Imagine a huge knotted ball of yarn in front of you. Imagine you’re trying to untangle each knot. Have you ever done that? Untangled a gold chain? A knot in your hair? Your shoelace? Your ball of yarn?
Can you recall the feeling of frustration and annoyance, as every time you thought you had the knot free and clear, you really didn’t? Can you remember the patience and persistence it took to get that knot free?
That my friends is divorce. Untangling your life from another’s. Learning to build another life as you pick away at “knots” often frustrated, but always, always requiring persistence.
With that said there will be things you may have to do during and after the divorce process that will feel frustrating and require you to be persistent and patient. Despite those feelings of discomfort and aggravation, please don’t be ashamed to do these things in order to cope with both the divorce itself and making a life for you once the divorce is done.
1- Get Financial Help
You may not have financial stability during this process. You may have once been comfortable. You may have come from a comfortable or middle-class family.
You may now be completely, financially unstable.
You may feel desperate at times and may wonder, “Which bill should I pay and which should I risk letting go?”
Here are things you should do—and don’t feel ashamed:
- Apply for food stamps and assistance if you need to
- Ask your credit card companies to allow you to temporarily stop payments if you are behind on these payments—they won’t preemptively stop the payments typically…you must be behind first
- Reference hardship programs when calling all creditors…don’t be afraid to call back multiple times, too
- Apply for affordable or low-income housing if you qualify
- If behind on utilities, apply for energy assistance
- Ask for help from friends and family
Divorce can be really devastating financially and typically more so for women and children of divorce. However, we all can suffer. Please, reach out and don’t be ashamed. It may be the difference between eating and not eat and if you think it can’t happen to you, think again.
2- Reconnecting With Broken Family Relationships or Friends
You may have lost some good or not-so-good relationships with people due to the nature of your marriage or your life.
If there are old “good relationships” you would like to rekindle with family or friends, don’t be ashamed to approach them now that your life is down and out. This is the time in which perhaps, the most understanding and repair can happen. You may need these people.
This is especially true if you were in a bad or toxic relationship and are now free and wanting to reconnect with people who couldn’t stand to watch you get hurt.
3- Go To Therapy Or Support Groups
Is the divorce hard on you? Are you struggling with addiction or mental health issues? Were your issues a reason for the divorce?
The marriage is done or on its way out. Now is not the time to be prideful. Seek help to heal so you can move on as a better and stronger “you.”
We all have times in which we struggle with demons. Some demons may be larger or more destructive than others, but we all can become better versions of ourselves each day. Don’t be prideful!
4- Reach Out For A Job
Were you a stay-at-home mother? Are you a man whose career has plateaued and now you’re looking for a bigger salary or a better job for a newly single dad lifestyle?
Whatever the case is, a divorce can impact your working status. This is the time to ask everyone—every connection, work and elsewise—for insight on how to get a job or change careers.
Take personality inventories. Reach out to old colleagues. Have your resume assessed or built from the ground up? Join LinkedIn. Join community and industry social media groups.
5- Speak Out If Your Kids Need It
If your children are struggling, now is not the time to be quiet. Talk to their teachers and coaches. Reach out to community programs. Don’t be shy. Divorce is hard for us all but especially children who have no control over their fates.
Speak out. Be the mouthpiece they need.
The lesson in all of this is that it takes time to unknot the tangle.
Divorce requires you to be patient, persistent and hopeful.
And most of all, to be an advocate for yourself. No one will fight for you and your happiness so if you don’t do it yourself, be prepared to fail and in my opinion?
That’s just not an option!
Keep fighting the good fight.
Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated, writer, comedienne, and single mother. Laura will work for chocolate. The former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate is currently writing about divorce, sex, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, marriage and more for the New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Redbook, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, Your Tango and numerous other sites. Her own website is frommtvtomommy.com .