Divorce Care – Why You Need a Therapist
Divorce is tough, there’s no getting around it. No matter how bad things get, and no matter how happy you might think you’ll be after it’s over, most people are woefully unprepared for the realities of divorced life.
It’s easy in the middle of screaming fights or after going months without sex to think about how great life will be once the divorce is final. We get seduced into dreaming about starting over in a new, perfect life.
What you don’t realize, though, is that when a marriage ends, a lot more goes out the door with it. Your life changes. Yes, you’re removing something that was potentially abusive and traumatic from your life, however, some positives get sacrificed on the altar of divorce every day.
Managing the disruptive ripples of divorce is one of the main reasons people need therapy during, and after, the process. Here are some of the ways a licensed therapist can help you deal with everything divorce entails.
Dealing with Social Rearrangement
Depending on how long you’ve been married, it’s hard to imagine what life will be like alone. A lot of times, we fall into this trap where we imagine our lives will revert to what it was like before we met our spouse.
We don’t account for how we’ve changed. Your priorities, career, age, and a whole bunch of other things are different. You might have kids, pets, and different friends.
Dealing with the social aspect of divorce can be trying, especially when we’re vulnerable and need to rely on friends. What happens when all of your friends are married couples that you met with your ex or soon to be ex-spouse?
You may go looking for a shoulder to cry on, only to discover that your “friend” has already chosen sides, and it’s not yours. You’re also going to have to manage your feelings when your friends want to maintain relationships with both of you even though you’re no longer together.
Losing friends is a part of divorce most people don’t think about.
What About All of the Logistics?
Therapists can be a “divorce coach” for all intents and purposes. Odds are, they’ve dealt with several divorcees in the past. They know what’s involved in the process.
A therapist can help you sift through the minutiae of divorce to help you make sure you’re not taken advantage of.
They’ll draw on other clients’ experiences to advise you on things you might be overlooking, like coming to an agreement over visitation rights, the right approach to dealing with in-laws after a divorce and splitting up your possessions.
Separating lives that have been intertwined for so long is extremely challenging. It’s also overwhelming. Dealing with the stress of divorce makes a lot of people want to throw up their hands and say, “Forget it!” over a lot of things that will matter to them down the road.
Divorce is one of the main causes of financial hardship. High legal costs, the long time it takes to unwind joint assets, having to sell your house quickly to settle your affairs, and other logistical decisions will have a huge impact on your life ahead.
Having a therapist who you can trust who’s dealt with divorce in the past can be a guide you can lean on for advice when things get rough.
Helping You Keep Your Kids Centered
It’s bad enough to go through a divorce, but it can be even worse when kids are involved. When you love your children so much, it’s hard to imagine not being able to see them every day or have total control over how they’re raised.
Children that go through a divorce all experience trauma to some extent. The separation of a family unit, no matter how amicable, is never the same.
Children also aren’t always the most understanding. They may not recognize that you need or needed a divorce to protect yourself and live happily. They may resent you for your decisions.
A therapist will help you work through a divorce and mitigate risks to your children and the relationships you have with them. It will keep you focused on considering their well-being even when they seem to be doing alright.
Therapists Can Help You Avoid Repeating Your Mistakes
In most divorces, couples share the blame. Yes, there are situations where a spouse is abusive or manipulative, and those certainly should end in divorce. Most, though, happens when a couple is no longer able to overcome resentment. Heels are dug in too deep and no one’s willing to give anymore.
What many people don’t realize, is that they assign the reason for their divorce to the individual to whom they were married. It was a difference of personality or you fell out of love.
So many things, though, drive us toward divorce. Whether it’s childhood trauma, failure to deal with our parents’ divorce, depression, shame, or some other issue, there are personal influences in all of us that contribute to divorce.
Therapists work with clients to identify obstacles to connection and any destructive patterns we repeat. Too many of my clients have felt like they just met the wrong person, and that they’ll get it right the next time around. Their ex was just a bad apple and they didn’t see it early enough.
Unfortunately, success rates for second and third marriages aren’t any better. They’re even worse. According to Psychology Today, second marriages end in divorce 67% of the time, and 73% of third marriages end in a split.
Perhaps, after one divorce, we’ve normalized separating a bit, so the idea of leaving is less taboo the second or third time around.
Working with a therapist can help you get to the root of issues holding you back from making a real connection and building loving relationships in the future. With hard work, you can break the pattern of mistrust, insecurity, shame, or whatever else is standing in your way.
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