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6 Simple Tips for Coping with Divorce Positively

Life after divorce is often a tricky road to navigate. In many ways, you’re recreating yourself while also potentially dealing with feelings of grief, anger, and stress. It’s for this reason that actress Stephanie March turned to plastic surgery for a self-esteem boost following her divorce from celebrity chef Bobby Flay. Of her decision, March candidly confessed:

“I decided to change my body because I couldn’t change my life.”

Ultimately, March turned out to be allergic to the implants, which ruptured in her chest and were later removed. Unfortunately, many women like March turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms post-divorce. So, how can that desire for change be channeled into healthier ways of dealing with divorce? Consider the following tips for coping with the breakup of a marriage:

1. Give yourself a time-out.

In the weeks immediately following a separation, give yourself a little time-out. Don’t use this time to make any major life decisions like buying a new car, quitting your current job, starting a new job, moving across the country, or indulging in plastic surgery. Instead, allow yourself time and space to adjust to your new normal. There will be plenty of time for decision-making down the road.

2. Stick to your routine.

There’s no doubt about it: divorce disrupts life as you once knew it. To help yourself cope and calm the chaos, try to return to your normal routine as soon as possible, particularly if you have kids. This helps establish a sense of normalcy and provides comfort during uncertain times.

3. Take care of your physical and mental health.

Be kind to yourself when dealing with separation or divorce. Take time to do the things you love—curling up with a good book, eating out at your favorite restaurant, or pampering yourself with a day at the spa. Remember to take care of your physical health, too. That includes eating healthy foods and making an effort to get enough sleep each night. Additionally, make sure that you’re exercising regularly. Exercise, after all, is good for both your physical and mental health. In addition to making you physically fit, exercise releases endorphins, the body’s feel-good hormone, which helps to fight stress and anxiety.

4. Reach out to friends.

In the days and weeks following a painful separation, it can be tempting to isolate yourself from friends and family. However, this is not a healthy way to cope; in fact, social isolation can exacerbate feelings of depression. So, make sure to reach out to trusted friends. Sharing your feelings with people you love is therapeutic and helps reduce feelings of loneliness. You might also consider joining an in-person or online support group for people going through divorce.

5. Explore new hobbies and interests.

Remember that salsa class that you always wanted to take but your ex-spouse hated dancing? Or, that yoga studio that always caught your eye on your way home from the office? Now is the time to explore new interests or reconnect with old hobbies that you enjoyed in your life pre-marriage. So, consider volunteering with an organization close to your heart or signing up for that intramural kickball team.

6. Stay away from drugs and alcohol.

While it might be tempting to indulge in drugs or alcohol to escape from feelings of grief or anger, avoid the urge. Instead, focus on healthier ways to cope with life after divorce. Turning to drugs or alcohol might feel good initially but is a destructive long-term choice.

Are you currently going through a painful separation or divorce? Know that you’re not alone. Learn more about how we can help you navigate the bumpy road of divorce and lead to a healthier, fuller life in the future!

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Understanding the Real Benefit of Forgiveness After Divorce

Forgiving an ex can be one of the toughest things to do, especially when there can be so many reasons to be angry. Even though you may be justified in your anger, you can still benefit greatly from letting it go.

There is a saying that goes, “Acid does more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than to the surface on which it is poured.” This statement is even truer when it comes to harboring anger or resentment. When you carry those negative feelings around with you, they can impact your other relationships, even though you may think you are dealing with the anger just fine. The next thing you know, you have an open door that allows that negativity to seep into every other aspect of your life. It can grow to the point where aren’t able to compartmentalize it anymore. This can leave you feeling constantly angry and helpless to find peace from your pain.

When you hang on to hurt and anger, that harshness and bitterness can bleed over into all the wonderful new experiences you may have. Let’s say you take your children to the zoo. They’ve been looking forward to this trip for quite some time, but once you get there, you find that every little thing is getting under your skin. The kids are running around, full of excitement, talking 100 miles per hour, and you feel like your nerves are not going to be able to handle any more excited activity. The anger and frustration that have been gnawing at you have just cost you precious time with your children that you can never get back.

