Your spouse informed you that he wants to leave your marriage. You were not totally blindsided, but it still felt like a stomach punch that knocked the wind out of you. Your marriage has had some major ups and downs in the past six months, but you thought you could work things out. Your spouse does not think so.
Life-changing news like this has a way of making you do and feel a number of things. Panic, hurt, anger, distrust and confusion to name a few. Your spouse has asked you for a divorce. Now, what do you do? The answer: You simply must protect and take care of yourself and your children.
Seek support, guide your children
The crucial thing to do in this situation is to act. It may be tempting to languish in sadness, but that could lead to depression. Once you have learned that your spouse wants a divorce, among the initial and helpful steps to take include:
- Get support: Separation and divorce represent one of the biggest life challenges. How will you deal with this? Consider seeking counseling from therapists. Talk with your religious leader if you have one. Turn to trusted family and friends.
- Make your children the No. 1 priority: Your children will be going through a divorce, too. While anger, tantrums and bouts of sullenness may occur, continue to love them unconditionally. Help them through this, too. Listen to them and avoid making disparaging remarks about their other parent.
- Focus on your mental and physical health: Meditate and seek support as mentioned in the first step. Also, physical exercise can be beneficial. You can accomplish a lot of thinking while walking, jogging, hiking, lifting weights and even while doing yardwork. You need these helpful outlets.
- Seek financial and legal insight from professionals: Turn to a financial adviser to understand your assets as well as pointers on creating budgets and investing when you are on your own. An experienced attorney who focuses on family law will guide you, helping you understand the divorce process along with matters related to child custody, child support, alimony and division of assets.
A new life awaits you, and you may not have expected it to turn out this way. However, this represents a fresh beginning. Remember to take care of yourself and your loved ones. In time, you will overcome these challenges.