With almost half of all American marriages ending in divorce, either you or someone you know will suffer through the sadness of a marriage ending. But when you’re a parent, everything about this horrible time is magnified. The pain will feel tangible and there will be days when it’s difficult to do anything other than get into bed and hide under the covers — even in the middle of day. But “it’s always darkest before the dawn” as the saying goes, and this, along with other silly proverbs, will prove true during this challenging period. In the end it will work out… or it’s not yet the end.
Learning from divorce can be difficult, but our list may make it a little easier.
1. Telling the kids will be one of the hardest moments of your life.
You will inevitably have “the talk,” and that will be scary and sad, and confusing. Then it will happen a couple more times, with more information, and more time that has passed—it will continue to be difficult and sad, and confusing.
2. Once the news is out, people will tell you they had a bad feeling about him for eons.
3. Friends will disappear, take sides, and “un-friend” you on Facebook.
4. Seeing your kids only as the schedule allows will feel like a gunshot to the heart.
And when they leave it will feel like alcohol is being poured into the wound.
5. Sometimes, it’s going to be really hard not to bad-mouth the other parent to your kids.
In Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex, author Richard A. Warshak offers guidance to parents whose exes portray them to their children in a negative light, whether it’s mild, off-the-cuff badmouthing or systematic character assassination. This book can be a bible for some. Warshak provides “a blueprint for an effective response grounded in a solid understanding of the techniques and dynamics of parents who poison their children’s relationships with loved ones.”
6. Money will be a lot tighter… especially if you’re a woman who’s stayed home with the children.
About one in five women fall into poverty as a result of divorce. There are many studies that have been done in the last 10 years, and the results are all similar. Women who go through divorce are on the losing end while men are the ones who complain about being poor. Statistics show that the year after divorce, the man’s income stayed the same or increased. The woman’s dropped significantly. Some recent studies offered statistics showing that even four years after divorce, the divorced women were significantly worse off than the divorced men or the women who never divorced.
7. It Gets Better/Easier/Happier.
8. Co-parenting takes almost as much work as being married.
9. Sometimes your kids take sides.
10. Learning from divorce is work hard, but you will learn a lot.
Go to therapy. And, if you want, perhaps even have a better marriage next time around.