I’ve been a practicing divorce lawyer for 15 years. I’ve helped couples dissolve marriages that neither party wanted to continue. I’ve helped individuals going through divorce who were blindsided and never saw it coming, and I’ve helped people find the right words to tell their partner they want to separate. I’ve seen and learned a lot, and I have channeled all of that into Hello Divorce, to make the divorce process as transparent, manageable and understandable as possible.
But, truth be told, even 15 years in, there are so many times that my clients taught me valuable lessons that I have taken to heart. And I want to share a few of those with you. These are quotes I love, stories that inspire and mantras you can repeat to yourself when you need a pick-me-up (or a reminder that your divorce is where you are, not who you are).
“The person is not the problem; the problem is the problem.”
Emily is a former client. She and her husband Juan divorced after they realized they both wanted different things out of life. At the time, their young daughter was two years old.
They were both committed to raising their daughter together, as committed co-parents. It wasn’t always easy. But what I loved about working with Emily and Juan, and what I love about this next chapter in their lives together is that they made a point to avoid blaming each other. In fact, they had both adopted a mantra: The person is not the problem; the problem is the problem.
“This wasn’t about him or about me, it was about how our relationship had changed,” Emily told me.
By focusing on the problem, and not on each other; on unwinding their lives and committing to communicating (even when it was uncomfortable), Emily and Juan were able to rebuild trust. So much so, that they now often vacation with their daughter together, and even relocated to a new state together so they could continue to co-parent in close proximity. (Their story is truly an inspiration; see how they adopted a mindful strategy for divorce and co-parenting, here.)
“My kids are ½ my ex. I will never risk them fearing that ½ of them is wrong. If I hate their other parent, they experience part of me hating a part of them.”
A client recently shared this after I asked her how she made it through a traumatic divorce without showing even the slightest bit of hostility. Honestly, her answer blew me away.
As you work through your divorce, there will be times (maybe several) that you’re at your wit’s end when it comes to your ex. If you have kids, I can’t stress enough how important it is to do what you can to set those feelings aside. It’s not easy. But, think about it this way: your ex is probably at their wit’s end with you, too. Would you want them venting about you to the kids? No? Then you shouldn’t, either.
The one thing you will always have in common with your ex is your love for your kids. Don’t put them in the position of having to make judgments about their other parent’s character or decisions. Instead, find another outlet for your frustrations, and consider your kids neutral territory. All they need to know about your divorce is that you and your ex always have – and always will – love and care for them. Period.
If my client could get through such a hostile, tumultuous divorce and still feel that way about her ex, I’m willing to bet that you can, too.
Download this Guided Meditation
Christina Cuevas is a certified Life Coach and NFP planner. She also hosts the Her Heart Heals podcast, which offers emotional and wellness support for people going through divorce and guided meditations that help put you in the right mindset – whether you need a pep talk or to prepare for a court hearing. She’s prepared this special meditation for the Hello Divorce community, focused on getting aligned with your desired divorce outcome.
“One year ago, you were worried about a lot of stuff that you now can’t remember.”
This is a lesson I’ve learned personally and professionally, and it doesn’t just apply to divorce.
Time truly is the best healer. It hurts right now. A lot. You’re in the middle of difficult decisions, details and a million things you’d rather not be doing. But mark my words: a year from now, two years from now, five – this pain and this heartache will be behind you. You’ll have new priorities, new joys, new frustrations and new chapters to write. You’ll move on.
One thing I love to tell my clients is that divorce isn’t who you are, it’s where you are. It doesn’t define you. And this process is a marathon, not a sprint. In this journey, you’ll learn so much about yourself, about who you truly are and what you truly want that – despite the pain and sadness you might be feeling right now – you will come through stronger on the other side with a new perspective, new priorities, and a new outlook. Even if you don’t see it for a year. Or two. Or maybe even five.
And remember: we’re in this together.
You’ll find more inspiration in this post, a collection of our favorite uplifting quotes to live by. If you’re on Instagram, check out @HelloDivorce for so many more thoughtful, heartfelt, empowering and motivational stories and quotes that will help you get through this process and to the next amazing chapter of your life.
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