How To Find Happiness During Divorce

When one is going through divorce it is easy to wonder “Will I ever be happy again?” The answer is YES. Happiness is a fleeting feeling which requires frequent boosters. Happiness fluctuates in intensity as do other emotions. One can choose to be happy or not during the turbulent time of divorce. My divorced mother decided to be bitter for years afterwards, which resulted in having a barrier between her and the world. I went down a different path and found ways to insert moments of happiness amongst the chaos. My trick was to look for the positives and have a laugh at the absurdity in life.

Think about what brings joy or when you were truly happy. Schedule these into your agenda on a regular basis. Weekly lattes with pals contributed to my happiness. Talking about my spouse’s outrageous antics brought on the giggles. It is hard to be in a negative place when laughing with friends. Others get their happiness boost by a vacation. I went to Hawaii with my mother and sons during the nastiest part of my proceedings. I became ecstatically happy walking among the palm trees and talking to the wise Polynesian people. I brought this relaxed attitude back with me into the rest of the divorce. Some friends escaped to the spa or gym. Remove yourself temporarily to pleasant surroundings.

The secret to being happy is to find one’s meaning and purpose in life. Viennese psychologist Viktor Frankl wrote about his ordeal in a concentration camp in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. While imprisoned, he found that those who discovered their meaning in life were more apt to survive. Two men in particular had given up and were waiting to die. Frankl found out what was important to them, one needed to finish his book and the other had a child abroad waiting for him. Frankl helped these fellows to realize the meaning of their existence and they made it out alive from the Nazi death camp.

What gives purpose to your life or ignites your passion? Consider having experiences over accumulating more stuff. When you look back at your childhood, it is the great times that brought you happiness. You can increase your happiness and your children’s by doing enjoyable activities. The youngsters will remember fun adventures more than another toy. Giving back to others or being productive in one’s work can also give meaning to life.

There are various studies which indicate happiness can be achieved by connecting to others. Psychologist Dan Gilbert from Harvard said “The quality of connections with people is the biggest predictor of happiness.” Several studies were done by Gillian Sandstorm and Elizabeth Dunn which also found that happiness increases with the more interactions people have with each other. Interactions both with people the subjects had strong ties to and acquaintances, led to a sense of belonging to the community.

Explore ways to engage with others, whether it is professional networking or on a personal level. This means face-to-face encounters, not the kind on social media. Strengthen ties to those individuals you already know. Enlarge your social circle with new acquaintances. I joined some groups and took classes post-divorce and enjoyed meeting people. Attending travel talks and going to local events helps me to feel connected to others in my community. Make a point of speaking to those around you – the barista, cashier, neighbors and so forth. Going into isolation hinders happiness. One long-term friend told us that she wants to be left alone and will call us when her divorce is over. That is her prerogative, however she is miserable. Reach out to others and include pleasurable pursuits to boost your happiness.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   https://www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

 

Understanding Co-Parenting- Complications And What To Expect

Co-parenting may seem like a modern or new term but in practice it’s been around as long as divorce has. The dynamic and arrangement of each family is different, there’s no wrong or right way but many families throughout history have adopted an approach which we would now label as some form of co-parenting or parallel parenting.

Co-parenting is simultaneously simple yet complicated. The concept is easy to understand, two parents who for one reason or another (but usually through mutual desire to separate) have decided to parent their children separately. Whether this means the children live permanently with one parent or if it’s a more equal shared parenting setup obviously varies on an individual basis.

Co-parenting well on the other hand can be complicated as it incorporates many varying factors. I’ll try to simplify them so that if you’re new to co-parenting you can absorb the basics easily and identify the imperative points and inevitable pitfalls.

Communication

The key to every relationship, romantic or otherwise is communicating effectively. As someone whose partner is from another country and a completely different cultural background I can testify in regards to the difficulty of always communicating well and also the consequences of miscommunication.

