Loving Each Other Through Divorce, Part II: 1 DO and 1 DON’T

It could absolutely be said that Rebecca and I had it easy. We didn’t have kids or assets to fight over and there was no “bad guy.” But even an “easy” divorce is still a massive life change. To ensure smooth waters, here’s a DO and a DON’T (with more to come in further posts).

DO

Utilize your support systems. Those friendships you’ve been cultivating all these years? Yeah, those. Use them! Let your friends and family support you in whatever way you require. If you don’t know what you require, let your friends offer you what they will. For example, my mom sent me a teddy bear so I’d have something to hold at night; it was such a sweet gesture and certainly not one I would have thought to ask for (I’m kinda’ low maintenance and would have just held a pillow).

“Distractor friends” are those who don’t know what to say or don’t want to get caught in the middle so they take you out drinking or to a movie or to a concert—anything that will prevent you from sharing your feelings. These friends are a gift! They’ll help pull you out of the comfort of your funk, if only for moments, and remind you that life is still happening all around you. “Empathic friends” are those who feel what you’re feeling. These are the friends who will just look you in the eye or hug you and you’ll melt into a puddle of tears because you can see in their eyes that they get it. These are the friends you can cry with and act out with and be crazy with because they’ll just stay by your side and hold you (literally or energetically). “Loyal friends” are the ones who insist on taking your side—even if there is no war and there are no sides. And though said friends might actually be taking both sides, their objective is to let you know that someone has your back. Even while laughing at how cute they are, accept their loyalty. Let them support you as they will.

I offer this bit of advice because my housemates (friends who took me in as a renter for a year while I figured out my next steps) had to sit me down and remind me that I had a whole network of friends I wasn’t utilizing for support—including them. It was an eye-opening intervention.

DON’T

Play the blame game. Lose the B and the blame game becomes the lame game. There’s a reason for that: it’s lame to play the blame game! Do I really even need to elaborate on this one? Relationships require both parties. “It takes two to tango.” “There are two sides to every story.” You get the drift, yes? If you need to have a blaming fit or two, do it with an empathic friend—not your ex! (And not with a distractor friend because she doesn’t want to hear it and not with a loyal friend because he’ll never forgive your ex for whatever you’re spewing.)

And here’s another big piece of this: you might also consider taking it easy on yourself! If you find that every thought comes back to something you did wrong, you’re just positioned at the self-blame end of the spectrum. What if, while going through such a tremendous time of change, you stopped the madness of self-blame and instead chose to be kind to yourself? I know it’s kinda’ radical, but your body (especially your heart) will thank you. (In another post I’ll elaborate more on how much it hurts our bodies when we judge/blame ourselves.)

These are just a couple simple things that can make a big difference while going through a divorce or breakup. What if it really is possible to choose “ease”—even in matters that nobody would ever think could be easy?

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