There is healing in forgiveness. When you are able to come to the realization that forgiving does not equate to condoning a behavior (nor does it say the other person is deserving of your forgiveness), you are the one who will truly benefit. Everyone comes to this realization at their own pace, so don’t feel like you have to reach it overnight; it may take time and work, but you can reach it.

Johns Hopkins has done research into the physical benefits of forgiveness, and the results may surprise you. They start by stating that forgiveness is a conscious action, a choice, that you must make in order to really move on. By choosing to hang on to anger, hurt, or bitterness, you can compromise your immune system, elevate your blood pressure, and increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease. By choosing to forgive, you can enjoy a more stress-free life with less likelihood of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress.

But how do you start to forgive? Well, the article suggests either talking with the person that hurt you or writing about forgiving them. If talking with that individual is not going to be possible or healthy (and it can be very understandable why you wouldn’t want to go that route), then keep a journal where you write about what they did to hurt you, how you feel about it, and how you’re going to start forgiving them for that pain. Write a letter to them about your anger, and then write one to them about why you are forgiving them. You need not send either of these letters, just getting the thoughts written down can help start you on the path to forgiveness.

Forgiveness is generally thought of as a privilege or a gift that someone should ask for—or earn—before receiving. But the truth is, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Holding on to the anger and pain brought on by your divorce is completely normal, but it will not serve you.

If you’re struggling in the painful wake of your divorce, Untangle the Knot is here to help you through the healing process. Your ex may never come to you with an apology, they may never admit they did anything wrong, and they may never show remorse for their actions, but you can still forgive them. Not for their peace of mind, but for your own.

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Conquering Fear Through Divorce: You’ll Get Through This!

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now, we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Fear is one of the most paralyzing emotions that accompanies divorce. Fear of being alone, fear of making a mistake, fear of raising your children as a single parent, fear of making ends meet…the list goes on and on.

Unshakable fear is oftentimes a result of facing the unknown. Divorce is full of unknowns which is one of the reasons it is so terrifying. Everything in your life that has been your foundation is suddenly on shaky ground. You don’t know what to do next and you don’t know where your life is going.

How will things be when you are just you again? Will you like who you are? Will you be able to take care of yourself and your family? Will you ever be happy again? Each of these questions just led to more, and before you know it, you’re under the covers again, crying into your pillow, and wondering when things are going to get better. That’s the bad news. The good news is it won’t last forever.

Looking on the Bright Side

Although it does not seem like it right now, there are so many good things going for you. You are alive. You are breathing. You have eyes to see and ears to hear. You have hands to reach out for help when you need it, and there are a million other qualities that are so unique to you that you won’t find the exact characteristics in anyone else in the world.

Your unique talents, your kindness, your way of picking yourself up and dusting yourself off—these are all powerful reminders, telling you, “You are ok. Right in this moment. Right in this circumstance. You are achieving the impossible. You are living. You are alright, and you will be alright tomorrow.” By constantly reminding yourself of the positive forces in your life, you’ll be able to slowly shift your perspective to see the brighter side of things.

Moment By Moment, Day by Day

Overcoming fear happens by moments. By recognizing that you are okay right this second, you can reassure yourself that you’ll probably be OK the next too. Before long, those seconds turn to minutes. Minutes turn to hours, hours to days, days to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years, until one day you wake up and realize you did it. You aren’t afraid. You made things happen. You did all those things you said you couldn’t do, and you are better for it. You are stronger for it. You are.

When You Cannot Stop the Inner Voices

If you are playing that inner monologue right now, wondering, “Am I enough? Am I going to be alright? Am I ever going to be happy again? Am I still just as wonderful inside and out as the day we got married?” then let me tell you the truth. YOU ARE. You are going to get through this. YOU ARE—because that’s just what you do, and being here, looking for help, and reaching for it with both hands, that says something. It says that you are vulnerable yet brave, and it says that you have the drive it takes to keep moving forward, to keep journeying on, and to discover that you are not ever, ever alone in this.

Giving you a lifeline to help you through your fear is one of the reasons I created Untangle The Knot — To provide you the guidance and support you need to move through this most difficult time and into your next chapter. You are going to be okay!

I hope you will take a moment to see what I can offer you for support. I truly want you to live the life that you imagined –even if that story looks a little different than it did before. Together we can overcome fear and move ever closer to the happiness that is just around the corner!

