Grab the sappy cards and heart-shaped chocolates, folks – it’s time for Valentine’s Day.
But if you are divorced or going through a divorce, the last thing you may want to celebrate is romance.
Instead of worry about a date, take this time to check in with yourself.
A divorce is a big life event and deserves attention so you can process it appropriately.
Atlanta’s relationship and divorce experts, including some local divorcees themselves, share their wisdom to help you work through this in a healthy way.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Take stock of the state of your divorce. Are you still in the process?
If so, ask yourself these questions to better understand your approach:
- Am I attempting to punish my spouse during the divorce process?
- Are my actions helping us heal or creating deeper wounds for the both of us?
- Are we alienating any children that may be involved?
Divorce lawyer Jarrod Oxendine of Suwanee firm Oxendine & Sauls LP says some people have a hateful, no-holds-barred approach to divorce cases, which is often understandable when both parties are hurt and emotions run high.
Sometimes family and friends may even encourage you to take this angle.
But in most cases, he cautions, “It is best to obtain a calm rational, reasonable and otherwise professional approach during the divorce process. This way, you can avoid the common pitfalls that lead to an even harder separation.”
I JUST CALLED TO SAY…
After you’ve singed the dotted line – no matter how that process went – you have to consider what type of relationship you will have moving forward. Consider these questions:
- Are there kids that my ex and I need to co-parent?
- If so, how often and through what means will we communicate?
- If not, do I still want to communicate with my ex? Why?
While it may feel like commnicating with you ex is healthy after a divorce is finalized, Oxendine suggests otherwise.
“I only advocate communications with an ex if children are involved,” he says.
In that case, communication about your children’s school schedules, extracurricular involvement, social boundaries and emotional health will all be important. And don’t forget to discuss how you will approach family traditions, such as holidays or birthdays, no that you’re separated.
But if there are no kids in the picture and you still want to keep up communication, consider why. If the divorce was a difficult one and you still keep in contact, Oxendine warns, “one of you is likely operating with an ulterior motive.”
If you split on amicable terms, your desire for continued communication may just be an old habit.
Either way, consider giving yourself the space to process this event on your own, without the input of your ex.
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