Divorce Is Not an Ending but A Beginning
Divorce, or as it is now termed, dissolution of marriage, can for many seem the end of the road. This is particularly true in long-term marriages or in marriages where just one partner desires the divorce. And, if the reason for desiring a divorce is another woman or another man, the distress is usually multiplied many times over. Being rejected is probably one of the most hurtful of human experiences and one that puts a huge damper on a person’s ego. In our culture, divorce can be looked upon as “too bad,”and “it was likely your fault in the first place.” There is a death of a once viable relationship,but there is little comfort provided except fromvery close family and friends and sometimes not even from them. Friends of the “couple frequently sneak off into the night or take sides but rarely keep a friendship with both parties. Further, there are no cards of condolence, or casseroles brought to the door as there are in a physical death. Additionally, if you are a female, you will forever after have to own up to your divorce(s) when applying for a job, passport, driver’slicense, or most any form requiring personal information as you will be asked to list all names ever used. There is still a definite stigma attached to a divorce which makes it even more difficult to create a beginning because there is no endto the label of “divorce.”
However, a divorce is a final ending to a marital relationship so one must find ways to begin life again as a single person with or without minor children, or a person already with a significant other in their life with or without minor children. Here are some suggestions for each of the four post-divorcescenarios.
Single and alone: This is probably the most emotionally difficult of the four options, especially if the former spouse already has a significant other. There are advantages, however,as a singleperson without minor children to consider, is much freer to look toward a new beginning. It is often wise to consider moving to a new location where memories aren’t so easily stirred up,and new friendships are made without having to bring the past along as baggage. Whether a person decides to stay or move it is vitally important to get out and meet new people whether by joining a group such as a book club, the “Y,” ora singles group. Many people now use an online dating service which attempts to match personalities, likes,and dislikes, etc. Sometimes though it is best to wait awhile before making close relationships with another potential partner and just make friends, giving time for emotions to heal. Other suggestions include a new haircut, style or color, wardrobe perk-up (Goodwill is a great place to do this on a limited income), returning to school for increased job skills or just for the pleasure of learning, if the budget allows doing some traveling,and/orvolunteering for a worthwhile cause. Helping others feel better often helps the giver feel better as well.
Single with minor children: Basically, the same suggestions given above apply to a single person with minor children,but there are additional concerns to beginning again as children need a great deal of love and attention, especially following a divorce. It is wise to include children in decision making whenever possible as for them to make a satisfactory adjustment they need to feel a part of things with their concernstaken seriously. Help themunderstand the need for their parent to have a social life as well as for them tohave one.Hopefully, both parents will put aside their animosities toward each other (when there are some) and continue to focus on the care and nurturing of their children.
Single with significant other and no minor children: This is probably the best post-divorce scenario to be in. The new beginning is already anticipated and, as there are no minor children to be concerned about, he or she can ride off into the sunset on their way to their new beginning. Sometimes the ride even goes straight to the courthouse to begin the marital go-round again.
Singel with significant other and minor children: This situation can be difficult as though the divorce is eagerly anticipated, he or she is not free to just “ride into the sunset.” Even if remarriage takes place, the parent should still be an important part of their children’s lives. In Florida, for example, if there are minor children a parenting plan will be in place and instead of custody being awarded there is what is termed parental timesharing. Parents are expected to share equally in the care, nurturing, and decision making for their minor children.This is court ordered and must be included in a person’s plan for a new beginning. It is wise to include children and the step-parent in decision making so all feel a part of what will be happening. Again, both parents should strive to communicate kindly and be considerate of each other in the best interests of their children. Hopefully, step-parents will be a positive part of on-goingrelations with the minor children and their concerns.
If handled carefully, a divorce can be an ending as well as a beginning. It takes maturity, and a strong desire to putthe painful past behind and move into a brighter future, but it can be done.