4 Divorce-Related Worries You Should Stop Stressing About, Hello Divorce

4 Divorce-Related Worries You Should Stop Stressing About

I don’t know anyone who loves uncertainty. Transition is tough—even if your divorce is relatively amicable. The best thing you can do during this time is to manage your stress levels. And to do that, it’s all about mindset. You’ll say a million things to yourself during and after divorce. And no matter how positive of a person you usually are, some of these things will feel quite negative. 

  • “Maybe it could’ve been different.” (sometimes we crave the comfort of the familiar)
  • “I’m so out of shape!” (it’s easy to get down on ourselves when we feel a loss of control)
  • “I’m not sure I’ll be OK.” (you’ll be way better than OK but it’s hard to trust that in the moment)

Instead of worrying about the ifs and whys around these, focus on positive, productive ways you can address these legitimate but mostly out-of-your-hands concerns that pop up during the divorce process. I recommend doing the following for each one that is making you stressed out:

  1. Acknowledge how challenging divorce is. It’s no simple thing to let go of and stop worrying about. It’s a valid concern. 
  2. Know that this is temporary. It’s a difficult reality right now, but it likely won’t matter years, or even weeks, from now.
  3. Replace the inner critic with a more positive narrative. Think of this worry in a more positive way. Instead of thinking about its negative consequences, think of how it could turn out well. We’ve got specific suggestions for flipping the inner narrative when you worry about it below.
  4. Do something about it. You might not be able to erase the worry or “fix” the problem, but there’s something you can do to at least ease your anxiety around it a bit. Even the smallest step forward or action to lighten your load is helpful.

Let’s look at four common divorce-related things most people going through it stress about.

If it’s the right time to get a divorce

Your inner critic might say… 

  • “I should wait until ____.” 
  • “This is terrible timing.”

Replace that with a positive narrative: Repeat the mantra “this too shall pass” or “this is only temporary.” 

What to do about it: Meet with a legal coach, therapist, or friend who understands divorce. You can ask them questions or simply talk out the pros and cons of waiting vs. moving forward with filing procedures now. If you would rather think it out alone, create a list of pros and cons with a forward-thinking mindset (all you have to gain potentially from not delaying the inevitable, for example). 

Remember: People more often regret not doing things or waiting too long than making decisions that didn’t turn out quite as planned or that led to temporary discomfort. The timing will never be perfect. When you’re craving the familiar or romanticizing things that went “right” in your relationship, give yourself a reality check. You didn’t come to this decision lightly—you know what’s best for you and no one is going to help you get there—but you. 

What others think (including your ex)

Your inner critic might say… 

  • “They will think I’m selfish.”
  • “They’re always on [my ex’s] side.”
  • “Divorce is a personal failure.”

Replace that with a positive narrative: Focus on the very real fact that only YOU (and maybe your ex) know why your marriage did not work out. You do not need to explain the details to anyone. Realize, too, that most people’s judgments and unsolicited advice stem more from their own insecurities or ignorance than anything about you.

What to do about it: Surround yourself with people who support you and bring positive energy as much as possible. It’s OK to create a safe little bubble for yourself now. While you might not be able to avoid negative people all the time, do it as much as you can get away with. That social obligation you’re dreading? RSVP “no” if you really don’t need to go. See someone you know who will make a rude comment at the grocery store? Time to check out! Or, simply say “Hi” and excuse yourself.

If you will be lonely

Why you shouldn’t worry so much: Yes, it’s a big change going from living with someone and having a companion. But you might just find that being single and independent will make you even happier. Plus, most people who get divorced have success dating again and many remarry, according to the Census Bureau. 

Your inner critic might say… 

  • “What if I never find love again?”
  • “I’m unlovable.”
  • “I’m bad at relationships.”
  • “No one likes me.”

Replace that with a positive narrative: Don’t let the few people (ahem, your ex) who can’t love and appreciate you the way you want/need, overshadow all the people who do. Work on complimenting yourself, even if it feels silly sometimes. 

Tell yourself things like: 

  • “I look HOT in this!” 
  • “I’m changing direction and figuring out the type of love I want to give and receive.”
  • “I was so smart to figure that out on my own!” 
  • “I am a badass for handing this.”

What to do about it: Make plans to do things just for you and get out and socialize. Make plans with people who energize you and make you feel good. Sign up for a class. Start dating when you are ready. Bring a book and sit in the park and chat with strangers. Studies have shown that single people who maintain an active social life might actually be happier than married people.

How long it’s taking to finalize your divorce

Why you shouldn’t worry so much: No matter what, your state’s laws determine just how much time it will take to finalize your divorce. You can only control your own actions. Do everything you can to expedite the process, but accept that you can only do so much to get your ex, the courts, etc. to cooperate with you.

Your inner critic might say… 

  • “This is taking forever!”
  • “I just want to move forward with my life.”
  • “Why is everyone so slow?”

Replace that with a positive narrative: Focus on all you have accomplished. 

  • “This should be done in ___ weeks. Until then, I will [plan something positive].”
  • “This will not matter by this time next year.”
  • “I don’t need to wait for this to be over before I can find joy in my life.”

What to do about it: Knowledge is power. Understanding the legal timelines and waiting periods that you can’t do anything about, but make sure you don’t do anything to slow things down. Get all your paperwork in order. Communicate clearly and stay organized.

Get help if you need it, too. If you and your ex can’t agree on something, consider meeting with a mediator to work it out. If things are incredibly stalled and nothing seems to be working, take some time with a lawyer who can coach you through the process and how to get unstuck. 

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