I knew my husband of 20 years well and sensed that my marriage had issues that we needed to address. Even so, I felt blindsided when he raised the subject of divorce.
In hindsight, of course, it wasn’t a complete surprise.
Over time I remembered questions I had dared to ask that brought troublesome answers. I recalled questions I refrained from asking because the potential answers scared me.
Efforts to reconcile proved fruitless. I realized that it would be best to agree to divorce. Refusing would produce additional conflict and be counterproductive.
That agreement was the first difficult choice of many I would have to make in the coming months and years.
My need to protect my children’s privacy prevented me from reaching out to friends for help and from sharing information with anyone I knew. The responsibility of determining the rest of my life on my own was overwhelming.
Being an adult child of divorce didn’t help. In some ways, it made the experience worse. I knew first-hand the feeling of loss and how a child’s sense of peace and stability is forever altered by divorce and occasionally destroyed.
The day I told my children (then ages 7, 12 and 16) of the decision to divorce was simply the worst day of my life.
Luckily, my stepfather, an attorney, supported me and taught me the importance of finding legal representation quickly. I appreciated his guidance and encouragement and realized how intimidating the process would have been if I had done it alone.
Eventually, I opened up to close friends and found comfort there. However, I did not want to overburden anyone with my seemingly constant need for courage and direction. Despite the restraint it required, I made many decisions based on the long-term effect and not how I was feeling at the moment. And I kept much of what was happening to myself.
The way I handled my divorce helped me avoid draining my friendships and benefited me an unexpected way. Friends who were later facing divorce themselves sought my advice. Others commented how well I handled my divorce and referred people facing divorce to me.
I began to see how beneficial having a coach would have been for me. Having an objective and supportive resource to help me identify my needs, prioritize them, and take action would have greatly reduced my stress and anxiety levels. This is what I began doing for people who asked for my help.
My experience heightened my understanding of the turmoil and tremendous sense of loss that occurs as a marriage ends. It awakened a passion in me to help others cope with divorce and keep things moving in a positive direction.
As a Divorce Coach today, I provide a private, nonjudgmental haven for people dealing with divorce to identify their needs, formulate goals and a plan, deal with their emotions and move forward.
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