Divorce. No matter how civil or respectful you make the process, it’s still grueling, emotionally draining, and a generally unpleasant experience. You may or may not be shocked by the fact that 41 percent of first-time marriages end in divorce, and the percentages continue to rise with each following marriage.
Academic studies document serious health effects. A 2009 article noted that newly separated or divorced adults have higher resting blood pressure. Last year, a German study found that “divorce led to considerable weight gain over time, especially in men”. Separating after age 50 — often called a “gray divorce” — can be particularly dangerous to your emotional and financial health, much worse than doing so at younger ages. A wave of new research is quantifying the damage.
There are as many causes of divorce as there are marriages, but by observing large numbers one can come to conclusions about the most frequent times for breakup or the degree of economic damage that a divorce entails for couples according to their previous economic situation.
If you find yourself in the middle of a divorce, here are a few ways to cope with the huge life change.
Find a great lawyer
Suiting up doesn’t mean you’re looking to get nasty, but will reassure that you don’t end up on the wrong end of a bad deal. A lawyer who specializes in family law and divorce will most likely assist you in getting the best outcome.
Do your homework, ask your trusted friends and family for recommendations, and take advantage of the fact that most lawyers will offer a free consultation prior to you retaining their services. The right lawyer could make a world of difference in how smoothly your divorce process goes, and what you walk away with.
Wait to make any major decisions
While this may seem like a great time to reinvent yourself, move to the city you’ve always wanted to live in, or apply for the job of your dreams; it’s best to wait for a few months after your divorce is finalized to make any huge changes.
You may be feeling an overwhelming amount of emotion, or very few at all, but adding the stress of a large change may not do well for your wellbeing. Allow yourself adequate time to adjust to your new life, and all of the large changes that already come with divorce prior to adding any additional stress to your life.
It is okay to grieve, to ask for help, to take time off of work, or to break down if you need to. Don’t try to cope with the stress of a divorce alone, and don’t be afraid to take time to take care of yourself. The separation of a marriage, no matter how long the marriage or relationship was, is a huge disruption in your life and can evoke many emotions.
Help yourself heal from the divorce by taking time out of each day to work on your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. This time may look different to people, while some find the gym to be a therapeutic place and others may prefer reading a book in a coffee shop. Find what makes you happy, and indulge while you allow yourself to cope with your separation.
Divorce doesn’t have any one size fits all answers, and looks differently to each person facing it. Take your time, and follow these steps to make your divorce process a little easier.