, (Just kidding legal eagles) but they are acting on your behalf and will often push to get the "best" deal. It may not be the best deal for everyone. Keep em well managed : (Watch Liar Liar)
6. Shut out your Lover and Friends
If you have moved on quickly and got that hot guy or girl or the dreamy love of your life that is ok. If you have a horde of rabid fans or friends that is ok to. Just get them to shut the ____ up. They will always have their 2 cents plus GST and will be on your back to do the "right thing by you" (and them... hint hint). Only you and your partner know what the right thing is; with advice from neutral professional people. PS The blonde at the bar you have hooked up with and cried your heart out to; probably doesn't have all the answers or best advice, especially after 5 Martinis.
7. Respect, Love and Care for the Other Half
Go on. Is it really that hard to look above your own emotion and desires and try to see it from their side? Rightly or wrongly a little love, care and respect goes a long way. Especially if you have mutual friends involved. And especially when there are children and family involved.
8. Mind Yourself. Meditate and Don't Medicate.
Ok this is where I failed big time! I went on one bender after another. It wasn't just the divorce it was a spiritual breakdown combined with exhaustion; but there is no excuse. Partying hard doesn't solve any problems ad is a terrible solution to most problems but particularly divorce. As someone wiser than I once said, "Going overboard on the booze is simply borrowing the happiness of tomorrow". What I have found that is powerful is meditation. A chance to get quiet and listen to your inner voice and get some real honest and pure answers. A quiet approach to complex and challenging scenarios often is the best way. And get counselling. Together, separately; either way its important to debrief and talk through the situation. Navigate through the maze of the mind? Get a guide....
9. Understand Control and Power.
Pretty much it's an easy one. You are not in control and you do not have power. Unless you are referring to yourself. In which case you have control over your actions (Unless you, like me have failed #8 a few times quite spectacularly) and power over your thoughts and emotions. Forget being a control freak and trying to muscle or manipulate through the divorce. It just wont work. And whatever comes out of it is very bad. Just let go and work through things together and in a "values based approach".
10. Enjoy the Blessings
Believe it or not but there are plenty of things to be grateful for. There are probably 10 right now. Children? Health? Wealth? Friends? Freedom? There are many ways to shape your view and if you focus on your blessings then your brain is wired in a positive and energetic way. I use to scoff but I don't leave the house every morning without. It works... :)
Conclusion. Don't run off and get a divorce! Work at it. But if it is the right thing to do. Work through it maturely, carefully. Learn from my mistakes. :) There is no such thing as failed marriage. It is a beginning and an end. Sometimes it ends at the grave, sometimes sooner. Enjoy, endure while it lasts and then move on with respect, care and understanding.
To Eliza; thank you for the 13 years of our relationship, the 11 years of marriage and the days and months following where you really showed your values, character and heart. I'm so happy you are happy and those two little girls we share are a gift from heaven. Salute!