In most “traditional” marriages, there is a division of labor. One party typically is in charge of paying the bills, while the other may be responsible for making all the meals or getting the kids to their different activities. In many “modern” marriages, the dividing line may be blurred and responsibilities shared, however, each partner is usually primarily responsible for certain things.
Part of what contributes to the sense of overwhelm during a divorce is the belief that when the marriage ends, the person who was really skilled at A, B, and C, now also has to do D, E, and F with equal aplomb. There is no time for a learning curve. The wheels are already in motion and the party taking on new tasks is supposed to step in without missing a beat.
This is rubbish. And such a false belief puts unnecessary pressure on divorcing parties, increasing their sense of urgency, panic and aloneness.
The good news, and the antidote to such thinking is this: You do not have to do it all yourself. You have certain strengths that you brought to the marital relationship and/or developed therein. Rely on those. Identify the areas of insecurity or weakness, and begin addressing them by securing other resources (other than your ex). There are many places where you can get support.
There are plenty of resources available for all different aspects of your life. There are financial advisors, accountants, bookkeepers who can assist with household books. There are therapists, support groups, social groups – for everything from hiking to dining – which usually have a lot of newly divorced/single people in them. There are a lot of supportive resources, some of which are free or have only minimal associated costs.
Another reason that people get overwhelmed in divorce is biological. In times of crisis, our bodies respond in an emergency mode of fight or flight. In this condition our access to more logical thinking is literally cut off. It’s the logical mind we want to gain access to so that we can think creatively and pull from our own resources as well as seeking those in the environment. Awareness of your current state can begin to help you shift to a more desirable space. Lining up resources so you are supported through this time is something that a mediator can help you with. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to request help.
Were there any resources that were particularly helpful to you during your divorce? Please feel free to share your experience in the “Leave a Reply” section below.