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How to Divorce From Your Spouse and Keep Your Integrity

If you’re currently considering or possibly going through a divorce, you’re probably wondering how assets and debts will be split. However, a more important question may come up as you and your spouse enter this new stage of your life and relationship. That question is how to divorce while maintaining your identity and core values. 

A divorce may cause you to question things you once thought unshakeable, from your personal relationships with your own children and other relatives to your own identity. Because a divorce can threaten your personal sense of security, you may also find yourself constantly on the defense and saying things and behaving in ways you never imagined. 

What can help you during this difficult period is to utilize a combination of clear communication strategies, avoiding arguments, and maintaining your core values rather than violating them in the heat of an angry moment. 

Here are some tips regarding how to divorce while maintaining your integrity. 

Remember that divorce affects everyone involved. 

When you first tell your children that you and their father are divorcing, they will likely be very confused, disappointed, and just like you, apprehensive about what their future will look like. 

They will probably have lots of questions, including wondering where they’re going to live and who they’re going to live with, and how often they’re going to see their parents. 

While it can be challenging to manage your children’s fears and expectations, it would be best to help them manage their emotions with lots of compassion towards them and for your spouse.

Understanding that your entire family will all be experiencing the disappointment that occurs when a marriage breaks down can help you have compassion for everyone involved. Having compassion can help dissipate any resentment or hostility you feel towards your spouse during this difficult time. Plus, your kids will view you as a source of strength and emotional calmness which will help them to better navigate through this difficult period.  

Be clear. 

If you have decided you want to end the marriage then you need to clearly communicate this decision with your spouse. Of course, if you prefer to continue to work further on the marriage through joint or single counseling sessions, then you should communicate this clearly as well.

It’s important to articulate your decisions and the steps you’re willing to take towards that goal, in order to prevent the creation of false hopes or unrealistic expectations. Consequently, if and when the marriage does end, there will be less friction and less animosity during divorce proceedings. 

Being clear about your decision and the next steps will also help you establish boundaries that protect you and everyone involved in the divorce. 

Avoid fighting.

Ideally, for the sake of your sanity and the emotional health of everyone involved in the divorce, you and your spouse will work out the divorce terms amicably. 

It’s not worth the cost to your emotional health to engage in a costly war regarding every conflict in your divorce. In some cases, your spouse may be the contentious party, intent on punishing you for the divorce. In those situations, a reasonable attorney and an experienced therapist can help you get through the divorce process.

Don’t forget that if your children witness fighting between you and your spouse, they too may feel under attack and vulnerable. Regardless of the unscrupulous behaviors your spouse may have indulged in, resist the urge to tell your children about them as this is harmful to them. Rather than involve your children in the divorce negotiations and process, you should shield them from any disparaging comments about your spouse.

And don’t forget that when it comes to court, most judges do not care about the unscrupulous behaviors your spouse has participated in –unless they’re illegal. The judge’s job in your divorce is to make sure the division of assets and debts is equitable, and that the children’s best interests are served. 

Take responsibility.

While shutting yourself off from the outside world may seem tempting during a divorce, it won’t help you in the long run. 

It’s completely understandable that you may want to hide in bed and avoid confronting important decisions during your divorce. A divorce is oftentimes overwhelming life event. However, the outcomes of the divorce will have a lasting effect on your future, so you should not continue along as a passive observer.

Instead, you should try to take control and become an active participant in the process. You’ll want to listen to the recommendations and advice of your attorney and therapist, if you have one. Ultimately, you’ll need to make your own decisions. Only you can decide what is best for you in this situation. 

If you actively participate in the divorce process and understand all the decisions you have to make, the divorce will take less time, cost less money, and cause less emotional pain, which will result in a better outcome for you and your children, if any.

Focus on your long-term goal. 

It can often be difficult to endure the divorce process when there may already be so much animosity built up from years of resentment and fighting. The key to reducing emotional harm and fighting is to focus on the long-term goals of the divorce.

The less you focus on having to be right or winning every point, the faster the process will end, and you can begin the next chapter of your life. 

Plus, staying focused on the bigger picture and your goals will help ensure that you will achieve a settlement that will best serve you and your children in the future.

Stay in your integrity. 

It’s critical to maintain your values and standards during a divorce, no matter how your spouse might try to push your buttons. After all, you may already be facing displacement of your identity due to the divorce. Violating your own standards of behavior will only cause you more emotional pain, and separate you even further from your own sense of identity.

You will not regret maintaining your values during the divorce process. Do your best to keep the details of your divorce settlement and proceedings to yourself. Definitely do not share these details with your children and don’t bad mouth your spouse to your children. 

As difficult as it may seem, you need to take the higher road during the divorce. Doing so is actually a form of self-care because it helps prevent the emotional roller coaster, and puts you in a better position to make clear, rational decisions about your future during the divorce process. 

Remaining calm, managing your emotions, and taking the higher road will help prevent a divorce from ruining the rest of your life. 

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