The transition from being married to being divorced doesn’t always happen the way you expect. At times, in the middle of your divorce, you find yourself living in a post-divorce world. Technically, you’re still married. But on a practical, day-to-day basis, you’re already living the life of a divorced person.
Rather than resisting this uncomfortable phase, consider it a sneak preview of your future. Are you happy with your new arrangements, or are there aspects that trouble you? Assuming your settlement has not yet been defined, there’s still time for you to make adjustments.
Here are a few ways your life may be different, even though your divorce is not yet final.
You’re no longer part of a couple. Before, you were living in “married land.” Now, your surroundings feel unfamiliar. Particularly on weekends, it may seem painfully clear that everyone but you is part of a family, taking part in family activities. (But consider whether “everyone” is really representative of reality.)
Friends treat you differently. There’s no getting around it, some people actually do revise their opinions of you when they find out your marriage is over. But your true friends will stick by you. Ask them how they feel about you divorcing. Remain open and honest and be careful to keep your insecurities in check. Don’t create problems where none exist.
Financial changes occur. The financial pressure of maintaining two households may have already kicked in. Lifestyle changes, large and small, become a necessity. It’s not uncommon to feel some resentment, or even a sense of unfairness. Seeking financial advice is the key to staying sane here.
You become a single parent. Even if you did the majority of parenting while you were married, this is new. The stress of being a parent increases when you’re on your own. At the same time, the children are likely to behave differently as they navigate through divorce. Ask yourself: Is this really harder? Or is it actually a bit easier now that you don’t have to deal with your ex-spouse’s approach and opinions?
Differences in parenting styles become clear. The flip side of being a single parent is that you may hear things like “We don’t have do that at Dad’s house.” “Mom doesn’t make us…” It’s normal for kids to be unsettled or irritable following a shakeup in routine. If you can discern which parenting differences are worthy of legal attention, it will minimize the chaos.
Remember that divorce is a process. Like all major life changes, it doesn’t take place overnight. Expect some bumps on the road and understand that these “surprises” are all very normal, and you’ll find it easier to weather the challenges.