"What you do with what you have is up to you."
The emotional weight placed on your shoulders as you go through the divorce experience cannot be understated. It can feel like an aspect of yourself that you loved and relied on is no longer there, forcing you to acknowledge what is missing.
Much of the focus is placed on the financial ramifications of a divorce, and rightfully so. Divorce is an expensive experience that can cause financial loss for years to come. However, many fail to understand what it means to no longer have the person you vowed to be with for the rest of your life there.
The process of divorce
Just from saying the word “divorce,” in the context of you ending your marriage to your spouse, the experience is set in motion. Before you utter the word, you need to make sure that this is truly what you want. Otherwise, it can be a difficult road in reestablishing the trust you desire in your relationship.
It also requires contacting a family law attorney. Many people may find this step to be intimidating, so it is important that you do your research and choose a family law attorney equipped to handle your unique situation and represent your interests.
After the process begins, you lose the sense of comfort that you may have experienced at earlier points in your relationship. You may experience tenseness, and physical symptoms may manifest. However, it may be the incompleteness of yourself that hurts worst of all.
Identity and self-realization
You may not remember yourself without being in the relationship that you are divorcing yourself from. Your identity may be wrapped up in who you are, in the context of the person that you are with. It is about who you are to that person, rather than who you are to yourself. Being a boyfriend or girlfriend, and then a husband or wife is your role, and ending the relationship that defines your role requires you to find out who you are without that person in your life.
It can be a scary prospect, searching for self-realization as an adult. It can be equally as scary as not feeling whole. As an adult, there is a lot of pressure to have an understanding of who you are, but after a divorce, the level of unresolved issues you may have, in relation to your ex-spouse, may require you to take more time to adjust to the new landscape of your life.
One of the easiest ways of putting one foot in front of the other during the aftermath of a divorce is through a routine. Establishing a new normal may take time, but it provides the structure you may require during this difficult time.
The comfort of work
This means being as productive as possible both at home and at work. This can be a challenge unto itself given that studies have shown how much work productivity dips during a divorce or separation. According to results published in the Nashville Business Journal, more than 70 percent of employees may be working at lower productivity, due to their own divorce or a co-worker’s divorce.
The study estimates divorce as a seven-year event, encompassing the year prior. Taking into account the post-divorce anxiety and impact on productivity for employers across the country, 70 percent of the workforce will be experiencing one stage or another of how the divorce experience affects work production at any given time.
This also can affect the productivity of co-workers. According to the results, co-worker productivity is reduced by 4 percent during the six months prior and the year of a divorce.
One of the best ways you can combat the ill effects that a divorce may have on your work routine is to understand that it will be affected. You need to be able to go into this experience knowing that divorce will affect other areas of your life. Not acknowledging that fact will not make it any less true.
The comfort of home
At your new home, you have an opportunity that many do not always get. You have the chance to make your life yours again. As much as your identity may be wrapped up in who you were as a husband, you have a new opportunity to be your own person.
That can start with taking control of your own life. Whether it is decorating your new living environment like you want, meal planning or working out in an effort to get in better shape, or going out and being social again, it is entirely your decision how you want to go about making your life yours again.
In making your life yours again, you are putting yourself in the driver’s seat. You are giving yourself the opportunity to succeed and overcome all of the obstacles that the divorce experience entails. While you may be dealing with issues like alimony, child support, and custody, you still are being presented the best chance to fill in that gap that your previous marriage may have filled for you.
In doing this for yourself, you are entrusting yourself with your own future. As much as a past divorce can affect your present-day financial situation, what you do with what you have is up to you, and that includes being the best parent you can be, if you have children.
Through these methods, feeling whole is refocused back to how you feel, rather than what role you play in the lives of others. It no longer becomes about who and what you complete, but rather, who and what completes you.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.