If you are watching “Divorce” and contemplating divorce yourself, this show might have you wondering, “What the hell is wrong with these people?” In the 8th episode, Robert is seemingly taking the divorce extraordinarily well, happy as a lark and moving on with his new single life. Frances is rearranging the house and is excited about a new job prospect… until the 9th episode, where we start to see it all crumble as the lawyers get involved. In every episode we definitely get the feeling that Frances isn’t happy, not really. But wait a minute, wasn’t she the one that asked for the divorce? Shouldn’t she be ecstatic that she’s getting what she wants?
Divorce is never what anyone wants. To have change in our life? Yes, we want that. To be more fulfilled, more content, more…well, to have more? Yes, we want that. But no one, NO ONE wants to go through the actual divorce.
I beg you, if you are contemplating divorce right now, don’t try to put yourself in the shoes of Frances or Robert.
If you are contemplating divorce, I’m sure you are watching out of curiosity (and you should, because I think the show is really hitting some things that are absolutely true about divorce) but you have to understand that (a) this is television, and therefore everything is totally exaggerated, and (b) that every divorce is different and it’s up to you how your’s will unfold.
Divorce is the ultimate unwelcome opportunity.
When faced with this opportunity, any opportunity, you are presented with a choice. Do you take that opportunity and see where it goes? Or do you turn it down and settle for what you know? Perhaps you are wondering what I mean by “opportunity” in the context of divorce?
What opportunity does divorce give you, exactly? Well, you get the chance to….
1. Connect with your kids in new ways. Spending time with your kids changes once you are faced with divorce. You look at that time differently and you tend to want to really connect with them, when you have them. They really need extra TLC right now, too. This is a time to find new things you love to do together, to really listen to their stories and answer their questions in a way that you never have before.
2. Try new things. Frances questions Robert’s new church going ways, to which he replies, “Yeah, I never really saw myself on this path before but…” Yup. Divorce tends to make us reflect on our lives and we often realize there are things out there that we want to try. Maybe you didn’t try them because you didn’t think your spouse would approve – or maybe life was simply too busy with the mundane stuff. Either way, now’s your chance to try something new. Skydiving anyone?
3. Try on a new personality. You get to decide who you want to be in this next chapter, how amazing is that? It will require work, fair warning, but it’s so worth it. If you hate the way you can’t say “no” to anyone, ever, or you really wish you had a career you were proud of…start looking into what you can do to become the person you’d like to see in the mirror. Is there a book to start with? A therapist? Sign up with a coach? Look for a mentor? There are many ways to reinvent ourselves and divorce is the perfect excuse.
4. Do things over with the benefit of hindsight. Remember when we were kids playing ball and something would go wrong, so we’d all holler “Do Over!” And you got to try again? It’s like that. Your next relationship is your do over. You can thoughtfully choose your next partner, because now you know exactly what you don’t want, what you won’t accept, and what you do need.
5. Have sex with someone new. C’mon. It’s a delicious feeling, being flooded with all those intoxicating hormones when you meet someone new whom you are attracted to, isn’t it? Even in the most loving marriages we get into familiar patterns in our sex life… When we are given the chance to be with someone new after divorce it can be exhilarating and a whole lot of fun.
6. Choose to do divorce the healthy way. In the most recent episode, Frances said to Robert, “Just because this isn’t pleasant doesn’t mean this can’t be civil.” She’s 100% right. It does not have to be ugly and this is your chance to ensure that it isn’t destructive for you and your family. This is not to say it will be easy. It will not. But there are ways to go through this experience and maintain your dignity and poise.
What’s the alternative, after all? You could turn down the opportunity of divorce and either stay exactly where you are now — or get dragged through the divorce kicking and screaming, locking yourself into a life of anger and bitterness. Or, you can decide to begin your divorce recovery right now.
What do you choose?
If you are contemplating divorce and unsure how to see this in a positive light, come talk to us. We offer free, 45-minute consultations and we promise you’ll come away from that call with a new perspective — a step, thought or resource that will advance your thinking.