Nearly five years ago, the day after I got my GCSE results, my Dad sat the family down to tell us he was filing for divorce. It didn’t come as a shock as I knew the family dynamic wasn’t healthy but I will never forget that day. Seeing my Mum cry at first made me angry, agreeing with her that they should try marriage counselling before jumping to divorce. I also knew it would mean moving house which was the hardest part for me to come to terms with. I had lived in that house all my life, it was all I knew and I didn’t want to let go of my home. Once my Dad had told me I left the house to process everything and soon realised I was happy they were getting divorced, nothing was going to save their marriage.
I thought I would write this post for anyone who may be struggling with their marriage, considering divorce or going through divorce at the moment. Of course I have never gone through divorce myself but hopefully someone may find it interesting to see it from the perspective of a child who was old enough to understand the process and decisions involved. When I tell people I am happy my parents got divorced a lot of people seemed shocked but it was the best thing for my parents, two sisters and me.
Remember to take care of yourself
Filing for divorce isn’t something to be taken lightly but sometimes it is the only logical option. Whilst you may have children to consider, remember to think about what you need and your current happiness and wellbeing. Think of how much you change over a number of years. The person you are in your early twenties is going to be different from how you are in your thirties, forties, fifties and so on. Your interests, morals and priorities will change and evolve as you get older which is perfectly normal. Your husband or wife will change too and sometimes they will change in similar ways allowing you to grow and adapt with them. But in other cases they may change differently and you may find you don’t align anymore which is perfectly acceptable and normal. Sometimes life will take us down different paths and people sometimes end up on different journeys, wanting different things.
It will be tough
Divorces aren’t a barrel of laughs and there is a lot to consider. If you have children, explain to them it isn’t their fault and answer any questions they may have. In my opinion, if they are old enough to be able to understand the situation it is best to be honest with them as they will have witnessed your relationship and know if things don’t seem quite right.
Getting help from legal experts can make things easier as they can try and ensure the fairest outcome is met. However this can be expensive so if you can settle smaller details between yourselves calmly then this can be a good way of avoiding huge solicitor bills. However in some situations this won’t be possible and it is better to have legal aid to help you understand the process and resolve any issues you may be having.
Divorce may also mean you have to move house which is a stressful and often long-winded process. (I might write a post with my experience and tips on moving house in the future, let me know if it is something you would like to see.)
Remember the good times
If you are going through divorce or have gone through divorce you will know that it isn’t an easy time for anyone. For some people it can be hard to take that final step and decide to end their marriage, even if things haven’t been right for some time. It will be hard but try and remember the good times you had as a couple or family. You may have explored different countries together, had children, made new friends, moved out for the first time together. All these things still matter and are special even if you have grown apart or fallen out of love. Don’t focus on regrets or what you would have changed.
This is a new chapter, embrace it
What’s done is done and above all you were married to someone you loved at the time and got to make some great memories together. Try and view your divorce as a fresh opportunity. Both of you will have the chance to try new things and be happy again. Take time out for yourself, if you want to explore new interests or hobbies go for it. Set aside the previous chapter of your life and consider what you would like to achieve in this new era. A person, divorce or your past doesn’t define you. Take time to grieve and process the situation and then being focusing on your future.
If you liked this post you may also like to read all about how my Christmas traditions have changed since my parents got divorced!