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Some Good Decisions Before, During, and After My Divorce

There were a number of things I did wrong in my divorce, from taking on 65 percent of the debt load to not asking for any form of support. However, it turns out there were a number of things I did that turned out right. Hindsight really is 20-20, and perhaps my clearer perspective today can bring you comfort in the decisions you make tomorrow.

What I Did Right Before Leaving

  • I waited until I could finally look at him and think, “I’d rather die alone than live with you for the rest of my life.” I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way; I didn’t hate him, I just finally didn’t want him anymore. After leaving, I beat myself up for waiting so long. But now I know, if I had left before that, I would have always wondered if I’d made the right choice. Today, I have zero regrets.
  • I practiced living without him. About eight months before I left him, I got a job as a flight attendant. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for everyone; it’s not nearly as glamorous as it is in the movies. However, what it did was help me understand that I was perfectly fine being alone. I was staying in hotels by myself in strange cities three to five nights a week, and I was okay. In the end, the experience made leaving him a whole lot less scary.

During my Divorce

  • I kept everything as emotion-free as possible. While love and hate are opposites of each other, they’re still just flip sides of the same coin. When you let go of those emotions, it’s so much easier to part with the things you must and keep what’s necessary. During the divorce process, many people get hung up on material things, when what’s actually important is that you (or you and your kids) are financially okay.
  • I left while I held the power in the relationship. In 1938, Willard Waller, a sociologist, invented the term “The principle of least interest.” Throughout my marriage, there was always an imbalance. Basically, throughout most of the time I lived with him, I had no power to change the situation, as I was more emotionally invested in him than he was in me. Once I left, he thought I would change my mind and come back, as I had so many times before. But, because my mind was in a powerful place, I never once thought about returning.

After It Was Done

  • I dated a guy with the same problem. Okay so this may not sound like a good idea. But, the first man I dated after I left my ex-husband turned out to have exactly the same issue—complete and utter emotional availability. However, I recognized the issue a whole lot faster (after two dates) and was able to break it off, long before it got very serious and with very little pain on either side. It helped me realize I could trust my instincts again—because the chances of that becoming a long-term relationship were way below zero.
  • I was myself first, last, and always: No matter the circumstances, the end of a marriage feels like a personal failure. I blamed part of that on trying to be what someone else thought I should be for many years. This made me utterly determined that, if there were another relationship, I would not make the mistake of trying to change myself for them. I’ve been married for quite some time to my second husband, and there were no surprises for either of us after marriage, as he’s on his second marriage too. When you both make the other laugh, and continue to be intrigued and in love, those power scales balance quite nicely.

The hardest part about all of it—before, during, and after—was that I felt really alone and unsupported through most of the divorce, the adjustment afterward, and the dating process. Just bringing myself to the point of leaving took a couple years. There was so much advice I needed as I worked through it on my own, yet no one to turn to in a strange town, in a new job. The online and personal support provided by Untangle The Knot would have helped a lot!

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Best Friend Untying the Knot? Throw a Divorce Shower

Did your best friend wed the wrong guy? Has your sister’s marriage come to a not-so-merry conclusion? Divorce is a life altering and painful event, but a happy life and new beginning awaits on the other side. Girls get together to have fun when one of their friends is about to become a bride, right? Expectant mothers are celebrated with fabulous showers. Divorce may not be the happiest sort of new beginning, but it’s still a new start and can be an exciting time in a woman’s life.

Granted, a post-marital bash may not be every divorcee’s proverbial cup of tea. Some women need time to mourn their marriage in solitude. Some newly unmarried women would prefer a weekend alone on a sunny beach with a good book to any sort of revelry. Some women want to get right back to work and pretend it never happened. That’s alright, too. But if you have a divorcing friend who’s up for a jolly good time, by all means do put together a festive celebration.

Plan a divorce party that suits your friend’s mood and style. In some cases, a quiet girls night in with tasty snacks and a few female-empowering, divorce-themed movies is the right way to go. First Wives ClubShe Devil, and Waiting to Exhale are fun choices.

