Is it possible to have a healthy divorce?
The end of a relationship is never easy. Whether it lasted five weeks or fifty years, whether it was romantic or platonic (or even professional, for that matter), and whether you’re the one who ended it or not – saying goodbye is always difficult. And the most challenging of all ends are, perhaps, those that involve a divorce.
But the thing is, marriages break up all the time. The most well-known statistic is that 50% of them end in divorce. And, of those, most resolve without needing to go to the courtroom.
So what is it that you can do to make your split as smooth as possible? Here are the top tips for having a healthy divorce.
How to Have a Healthy Divorce
Does it surprise you to learn that as many as 65% of marriages that end in divorce do so because of communication problems? In truth, this statistic is not that difficult to believe. After all, a good portion of society has trouble fully expressing their emotions – especially if they are negative. But while your relationship may have run its course, it’s not too late to establish healthy communication patterns.
According to Psychology Today, there are eight main types of unhealthy communication styles in relationships:
- Chronic crier
If you recognize any of these in your partner (or yourself), it may not be a bad idea to try some healthier patterns instead, even if only to make your split (or subsequent co-parenting) go more smoothly.
A lot of people believe that hiring legal representation during divorce means getting ready to fight, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, enlisting the services of an experienced divorce attorney may be the key to keeping things amicable between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse.
For one, they will know exactly how to handle the not-so-simple technical details of your divorce. This includes situations such as:
- If your assets need to be divided, they’ll advise you on protecting your interests.
- They’ll handle all the necessary paperwork (and instruct you on what you need to keep around for possible future reference).
- They’ll help talk you through the touchier subjects. This can prevent a fallout or catastrophe you really don’t need in your life.
If there are children involved, a divorce attorney will also consider their interests. They’ll prepare a plan to ensure their care and interests are fully covered as well.
Prepare & Support the Kids
One of the most challenging parts of going through a separation is explaining it to children. It doesn’t matter whether they’re a toddler or teen; it’s safe to say that they will be affected. However, by paying attention to just a few things, you can prevent unnecessary trauma and ensure that both you and your ex are giving them the necessary support.
The first thing you’ll need to do is find the best way to break the news. Sit down with your partner and come up with a plan that you’ll both uphold. Practice open and honest communication with your children. Explain how things are going to work, and be prepared to answer all of their (inevitable) questions.
Most importantly, make sure to protect them from any conflicts between you and your ex, and give them sufficient time to adapt to the changes.
Finally, don’t forget that your children must have frequent and healthy communication with both parents. This is one of the prerequisites for them having an emotionally stable present and future.
Take Good Care of Yourself
What’s the one thing most divorcing couples agree on? It’s a stressful process.
Regardless of whether it’s smooth sailing or choppy seas, you’re bound to feel the negative effects of the change. So, you must take good care of yourself.
For one, do your best to understand that there is a strong relationship between emotional well-being and physical health. Stress can take its toll on the body, as can depression, poor sleep hygiene, an unhealthy diet, or lack of exercise. Secondly, know that even when your intentions are the best, you may be harboring suppressed resentment or trauma that could affect your future relationships.
With this in mind, do the best you can to keep yourself healthy, whether that means joining an exercise class, practicing relaxation techniques, or starting individual therapy. Self-love can make the difference between a smooth split and an emotionally draining experience.
Accept and Work Through Losses
When getting divorced, amicably or not, you must prepare for the fact that it means more than just splitting from your partner. It can also mean changes to other relationships in your life, including friends and family.
Sometimes, you’ll be able to keep in touch despite everything. But, more often than not, you can expect to grow apart from some of the people who had previously held a key place in your life. This is usually one of the more difficult aspects of divorce – especially for people with a limited social circle. However, genuinely moving on requires acceptance and understanding. Don’t expect mutual friends to choose between you and your ex. If they do, accept their decision with dignity. If you feel like you lack support, make sure to seek out help. Turn to your friends, family, or a therapist.
And, finally, allow yourself to widen your social circle. After all, a divorce isn’t just the end of a part of your life. More than anything else, it’s the beginning of something new and potentially great.
Having a healthy divorce is possible. Trying to make your split as smooth as possible really is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just think about it: why put yourself through stress and agony when you can get it over with and start the rest of your life?
Yes, getting over someone won’t happen overnight. But time heals all wounds – and you might just find that the future’s looking brighter than ever.
Sarah is a life enjoyer, positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She is passionate about an eco-friendly lifestyle and adores her cats. She is an avid reader who loves to travel when time allows.