The Unwanted Divorce

In many of the divorces I mediate, it is clear to me that one party wants the divorce far more than the other.  Or certainly, one is further down the road of acceptance than the other.  In NJ, public policy is that we do not force people to remain in a marriage/partnership that one party wants out of.

Some parties come into mediation thinking that there is still a chance for reconciliation.  In some cases, there is a reconciliation (thanks to improved communications via the intervention of the mediator), but that is not the bluntly stated goal of divorce mediation.  I can certainly help out with marital mediation if that is what the couple wants.  But often, there is no reconciliation and one spouse needs to deal with an unwanted divorce.

Dealing with the Unwanted Divorce

Here are a few tips for healing and dealing with an unwanted divorce:

  1. Prepare for a Grieving Process.  Divorce is analogous to losing a loved one except he/she is still living and you may still have to deal with him/her, particularly if you have children together.  The grieving process (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) has been well defined and people travel through it at different paces.  Reviewing the process can be helpful.
  2. Come to Terms with How Marriages End.  All marriages end, either via death of a spouse or divorce.
  3. Focus on Self-Love.  Work on yourself.  Find true happiness that is not dependent upon someone else.
  4. Find Supportive Relationships.  Do not go through this all by yourself.  Seek out supportive family and friends or even support groups for divorcing people.
  5. Focus on Important Life Goals.
  6. Enjoy the Idea of Finding Someone Else.  You are not defined by your divorce and your life is not over — it is only changing, which is mostly what life is about.  Life is certainly not static.  Around half of all marriages end in divorce, so it is commonplace.  You have traits that attracted your spouse to you in the first place.  Do mind the advice of Dr. Joy Browne, who says to wait a year before entering a serious relationship to give yourself time to heal.
  7. Take Care of Yourself.  As the old expression states, living well is the best “revenge.”  Be you.  Do things you enjoy and try not to dwell on what you are going through any more than necessary.
  8. Go on a Trip.  If you can afford it (and there are a lot of ways to travel cheaply or even for free), get away to a place that you love or have always wanted to explore.

If you are really struggling, please seek out a mental health professional.  You do not need to go through this alone, without support and in pain.

Mediation can also be helpful as it makes the divorce process much smoother and less adversarial.  Contact me to learn more about divorce mediation.