Divorce is messy and ugly. Isn’t this what all of us are conditioned to expe? In cases of abuse and/or infidelity, of course, the end of a marriage can often be nightmarish. But what about all the other instances when a couple decides to split? They don’t have to resemble a stand-up comic’s joke. Love and trust brought you together. The same qualities can guide you through the maze of divorce.
A Few Common Myths About Divorce
It’s expensive: Yet another reason to end the drama is that a couple working as a team can easily navigate the divorce process without lawyers and courtroom appearances.
You’ll lose all your mutual friends: It depends on the status of those friendships, pre-divorce. Yes, it will require some adjustment but an amicable divorce can result in maintaining some social connections.
The woman always gets custody of the children: This is likely but less likely today than ever.
The stigma will haunt you: About half of all first marriages end in divorce. The numbers are even higher for any ensuing marriage. Something this common is no longer a source of societal shame.
Why Many Divorces Cause Drama
So, there are many divorce myths. Drama is not a given. That said, it’s not like divorce is easy or simple. It’s a life-altering and deeply emotional experience. Naturally, this ramps up the potential for fireworks. There are, once again, clear reasons why the separation is traumatic, e.g.
Physical and/or emotional abuse
Substance abuse or other addictions
Mental or physical illness
Then, there are also the intangibles. From nosy family members to differing financial goals to super busy lives, it all adds up to incompatibility. We cannot avoid the trials and tribulations of life but how we respond will automatically impact our relationships. If we accept the need for separation, we can also accept our role in divorcing well.
5 Strategies to End the Drama and Divorce Well
1. Aim to Maintain the Friendship
You had a strong enough connection to meet, bond, and marry. Even after a divorce, this connection can continue. Romantic compatibility is fluid but love and respect can endure.
2. Minimize the Impact on Your Kids
Airing out the drama can feel (sort of) good in the moment. If it’s just about you and your partner, well, at least the damage is limited. Add in the presence of children and the stakes shift dramatically. Set up agreements ASAP to work together — regardless of personal feelings — to minimize the potential for trauma.
3. Commit to Regular Communication
Assumptions are never a good idea. The antidote is steady, honest, and healthy communication.
4. Don’t Underestimate the Emotions
Even when you feel you’ve got this whole divorce thing under control, there’s always something brewing beneath the surface. Remain diligent and check-in with yourself often.
5. Take Care of Yourself
It’s always wise to practice self-care. When negotiating the stress of divorce, self-care becomes a requirement. To be the best version of you, remember:
Healthy eating choices
Regular sleep patterns
Daily exercise and activity
Stress management and relaxation techniques
Time to Call in a “Referee”?
Couples counseling is usually perceived as a step taken during a rough patch. In actuality, therapy is a proven choice for couples in the best of times — and the worst of times. Working with a therapist enables both spouses to resolve many issues as the marriage nears its end.
In a safe space, each partner can air out feelings without devolving into drama, disrespect, or miscommunication. Doing such work can lay a foundation for a new version of your connection moving forward.