If your newly single friend is the type who likes to dance and carouse, arrange a girls night out at a nice local nightclub. Share a table, and don’t wait for men to ask you to dance. Go ahead and take over the dance floor, if you like. It can be a lot of fun! Unless one member of the party wishes to be a designated, non-drinking driver, have the hostess call a cab or arrange for an Uber driver to take everyone home after the festivities.

Gifts for the guest of honor are always a good idea. Unless your friend lost a lot of household possessions during her divorce and needs to replenish those things, a gift registry is not generally required the way it might be for a baby shower. Presents can be useful things, but just-for-giggles gifts are much more fun to give and receive.

Some very successful divorce parties involve a visit to Las Vegas. If you and your friends can get away for a long weekend in Sin City, do it. Las Vegas offers a remarkable range of attractions and shows that are sure to keep your newly single friend’s mind off her just-ended marriage. Properties that specialize in singles packages include the off-Strip Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the Venetian Resort, and the trendy Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Each boasts one or more nightclubs on-site, so you can revel ’til your hearts content and never venture far from the hotel.

According to DivorcePartyIdeas, the best divorce parties occur shortly after the ink is dry on the final dissolution papers. A great divorce party can give a newly unmarried woman a fresh sense of vitality as she embarks on the next phase of her life.

Please bear in mind the fact that a divorce party should never be a surprise to the guest of honor. The divorcee being feted should always have the deciding vote, as far as timing, venue, and guest list are concerned.

We understand that divorce is not a lot of fun, and we don’t mean to make light of a sorrowful situation. It’s incredibly painful on levels nobody can understand unless they have traveled through it. Trust us, we’ve been there. We merely suggest that when divorce is inevitable, take a pause to have some fun and connect with your friends. Put on your prettiest party dress, take a deep breath, and enjoy a divorce celebration.

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How to Break Up Like An Adult

The break-up–it can be good, bad or ugly. Or a little of all three. We’ve all experienced break-ups–everything from those first middle school “romances” and high school loves to long-term relationships and marriages. While the middle school and high school relationships seemed so traumatizing and “real” at the time, telling your spouse you want a divorce or ending a long-term relationship is a very tough thing to do–for both of you; this is when all this business of being an adult might just make you want to revert to those simple days of school romances–can’t you just have your best friend pass a scribbled note to your soon-to-be ex during math class saying it’s over and you’re sorry? Yes, in this day and age of texting, Tinder and Twitter, things like that still actually happen in a slightly different form. But when another human gives you his or her heart and their life, you owe them a dignified ending. You’ll feel better about yourself in the process, and you will be more likely to salvage a co-parenting relationship or friendship going forward. Let’s explore some real-life scenarios–I’ll start by leading with some bad examples.

Here’s what not to do:

Settlement Option A, B or C

It was just another ordinary evening for this couple, who had been married for 12 years and had a toddler and a newborn. Unfortunately, not unlike many other evenings, the bickering began. This time, he decided he had enough and left. Three days went by, and the wife finally heard from him, albeit indirectly. A family friend called her to let her know that her husband had retained him as his divorce attorney, and he was requested to provide her with three settlement options from which she could choose. This is how she learned she was getting a divorce from the man she had put through school and supported through his career. She later learned he had left her for his mistress. Four months later, the couple was divorced, and he married his mistress shortly thereafter.

iMessage Sent

Their love affair was fast and furious, and they spent every free minute of the day and night together of their two-year relationship. Their friends thought they were the perfect couple, and they regularly discussed their future together. Until one Saturday morning. He left to run some errands, and she went to work out. They were planning on getting back together in a few hours. He received a text from her, which he initially assumed was her letting him know she was on her way. Instead, the words left him cold. She didn’t love him. She wanted out. iMessage sent and message definitely received, with zero closure and leaving him to not only deal with the pain of the relationship ending, but the truly disrespectful, unfeeling manner in which she chose to end it.

You’ve Got Mail

After a couple of years together, he had to relocate for a job he couldn’t refuse. Unfortunately, she couldn’t go at that time. They knew their relationship was something special, and they didn’t want to let it go. They continued on for several more years, but the timing was never right for them to be together. Finally, on one of their too few visits, they made a plan. He was moving back, and they would start their lives together. Marriage was in their future. A few days after he left, he went dark. She called, emailed and texted, with no response. Then, on Monday afternoon, he sends her an email explaining that he’s going through “some things” and she should move on. Quite the unceremonious ending to a 10-year relationship that was on the cusp of marriage.

