When you make the decision to uncouple, it not only affects you, your partner, and the children but everyone whose lives will be changed by the separation. Everyone who related to you as a couple, from extended family, friends, business associates and co-workers, and neighbors. Your close circle may go through their own grieving process as they experience feelings of loss. They may take sides and villainize the other person from the end of the relationship. Or they can feel trapped in the middle and completely avoid both of you so they do not have to pick a side.
While it may feel like the world is spinning off it’s axis, you do have control about what you say and who you say it to. Friends that made great confidants before divorce may not be able to offer you the same type of support after the decision is made. It is important to take stock and realize if people who mean well are actually making you feel worse.
The Social Divorce: Kids
If there are children involved, it is especially important that a legal battle is avoided. Children who whose parents have high conflict divorces tend to have lingering negative feelings from their parents uncoupling. Turning your partner into an adversary tends to hurt the children the most. The marital conflict spills into daily life and can escalate to never-ending court battles.
Thankfully, there are many good resources out there to help families navigate the more challenging aspects of divorce. Many people have found help with counselors while others prefer the group dynamic of divorce support classes such as www.divorcesupport.com. They even offer a class for children to attend while their parent seeks solace in the group. When I was going through my separation, I found the weekly meetings from Divorce Support incredibly helpful. It was so relieving to hear about other’s journey and we were able to relate to one another.
The Social Divorce: Family and Friends
While you and your family are at the center of the divorce, extended family and friends can have very strong feelings. Family members especially tend to be a hotbed of reactivity. Normally, your family will be quite protective and defend you while your spouse’s family will take the opposite side. People are looking for a place to lay the blame; if you are the leaving party, it is possible that even your own family will be upset with you.
Close friends may have similar reactions to your family members. Friends that you and your partner spent time with as a couple may be unsure of how to act know that you are a solo. Their reactions will be impacted by how they view marriage and what they want out of life. It is possible they witnessed the reasons why the divorce occurred. Perhaps they witnessed the emotional outbursts or the difficulties. Somewhere along the road, they became invested in your relationship and will have their own feelings. It is important to remember that they can influence the divorce. They may offer (unwanted) advice or much wanted support. If they take sides and begin to blame one of you, it can make things worse and cause a long and costly divorce.
The Social Divorce: The Solution
Mediation and collaborative divorce offer you the ability to retain control of the divorce process and to keep other people out of it. You and your partner have the final say in any agreement while addressing each of the four aspects of divorce. If there are frustrating family members or close friends that are causing problems, that can be addressed in the mediation process. This is something that ligated divorce cannot address as it views each party as an adversary to beat. It is even possible to involve older children and respected family member in the process so they became a part of the solution rather than a problem. That’s why I like alternative dispute resolutions, they preserve the relationship of the family while conserving resources. They seek win-win outcomes that help the family move as smooth as possible to the next chapter of life.
If you would like to replace fear with facts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402.430.3092 to schedule a free 30-minute conversation today!
Please note: This is general knowledge and is not tax/ legal/ or financial advice. Work with your professional team to find out what is best for you.