Finding the courage to end your marriage, or relationship as you know it, is one of the hardest decisions many people find themselves Googling answers for.
In the separation and divorce professional world, we find ourselves entering into Divorce Week and Divorce Month. January is one of the busiest times of the year. A lawyer I was speaking to today said ‘We have a new ad up and it’s getting more hits than the last few months’.
The reality is, these questions of ‘should I stay or leave’, ‘not another year of things not getting better’, ‘how do you know the marriage is over’, ‘am I doing the right thing?’ have been running around your mind for quite a while.
No one wakes up one day and says ‘I want a divorce’ out of the blue. Well, it might, if you haven’t been paying attention and ok, yes, some people do get blindsided, but I think you get what I am saying.
In fact, the lead time for an actual separation happening is on average 9 months.
Resentment has been building, there’s constant criticising of each other, one or both of you has shut down emotionally, you haven’t had sex in months or years, maybe there’s sex, but there’s zero passion. Things are not good. You’d rather be out with your girlfriends and more happy when he’s out with his mates or home late from work.
‘We will just get through Christmas, then we can tell the kids and they can get used to it over the school break’ is what a few of my clients have said over the years. One last Christmas together as the family you know it.
One of the hardest stages to get to is ‘acceptance’ of it actually happening. You can Google away, and then once you start talking about it, it suddenly becomes more real. First though, you have to find the courage to have ‘that conversation’.
I can clearly remember back to the night my marriage ‘officially’ ended nearly 7 years ago. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing and knowing what I know now….I guess is why I do what I do. And boy have I learnt a lot from my mistakes too.
WHY IS IT SO HARD?
Mostly it’s our fear that holds us back, from anything we don’t want to do. Fear of failure, fear of what others will think, fear of the future. Then list any emotion like shame, guilt, doubt, rejection, hurt, anger, sadness. Worried about loss – ‘my other half’, money, the house. What about the little people? Am I being a ‘the bad guy’?
Are you making the right decision?
Denial is a safe place to be too. Acting like things are OK on the surface for everyone else, and then sleeping in separate beds, barely talking to each other or making eye contact.
And no doubt there’s a million other questions and concerns going on. Even, ‘who’s going to love me now?’
HOW YOU HANDLE THE SEPARATION HAS A MASSIVE IMPACT ON YOUR ON GOING RELATIONSHIP
Could you imagine, that just say you did wake up one morning, look at your partner and say ‘I want a divorce’, which to them, feels ‘out of the blue’. How do you think they would react? Not good right, well a hell of a lot of shock. Even if it’s not so abrupt and extreme like that, it did happen to one of my recent clients.
Even if it’s not such a shock like that, and I really hope it is not, the thought of having ‘that’ conversation keeps many people stuck. Staying in a relationship that is over too long can cause extra stress, you wont sleep and then there’s a chance you can get sick – depression, anxiety or other illness. Staying in a toxic and emotionally abusive relationship can be soul destroying.
People then tend to hurt one another, because it’s like this silent conversation with your inner bad girl ‘If I hurt them, then surely they will want to leave’.
HURTING PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE
Two hurt people trying to have one of the most important conversations of their lives is a recipe for disaster and then add in tired, angry and sad people. Saying things that cant be un-heard. Doing things that cant be un-done.
So, how do you find the middle ground and have ‘that’ conversation? You decide to have respect for each other, the marriage and your children. Because whether you love that person or not, they are the other parent and that is what matters. You are still going to be in each other’s lives. Your children need that.
TIPS ON HOW TO HAVE ‘THAT’ CONVERSATION
- ADULTS ONLY – Make sure your little people are NOT in the house or due to come home
- EMOTIONS – Don’t let them run the show. Easier said than done once/if things get heated
- WORDS – No blame, no shame and show respect, kindness and compassion. Start with I feel….
- TIMING – Don’t have this conversation late at night when you are both tired. Don’t have it go on and on for hours
- ALCOHOL FREE – Maybe you need a glass of wine for ‘dutch courage’ and definitely be sober
Then, allow the other person their ‘reaction’ and yes, it most likely will be that. Unless you’ve both had some professional help before and worked on the emotions and fears. Or you’ve taken my ‘Courage To Leave’ Course…..
Know this, if you initiate ‘that’ conversation, you aren’t ‘the bad guy’, you aren’t ‘the one who broke the family’ and there is no shame, there is no failure. We weren’t taught ‘how to do relationships’ in high school. Most of us have had some patterns in our past that may have lead to this, or not. Maybe this relationship has reached it’s expiry date.
When two people are happy and thriving in a relationship, it doesn’t end, so there is a reason this has to happen. You can choose to see this as an opportunity for a fresh start, or not. So long as you keep the conflict away from your little people, they will be OK.
You both also don’t need to end up hating each other. You can take responsibility for your part in the relationship ending and accept that this is not a ‘for better or worse’ situation. Be OK if there is more relief than grief too. This is happening. Breathe. You will be OK.