These are all true stories, as unbelievable and heart-breaking as they may sound. Hopefully none of these stories resonate with you, from either perspective! Let’s talk about doing the right thing–about being an adult and respectful of yourself and your partner. Relationships run their course and may come to an end. Feelings, circumstances and people may change. It happens. However, I’d encourage you to make the parting as respectful as possible. Whether you are married, living together or simply in a committed relationship, your relationship deserves an appropriate ending.

Six Tips for a Mature and Respectful Break-Up Conversation

  • Don’t Lie – There is no need to be unnecessarily harsh, but be wary of hiding behind a white lie to spare the feelings of the person receiving the news. Chances are, he or she will learn the truth and will feel worse as a result.
  • Choose the Right Time and Place – Telling him you don’t love him any more on his birthday in your favorite restaurant is not the right time or place. Pick a neutral location, a place where, if things get emotional, you won’t be the center of attention. Allow time for questions to be asked, versus having to rush off to another commitment as soon as you deliver the news.
  • Avoid Piling On – Try to be sensitive to what is going on in his or her life. Is he struggling with a medical issue, or is she dealing with the loss of a loved one, having serious issues with a child or did someone lose a job? I’m not recommending you stay around if the issue will take some time to resolve, however, try to break the news when the stress is at a lower point.
  • Do It In Person – Very few circumstances make anything other than a face-to-face discussion remotely acceptable. You once loved this person and he or she loves you. Show some basic respect and have the conversation in person like an adult.
  • Be Empathetic and Respectful – This situation is difficult enough without making it worse by being insensitive. Put yourself in his or her shoes, and talk to them as you would want for yourself.
  • Talk Logistics – If you are living together, and especially if you are married, you’ll need to talk about who will be moving out. Perhaps you can offer to leave for a few days to let the other person get their feet under them while you jointly decide on the right path.

This is obviously the tip of the iceberg if you are married, especially if you have children. If a divorce discussion is in your future, please learn more about how Untangle The Knot can support you through it. Among many other resources, you’ll receive helpful information and scripts for telling your spouse you want a divorce and scripts and other considerations for telling your children about your divorce. Ending any relationship is hard work; doing it the right way may be even harder, but in the end, it’s the best way.

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7 Tips for Telling Your Teenager You’re Getting a Divorce

Telling your children that you are getting divorced is undoubtedly one of the toughest things you will ever do. How you have this conversation and the points you make are critical, as it sets the tone for things to come. There are general best practices that apply to children of every age, but teenagers require extra empathy and support, because being a teenager is already hard enough.

  1. Pick the right time. The news will be shattering, so find an evening where you don’t have anything scheduled and ideally before a weekend, so your child has a few days to process and be sad and angry without obligations.Try to avoid special days such as birthdays and holidays.
  2. You both need to be there. If possible, both parents should be present to have the conversation. This will show your teenager that you are both on the same page and there to support him or her.
  3. Be honest. Explain that you both tried very hard to fix the marriage, but you weren’t able to make it work.
  4. Reassure them. Make it clear that the divorce isn’t their fault, and there is nothing they can do to change it. Tell your child that you both love him or her and that will never change. Say it again.
  5. Give them the facts. Let your teenager know where each parent will live and what to expect in terms of seeing each parent. Inform your child of what will change and what will remain the same in his or her day-to-day schedule.
  6. Don’t point fingers. Avoid blaming the other parent. The more your teenager sees you working together and collaborating, the easier the process will be.
  7. Validate your child’s feelings. Let your child know you understand how sad and difficult this is and that their feelings make total sense. Affirm that both of you are there to support him or her through this transition

What happens in the days following the conversation is equally important. If possible, it’s helpful for both parents to remain in the same house for a couple of weeks. Research has shown that this action, as difficult as it may be, has a high likelihood of decreasing feelings of abandonment that children can develop through divorce. While your physical presence is important, your interactions with your child are even more important. Consider this quote from Gary Neuman, LMHC, founder of the renowned Sandcastles Divorce Therapy Program and author of Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way.

