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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting a Divorce

My ex and I met in high school. Although, we were young we knew we would get married. We married shortly after I graduated from college. We started having many disagreements over his family and my need to feel protected by him. I thought once we start having children things would get better. Our son came along almost three years after our marriage and things did not improve. We went to counseling, things improved for a while, then got worse when I got pregnant with our daughter. We separated shortly after she was born, I filed for divorce 8 months later. I am a type A personality I prepare for everything, but I never thought to prepare for divorce.

There are so many things I wish I had known. Every relationship is different, and no two divorces are the same–so not all divorce tips and strategies will apply to you, specifically. Some divorces are acrimonious, while some are amicable. Regardless of your situation, you should be prepared to take care of yourself and your children. Below are some of the most important things I learned from my divorce.

1. Understand that the only way out is through.

Don't expect to heal quickly. Getting divorced is a process that is often slow and painful. For every day that you make progress, there are several when nothing happens at all. For every positive step you take to move towards your goal, there are definitely days that feel like setbacks. Although, I was married for almost 10 years, I did not know how painful divorce was going to be. It took me almost 4 years fully get over my divorce. Listen, there are no shortcuts and you have to grief that loss.

Go easy on yourself and realize this is not a race. Take solace in knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel, I promise you will get though it.

2. Surround yourself with others in your situation who have walked in your shoes.

When all hell break loose you might find your friends and family members can't help or give you any advice if they themselves haven't gone through a divorce. There are so many who are experiencing the same issues or who have been exactly where you are. Use them as a resource to guide you through uncertain times. Talk to other divorced women to get their divorce strategies and ask to see their divorce agreements if possible.

3. Be careful of losing focus at work.

I know it is almost impossible but try to stay private at your place of employment. The hard part is that a lot of “the work” you need to do for your divorce takes place during business hours. Try to find a private space to make calls or make them from your cell phone outside of the office on a lunch break. Don't share too much of your situation with co workers, try your best to focus on your job. When things get really bad, to take some time off to pull yourself together.

4. Make sure you handle your finances

Understand your financial situation and what you have in the bank is key your family's future. Now that you are a single parent, you and your children are most likely are relying mainly on your salary. It is very important you understand your expenses.

5. Start new traditions

After my divorce I had a hard time identifying myself and my two children as a family unit. I always thought a family is composed of a mom, a dad and kids. What were we without a dad? I love traveling and was afraid to travel alone without a husband. The first thing I did to overcome that fear was taking a trip to Florida with the kids, who were very young at the time. It was very difficult traveling with a diaper bag, a stroller, two car seats, luggages, and two children but I did it. Taking that step helped me to know my kids and I are a family. It might not be the nuclear family unit I had envisioned but a family unit just the same. Now we travel all over the world together, just the 3 of us and I really appreciate the special time we have together.

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