If you are reading this, thinking about going through a separation or know someone who is, then share this with them. Let them know about my ‘Courage To Leave’ course. I was suffering from anxiety and depression when my marriage ended. I know there can be hard days, but it does get easier and life does go on. Trust me on that 😉
A divorce party you say hey, so what is all that about anyway. I was interviewed about divorce parties and the benefits for a national publication, the Herald Sun, back in June, you can check out the article here… https://goo.gl/Y9CRik
A divorce party, well mine anyway, was about being an empowered, confident and sassy singleton again. Getting back out into life again and enjoying all life has to offer.
Having a divorce party can be hard to understand for some so let us start with what they are not.
A divorce party is NOT about bashing your ex or constantly talking about them in a bad way or throwing darts at their face. Although, I guess for some, that may be therapeutic at first, however….
A divorce party is not about regretting the marriage. In fact, it is the complete opposite. A divorce party is about a new chapter in life. Celebrating the piece of paper that officially declares you single. It is about all the things you have done in the year and a day since the separation.
For me, it was the fact that I had relocated, I had handled the paper work and delivery of the documentation for the divorce all by myself. I turned up in court and stood up for 2 minutes before the judge and presto, done, that simple. In that time, I had put a BBQ together all by myself, and about 52 or so other things that I have also written about. I had two very happy kids that I had most of the time. I had regained some confidence. I had been overseas twice on my own and was finding my sparkle again.
On the night of the divorce party I had my closest friends who had been there with me through the nights of tears and laughter, the new tattoo, the new wardrobe. Had given me hugs when needed, had helped clean my house, cook meals and be there for me.
That was me and my journey….read on for tips on your own divorce party.
** image is courtesy of Herald Sun Andrew Tauber **
The Princess and the Penis
So I see this image on a very well known business networking Instagram page and I have to double take. I am having this internal dialogue of, WTF, what is with this, how is this positive….
Initially I was taken aback because 2349 liked the pic, gave it the double tap heart, and as I scrolled over the comments of 100 or so, only one other person had remarked about the ‘Becoming A Bitch’ title. So, did everyone like it because of the page it was on, and not really give any consideration what so ever to the image and message? Or, are 2249 people OK with this? With becoming a princess bitch who has all her own money and needs no one?
I wonder, are they happy or are they liking for the sake of liking. Or maybe they absolutely think this is a normal way of being. Now, I don’t know their marital status and if you have just come out of some shit storm of a divorce and been totally screwed over by some over charging lawyer, then managed to rebuild, well perhaps I can see the point.
I lost a shit tonne of money in my settlement, like $100,000 thanks to bad judgement and not listening to my lawyer or my intuition. But I take that on board. I still don’t want to feel this way as the meme (if that’s what I call this) suggests.
But who am I to judge and have an opinion right?
The idea of HER OWN and HER OWN and HER MONEY .., someone is surely angry and pissed off right?
I get it though, I would never ever combine all my bank accounts with anyone ever again. Never. The thing is, no one should anyway. That’s another topic of ace convo. It goes along with identity, control and doing what ever the fuck I want with my money and not having to justify it to anyone, and vice versa.
Can you imagine some kinda semi brattish chick going ‘my money’ ‘my castle’ ‘my this, my that’??
How’s that working out for you?
So I get more curious and I think about this a bit more…cause I do that.
I feel like I could wear a sign on my forehead that says ‘f*ck off, I don’t need anyone’. And then build a big moat, coat my body in armour and not let anyone in because I have MY OWN castle and I take care of ME.
I wonder, who else get’s this image like I do or who loves it, either way is good. I have to get male input, cant only be me and my female friends.
One of my 1600+ Facey friends says ‘too many emasculation swords there. However if there was a Queen there that was open, honest & feminine whilst home & admitted whist I don’t “Need” a man I freaking “WANT” one then let’s look at the possibility’.
Another friend, whom I met on Tinder, was worried about the apron, but then said ‘No problem here except I would comment that independence and femininity can happily coexist …… there’s no mention that there is no man in that picture …. (but only a feminine one would be ok with this – oh that’s my addition to his comment BTW) but it begs the question for most women which is to not lose yourself in the fight for yourself…. but that’s only a question that remains to be answered in this meme …. I think people’s reactions here are about applying past experiences of observing women burst out of the gates of chauvinism so hard that they become something that makes them something they’re not …. a product of mistreatment rather than an expression of true self.’
Then one of my other lovely friends says ‘Bitch means that I am strong, beautiful and not every man can have me’. She is right, not every man can have us and could we can choose another more empowering word to use?
In a nutshell and further to my take on it, (and my bestie Nadine)and the big fuck off on the forehead. If you don’t need a man for anything, then why would he want you? Where is there room for this amazing man in your life?
We all need to feel a sense of being needed. And there is a big difference between NEEDY and WANTING someone. Better yet, a DESIRE to be with someone and want them in your life.