“The truth is, children can and do live happily after divorce. Unquestionably, families who encourage love, trust and open communication are better prepared to meet the challenges than those who do not.”–Gary Neuman, LMHC

It’s common for children of all ages to experience feelings of guilt, anger, sadness and being conflicted. Encouraging an environment of open communication and to listening beyond the words they are actually saying will help your child to feel greater security. Focus on actively listening, mirroring, validating and empathizing. This will help your teenager feel supported and understood. For more information on this technique and sample scripts for having the conversation, sign up now for your Untangle The Knot subscription.

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Surviving Valentine’s Day; During and After Divorce

If you’re divorced, contemplating divorce or going through divorce, the pink and red decorations, candy and cards that have overtaken an entire aisle in the grocery store (and the airwaves) as soon as the Christmas decorations disappeared could be enough to make you want to tell Cupid and his minions to shove it. But before you get caught up in all of that, take a moment to reflect on past Valentine’s Days; were they really that great? As my marriage was in its final chapters,  I remember standing in that dreaded card aisle trying to pick the perfect one that defined my marriage or relationship with my now ex-husband… I sure wasn’t feeling the cards that said “you’re the love of my life” or “I can’t wait to tear your clothes off”. I’d shuffle through my options, becoming more and more depressed, until I found a card that was blank inside with a cute dog on the front. There. That would work for now. Sound familiar? I’m sure I’m not alone in this one!

So, it’s quite possible that your past Valentine’s Days as a couple weren’t all that great either. Instead of succumbing to this overly commercialized quasi-holiday, and wallowing in misery because Hallmark thinks you should be spending the day on a bed of roses, serenaded by verses of original poetry, followed up by an extravagant dinner and jewelry that costs more than three month’s salary, do what makes you happy. As the saying goes, being alone for the right reasons is far better than being with someone for the wrong reasons. Use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to love yourself. If you have kids, arrange a dinner date with them at their favorite restaurant or celebrate with another fun activity you all love to do. If you’re on your own, embrace the positives of that. Sleep in and pamper yourself with a massage or pedicure. Buy yourself a present. Get a workout in. Grab some friends and have an anti-Valentine’s Day dinner or brunch. All of this applies to men going through divorce as well. Declare your independence from Hallmark (and that dreaded card aisle), grab some buddies and hit the slopes or the links, or enjoy a night out on the town.

Whatever you decide to do (and it’s completely within your right to do absolutely nothing or wallow just a teeny tiny little bit), use this day as an opportunity to treat yourself right—to truly love yourself and the person you have become. Visit Untangle the Knot’s Physical and Spirit sections for ways you can get active and nourish your body and soul– all are excellent ways to pamper yourself from the inside out. You can also treat yourself to a session with our Life Coach, for guidance on how you can live your best post-divorce life.

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Blindsided by Divorce? Steps to Take Now

It may have began like any other day, until your world as you thought you knew it is shaken to its very core. Your spouse wants a divorce. He’s unhappy and wants out, and he decides to deliver this news to you as you’re heading out to take the kids to school. She had an affair and informs you via text on your way to a meeting. You didn’t see it coming. You thought everything was fine, right? You may have just chosen not to really see it, whatever it was. You could be feeling total shock, venomous outrage, complete devastation or all of those feelings within a 5-minute period. You may also feel relieved in a way. If you really let yourself think about it, you probably knew something was wrong.

Even though you may be falling to pieces (while the rest of the world seemingly goes about its business), there are actions we encourage you to take so that you can gain control over the situation when your spouse tells you he or she wants a divorce. Please don’t think these steps don’t apply to you, because your spouse feels “so guilty” and wouldn’t do anything else to you. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. It happens more than you would think, especially if there is a new love interest involved. Protect yourself, and remember that knowledge is power. Here’s how to start when your spouse tells you he or she wants a divorce:

