Coping With Divorce: An Expert Shares Her Top Tips

Come to terms with the breakdown of a marriage by following these steps.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner released a joint statement yesterday to tell the world that they’ve decided to split.

The news broke just a day after the Hollywood power couple celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary. Ben and Jennifer are parents to Violet, 9, Seraphina, 6, and Samuel, 3.

‘After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce,’ Ben, 42, and Jennifer, 43, confirmed to People on Monday.

‘We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time. This will be our only comment on this private, family matter. Thank you for understanding.’

As sad as it is to say, divorce is not uncommon in today’s society and many people will be going through the same tough situation as Ben and Jennifer right now.

We’ve asked author and behaviour expert, Judi James, to share her top tips for coming to terms with a divorce.

This is what she told us…

1. Be surprised by your emotions but also tolerant of them. There is no such thing as ‘should’ when it comes to the ups and downs of your divorce fallout. You can feel liberated one minute and overwhelmed by grief or anger the next. Only celebrities have such a thing as a ‘truly amicable divorce’ and that’s just the PR spin. Meltdowns and anxieties are far more natural.

2. Go out. You won’t want to, you will just want to curl into a ball, but even if you have had a ghastly time when you are out you have at least kept the momentum going.

3. Don’t let anyone tell you when you should start dating again. No one is an expert on this kind of thing. Do it when it feels right, but remember a date is just a date, not a forensic hunt for a replacement.

4. Stay away from the hairdresser. Divorcees are fond of pitching up and having radical crops and colour-changes with the odd tattoo on the side. This is symbolic of shucking off the ‘old’ you who failed in her marriage but when you look in the mirror she will still be there only with a ghastly hairdo. Paint your nails black instead and use your energy up learning how to rebuild your self-esteem as it will be a more profound and fruitful change.

5. Stop pretending to celebrate if you’re not. Putting on a brave or positive face can help alleviate misery but not if you lie to yourself too.

6. Keep off social media when it comes to your ex. Maintain a dignified silence. No stalking him on Facebook or only going to events so you can post a ‘fun picture’ to make him see that he is missing.

7. Separate your misery and anxiety in a notebook. Fear is a common emotion with divorce and it needs itemising if you’re going to deal with it. Fear of life change, fear of the future, fear of moving property, fear of the loss or re-shuffling of old friends, fear of financial problems, fear of dating again, fear of being lonely…You can deal with all these but only if you square up to each one individually.

8. Don’t keep your divorce a secret at work. Your job should be seen as a refuge from all the emotional turmoil at home but that shouldn’t mean you try to pretend your circumstances haven’t changed. (You’d be surprised how many women lie and pretend they’re still with their partners) If you don’t want to go into details, which is entirely your right, just let colleagues know but say your work won’t be affected and that you’re more than happy to bypass the sympathetic looks and invitations to chat.
 
9. Never have a divorce party, no matter how delighted you are to have survived a bad marriage.

10. Expect to be shocked. Once your split has been announced you’ll be surprised who starts fishing for dates or sex. Opportunists seizing the chance to offer a shoulder to cry on and a hotel bed for the night can easily include husbands of your closest friends.

11. Wait. If you left your husband for another guy don’t commit for at least a few months. The person you have been having naughty illicit sex with might not be the same guy or have the same appeal once you are free to do what you like when you like. You might have actually been divorcing the mundane, settled lifestyle without realising it and rolling into another version might be the wrong thing to do. Before you know it you’ll be living with your lover and having illicit sex with your ex instead.
 

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