Throughout your life, and particularly through your separation or divorce, there may have been times when, even if you have an amazing support system, you realized that there is truly only one person that you can count on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, YOU. It’s vital to build a good support system, especially in a time of crisis when you need love, but it’s also important to love yourself and be someone that YOU want to be around. Who will be there in the middle of the night when you are feeling lonely – YOU. Who will be there in the car when you are driving to work and have an emotional breakdown – YOU. Self-love isn’t always just about having high self-esteem, it’s about paying attention to yourpexels-photo-171296 own needs and taking the time to fulfill them. It’s about being a person that YOU would want to befriend. Rarely do we consider ourselves as a valued companion, but the hard truth is that we are the only person we can truly count on every second of every day. This time of year is especially easy to feel deflated, so how do you fill your own tank up when you feel like you are completely “running on E”? Ask yourself, “How am I doing?” Then assess what you could do to make yourself feel better. Maybe you are simply stressed and need a stress reliever like more sleep, less screen time, fitness, or a massage. Maybe you feel that you just need a break, and scheduling a vacation would do the trick? If you don’t have the time or money to travel, then finding a new hobby can often provide a mental “get-away.” If your answer is that you are simply feeling down, try this for an instant mood boost – spreading kindness or help to others. Start small – send a thank you note in to school with your child for their teacher, take a plate of cookies to an elderly neighbor, pay for the coffee of the person in line behind you, call a grandparent just to say hello, and when a friend or family member tells you about a difficult task they are working on – show up to help. These small acts of kindness will have instant BIG results on your heart and the way you feel about yourself. Choose to focus on one small act a week or a day. These can take little time and no money, but can have a huge impact on being the friend (to yourself) that you would like to be. After all, if you love yourself, you will worry less about the idea of getting other people to love you.
In Part 1, vortex was defined as: 1) a whirling mass of water or air that sucks everything near it towards its center; 2) a place or situation regarded as drawing into its center all that it surrounds, and hence, being inescapable or destructible.tropical-cyclone-catarina-1167137_1920 The second definition provides a visual for what many think a divorce “looks like.”  While the end of a marriage is emotionally tumultuous and devastating, the actual legal process of uncoupling does not have to be.  But, it is critical that you choose a process that promotes healing.  The Collaborative Process does just that. Collaboration is a holistic approach to divorce.  It can be utilized by couples who are ending either a marriage or significant relationship, or who have a child or children together.  Although some people question whether it is an appropriate process when domestic abuse or mental health/chemical dependency issues are present, many others think it can (and should) at least be attempted.  If you don’t want to be another “divorce horror story,” the Collaborative Process will likely be a great fit. Collaboration focuses on the future (i.e., the relationship of co-parenting in two homes) rather than the past (i.e. the vilification of one spouse); is a win-win for both partners (rather than a court-imposed win-lose); and emphasizes the well-being of the entire family.  You don’t air your dirty laundry in court, and you aren’t (literally) judged.  In fact, you never set foot in a courtroom.  The negotiation model is interest-based/win-win, rather than positional/win-lose.  You pay attorneys to help you solve problems, not argue and keep you stuck in the past.  Every family is unique, so every family deserves a unique solution.  And if you have young children, please keep in mind they need you present and available.  You can’t be present when you are fighting the other parent in court.  In Part 3, we will discuss the various professionals in the Collaborative Process and how their expertise can help you avoid the divortex.
There was a recent article in the Los Angeles Times addressing the growing rate of divorce in later years of marriage.  The article summarizes statistics showing this is a large segment of the divorcing population.  And it continues to increase.pexels-photo The article outlines a number of potential reasons for this growing phenomenon:
  1. As people live longer, there is more years after the children leave the home and retirement to enjoy life.  People find themselves less likely to be complacent and stay in an unhappy relationship that could last for 20 or more years.
  2. As the retiring generation has found more financial success, there are more resources available in later years allowing individuals to feel more comfortable living independently. They also have more resources to enjoy their lives.
  3. Empty nest is a time when parents focus no longer points towards the children and it may coincide with having lost connection with the spouse. So many years of dedication to the children can lead to less time to focus on the marriage.  Once the children leave, there may no longer be a functional marriage.
  4. Parents feel that adult children may cope better with divorce as they have their own lives and means.
  5. Societal comfort and acceptance of divorce has made it more tangible for older adults.
The article outlines the reasons why divorce is happening in the older generation. How they divorce, however, is not discussed. My collaborative practice has also seen an increase in gray divorce clients.  By choosing an efficient, non-adversarial process, clients can preserve their resources and proceed in an amicable manner.  Outcomes are often more easily reached when clients commit to a collaborative process. To learn more about divorce processes regardless of your age, contact me.