There’s nothing wrong with being able to provide for yourself, it’s important, a man is not a financial plan. There needs to be some harmony. A man generally “wants” to be able to take care and provide for his woman. TV says so, I just watch an episode of Mistresses (ha ha I hear you, but this guy, hot plastic surgeon, gifts his fiancé a brand new Teslar) and even he says ‘he wants to take care of his fiance’ while discussing a pre-nup that he doesn’t want. Which can be done in lots of ways. As too, a woman generally ” wants ” to be able to take care of her man and feel needed, when she truly embraces her femininity.
It’s human nature. The brilliance of be-ing human. We are all different and then somewhere, down there, we are all wanting the same. Love and connection at it’s finest.
Ladies, if we do not have the ability or we are not open to ‘receive’ (and want to get around in aprons), no doubt, we will end up very fricken alone AND lonely. So this Princess is not likely to get any penis.
With love and sassiness
OR what if we thought more like this……
For us single parents at Christmas time, let’s get real and really real. Sometimes it is easier to NOT to feel. To push our true feelings under a rug, ‘fake it til we make it’, or try and escape the reality of the situation. To stay busy. There is no time to pause, reflect and be in the present moment of how you are actually feeling. Especially at this time of year. When all the happy (or pretending to be) couples do their family celebrations. Post amazing happy family pics onto Instagram. The reality for many solo parents is, this is a tough time of year. Unless you have been through it, you have no idea. Sure, we can focus on the good and positive things in our lives and yes, in the coaching and personal development space, that is what we teach and are taught. However, that journey may not be for everyone. There is still the reality to deal with, the facts to face, the lessons to learn. This time of year can bring up past memories of when we were happy families and the excitement of seeing your kids unwrap presents, but also, when you too received a gift from your significant other. It can also make you miss what you had planned for the future. I have decided to ask some male friends of mine for their thoughts and ideas about being away from their kids at this time of year and how they too deal with the emotions and situations post separation and divorce. Some separated couples buy their children gifts for the other parent. Some do not. Check out this post that went viral from a ‘now Facebook friend’ in Boston wrote about this. When I originally saw this post I just had to share it and now even more so. Could you do this exact same act for your children and your former partner? Billy openly says ‘It took time and work to get to this phase of our relationship’. How could you too be an example to your children that makes them proud in 10, 20 years time? You can read the full article in the Independent Journal Review on this link. http://ijr.com/2016/10/722409-when-dads-kind-birthday-gift-for-ex-wife-has-his-friends-puzzled-he-explains-who-its-really-for/ Then closer to home, here’s what Tim, divorced Dad of 4 says : “Yeah, it hurts to be away from your kids at Christmas time. I mean it’s your kids who bring Christmas to life, however it is so important to remember to be there for them, even if from afar. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing better than waking up with your children on Christmas Day. Not being with them feels like a piece of me is missing. I have to remind myself what is important. I try to do everything I can to create good memories for my kids. They deserve nothing less.’ How can you create magic moments for your children? I think it is really important to share in their excitement of having two Christmas’s and what gifts they receive from other family members. Note to self, might need to buy less next year. How are you really feeling with Christmas only being 3 days away? I miss sharing that day with a significant other. I miss unwrapping a surprise and I also miss buying someone else a present too. I am so grateful that Xmas last year, Mother’s Day this year and my birthday just recently, that two of my close girlfriends have stepped up, seen what the kids need and bought presents for them to give to me. It has made the smile on my two little people’s faces even bigger to feel ‘they bought Mummy a present’. Right now, I miss that I will not spend Xmas Eve with my two little people for the second year in a row. We celebrate from 11am Xmas day and then for the next day to wake up with the kids and unwrap a few presents on Boxing Day. It is what it is. I know that they are happy and having fun, which is what matters most.
Here are my TOP 3 tips to deal with the festive season
- Stay off social media if it is too hard for you. There is no need to compare your situation to another family’s photos.
- Get social, and by this I mean, the connected type of social. Surround yourself with family at a gathering or friends at a new bar.
- Know that it is just ONE day in the year, maybe two, but not the whole year. It is ok to feel a little sad, then let that go and enjoy the celebrations.
Know that all those feelings are OK. It is how you deal with them that is important. Do you need to pick up the phone and speak to a close friend and let them know how you are feeling? Do you need a professional to assist you? Or do you need a good cry – go do that too. You can also request to join my closed Facebook group and be surrounded by likeminded women too. Who knows who you may be spending next year with or perhaps you will find this time a little easier as the years pass by. Make the most of the day and who you are with, and do focus on the good and all that you have. Focus on all the good that came from the relationship and all the good your former partner brought to the relationship. It is the time for happiness and forgiveness.
Should I Leave?
Asking the question “Should I leave my husband?” has got to be THE hardest question we ask ourselves. That is the million dollar question over half the married population ask on Google. Or it is something you never thought you’d be ‘Googling’. Riddled with self-doubt, sprinkled with confusion and a tonne of fear and a pinch of guilt. Most likely not even knowing exactly how you got to this very position you now find yourself in.
Many of the women I speak with have told me how much they went ‘looking’ for the right answer online. Something to give them the right ‘sign’ how to leave or how to fix the marriage.
In my upcoming book “Separation Success” I cover the Top 20 Questions people have mentioned to me or written to me about.