Navigate:

Establishing Your Divorce Support Network

Take the first small step and activate your support network now. You can’t be sure when you’ll really need help, except that you’re certain to need help if you’re not ready. Ventilate your feelings with your friends. Find out what they’ve managed to survive. Get some homespun tips on what has worked for others. You’ll feel better and keep your divorce on track.

Women generally are more experienced and comfortable in dealing with interpersonal problems. Men may become immobilized, blocked from problem solving. Although women may have the role of emotional caretaker by default, it is their strength at times like this. A man will have to work especially hard merely to catch up to a woman in a time of domestic crisis. She probably calls upon a well-established network while he’s learning to share troubled feelings with his fishing or football buddies.

Don’t forget what you’re looking for: a support network. It’s just not smart to look for a new romantic relationship now. While it may be an exciting and wonderful diversion, it also may mean more problems for you to deal with. You have all you need already; don’t add to them by making your spouse jealous.

Jumping from one relationship to another increases the chances of making a mistake in picking a partner. You’ve haven’t taken time to find yourself. You haven’t even finished the relationship you already have; your marriage doesn’t end just because you file for divorce. There’s a lot of emotional and financial business to take care of. The longer the marital relationship that you are ending, the more time it will take to establish your separate identity.

Ideally, you should have your support network in place before you leave home. When you walk out, you give up a vital source of security and comfort in your life. Have friends to fall back on, to make you feel welcomed and accepted.

Of course it’s the quality, not the quantity, of friends that is important. One good friend makes a world of difference when the going is tough. Denise knew Bart would make the divorce difficult; he’d always been domineering and controlling, and surely wouldn’t be happy about not getting his way. Denise’s close friend helped her get up the courage to come in to talk. In fact, she came in with Denise for the first two or three meetings. Throughout the lengthy proceeding, Denise could always turn to her for support.

Seek out caring and sympathetic companionship among your peers. Putting more energy into your relationship with your children is no substitute for adult companionship; you must keep a healthy balance. Have someone who can laugh with you and get you back on track when you get weird ideas.