What kind of coping mechanisms for divorce can you recommend?

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Answered by: Bobbi, An Expert in the Coping with Divorce Category
There are no coping mechanisms for divorce. Coping isn't even an option. You just try to survive. Knowing it was coming does nothing to help prepare you. It literally feels like the person you loved is dead.

You will go through three of the five stages of grief within a matter of days: denial, anger and bargaining. You're going to need to parent yourself. Take showers, even when you don't want to. Eat when you're not hungry. Brush your teeth morning and night just because. The more you make an effort to remember your world, the easier it will be to regain it. If you work outside the home, make every effort to get to work every day, and on time. If a wave of grief crashes into you (and for the first several weeks, it will do so on a regular basis), try to be in the restroom before it actually hits.

If you are a stay-at-home partner, it's time to dust off that resume. Update it to reflect where you are now and what you did in the years since you worked outside the home. Don't assume you will be dependent on your spouse's income. If you've been home for years, then you will likely receive alimony, but it may not be enough to get by. The job market is still a joke and the economy is right behind it, but you do have options. Your first stop should be a temporary services agency. They will evaluate your skills and help get you up to speed, if needed.

As quickly as you are able, find an attorney. Don't accept your partner's offer to share. An attorney can't serve to the best of his ability if he is representing his client's spouse. Equal and opposing interests are involved.

Resist your urge to make nice. Divorce is not the time to keep the peace. You are fighting for what is rightfully yours, and this will be the only chance you have to do so. On that note, you don't have to speak to your partner at all, ever if you so choose. Anything they need to let you know can be routed through your attorney. It's hard enough to heal without being forced to interact with the soon-to-be ex.

Inform your support system. You may be surprised at how many people want to be there for you. If you're lucky, there will be at least one 'someone' who will be your rock. Try to limit your situational sharing to that one person. You may hate your partner's guts and want them dead, but that's not the kind of information you want out there. Life will go on; you don't want to blush when you remember the things you said during this difficult time.

If you've followed all the general advice and you still feel skinless, then it's probably a good idea to see a therapist. In truth, you're navigating a minefield. A skilled therapist will have different coping mechanisms for divorce to offer. This may be the most difficult, painful situation you ever face in your life. Don't try to go it alone if you don't have to.

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