  1. Call upon your support network – Who are the one or two trusted friends who will really be there for you when things are tough? The girlfriend who will not only show up with wine and Haagen Dazs at any hour of the night but will drag your butt to yoga class, watch your kids and help you march through the tasks ahead. The buddy who gets you out to watch a game or play a round of golf and listens to you vent, but who will make sure you tackle the action items on your to-do list and approaches your situation with a balanced approach. Keep in mind that the person who just bashes your ex won’t be most helpful here, as good as it may feel to do at points!
  2. Open a checking account – Open a checking account immediately with your name only. If you are working, immediately have your paychecks deposited into the new account. Transfer some funds from your current checking to the new one. Be sure to leave enough to cover any automatic payments and money for your spouse as well. Remember, your spouse could withdraw every penny right now from any joint accounts if he or she wanted to! You need to make sure you have some money to live, but don’t withdraw more than a reasonable sum or it could come back to haunt you.
  3. Gather important documents – You’ll want to have all key documents in a safe place. This includes statements for credit cards, bank and investment accounts, passports (especially for your kids), marriage certificates, birth certificates, social security statements, etc. You may want to store some electronically, such as a USB drive or on a service such as Drop Box. A Safe Deposit Box would be a good option for passports.
  4. Talk with a therapist – If you already have a therapist, call him or her now! Otherwise, now is a great time to start seeing one. A therapist can help you manage the intense emotions you are feeling so you can function through the process a little more clearly.
  5. Consult a lawyer – An initial consultation with a lawyer will give you guidance on your next steps and show you what to expect based on the laws of your state in terms of temporary orders you may need, child custody and a financial settlement.
  6. Tell your kids – You’ll need to tell your kids about the divorce. Hopefully both parents can deliver this message together. Ideally, both parents will stay in the same house for a week or two after telling the kids to help make they feel more secure, however this isn’t always possible.
  7. Take precautions for your kids – Tell your children’s teachers and principal. Schools often have support groups for children of divorce, and the school counselor can make special efforts to reach out. The principal can help you with guarding against any issues of potential kidnapping from the other spouse. Unfortunately, this does happen, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

This is an incredibly difficult time for anyone, and we know the last thing you want to think about is running to the bank and opening a new checking account. However, it’s so important to protect your money, legal rights and children in the midst of all of these big changes. Sign up now for your Untangle The Knot subscription to gain instant access to the complete In Case of Emergency Guide for much more information on what actions you should take now and how to complete them. Untangle The Knot offers many more resources to help you through this, including guides to finding a therapist and lawyer, scripts for how to tell the kids about divorce. With your free trial, you’ll also have access to a free consultation with our divorce coach to get you on the right path and help with going through a divorce. You are not alone. Let us help you through your journey.

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New Year, New You: 5 Wellness Tips for Coping with Divorce

As you welcome the new year, it’s also a time to reflect upon the past year. If you’re on this site, most likely a lot of your thoughts center on the state of your relationship–the good, the bad, the ugly. You could be thinking about when to divorce or going through it, but now it’s time to look toward the future. Your New Year’s resolutions and goals may involve some very hefty, life-changing decisions. The term “New Year, New You” brings on an entirely different meaning; life as you know it may be evolving into something brand new. But while you’re dealing with all this “stuff”, don’t forget to remember the most important thing: taking care of yourself.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, maybe eating an occasional vegetable or two and moving your body, you are making it that much more difficult to tackle the big decisions in your future. It is so easy for your physical health to decline when the stress level increases, but this is a time of building strength–inner strength and physical strength. As you think about your resolutions and goals for 2015, be sure to include some that will help you stay on track physically to help you in coping with divorce. Here are five ideas:

  1. Sign up for an exercise class–this is a great way to get motivated about exercise in a group setting.
  2. If you’re already working out regularly, challenge yourself. Sign up for an adventure race, 5K, 10K, half-marathon or more.
  3. Cut back on fast food. It’s expensive and adds inches to your waistline.
  4. Get technical. Invest in one of the many fitness trackers available. Many will track your steps, sleeping habits and heart rate–all of these will help you stay motivated and on top of your fitness goals.
  5. Drink up. Water, that is. Try to get eight glasses of water a day. Keep a water bottle with you at all times.

Take a moment to get inspired by these ideas, and brainstorm additional ways you can truly take care of yourself physically during a time when you need to be your strongest. Many more tips and additional helpful information about the importance of physical health during this pivotal time in your life is available with your Untangle The Knot subscription — learn more!

Gretchen Ferraro, UTK Editor and Wellness Expert

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