After a divorce and all that comes with it, barriers in relation to communication may be at an all-time high between you and your ex. However if you wish to forge a successful parenting relationship for the sake of your children you need to sit down together and work out your parenting plan, whether this is with the help of a therapist or mediator depends on how co-operative your ex-spouse is. You both need to be clear on where you stand in terms of obligations and expectations to avoid potential future disagreements and conflict.

Keep in contact and keep each other updated in order to fulfil your co-parenting duties and stick to the schedule you have agreed upon to the best of your abilities. You are a parenting team now and need to be able to work together which means being able to voice your concerns or misgivings without initiating a giant argument. Easier said than done! You will come across obstacles; no two parenting styles are exactly the same. Learn to lead by example, communicate your issues politely and calmly, encourage rather than disparage and be assertive but not confrontational.

Trust

An essential component of parenting well together is learning to trust in your co-parent. Don’t continually hold them up to your standards or you’ll always be left disappointed and frustrated. That being said they need to fulfil agreed upon obligations, don’t be afraid to take the necessary action if they continually fail on their end of the agreement, it takes two people to co-parent!

Non damaging aspects of your ex partner’s parenting style are better to accept. Trust is compromise and you should learn to respect your differences. After all this is a clean break for you, you can parent the way you always wanted now, create a new dynamic. It’s an opportunity to invent a new routine, game, activity or go on trips with your children that you always wanted to. Your parenting time is now truly yours and unique.

Trust is generally reciprocated which helps form a healthy co-parenting relationship, it fosters a sense of responsibility and you can motivate each other to meet that responsibility. The more you trust the more you will let your children’s relationship develop naturally with their other parent, this is vital for your children and benefits them indefinitely.

Stability and consistency

Your ability to communicate effectively with your co-parent affects stability which in turn directly affects the well-being of your children. They need stability, consistency and structure in the form of routine to help them adapt to this new form of parenting and family life. Your parenting plan and schedule whilst not inflexible (it can help to have a temporary agreement whilst you adjust to your new schedules, leave room for change in your initial agreed up schedule) need to be clear. Establish routine and remember the schedule is not designed to be convenient for the parents. The goal is the best possible parent-child relationship for your children and a smooth transition to this new set-up with minimum disruption to them. Although parent styles differ, ensure you keep the rules more or less the same in both households, stability in this way minimizes the risk of separation anxiety.  

Terms

Another confusing aspect of co-parenting is the documentation that comes with it and also the interchangeable terms for said documentation. A parenting plan is essentially the same thing as a custody agreement, a detailed document which outlines your custody schedule or calendar along with certain provisions legal or otherwise as to how you will both manage the custody of your children.

The terms can be used interchangeably or sometimes a plan is said to contain the agreement or the agreement said to contain the plan! In order to avoid misunderstandings it is better to just remember that your plan or agreement should include a regular custody visitation schedule/calendar, a holiday custody visitation schedule/calendar, all the relevant provisions, child support information and any extra relevant details that can help you and your fellow co-parent raise your child or children.

There are custody agreements or parenting plans to meet everyone’s needs or expectations. Agreements designed specifically for long distance co-parenting, temporary custody agreements to help through transitional stages and also agreements intended for parents with shared/joint custody or when one parent has sole or primary custody.

Lastly I would say it pays to have a non-verbal agreement. Getting it in writing gives you action to take for (and evidence of) repeated violations/unfulfilled obligations. The less formal option may be appealing if you are really amicable with your ex-spouse but that option will most likely lead to future complications.

Co-parenting when done well gives your children what they need whilst giving you more quality time with them and more free time for yourself. If you are new to co-parenting keep an open mind it may be much more rewarding than you are expecting!

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources.

 

 

 

How To Prevent Fear From Holding You Back

Fear of the unknown can hold one back during and post-divorce. It can keep a person stuck and prevent movement. An individual may feel that they are in the freeze part of the flight or fight response to a perceived danger (the divorce drama). Not taking action can seem like the safer bet, when someone feels paralyzed with uncertainty. This indecisiveness can come back to haunt you later, as it did a few people who were not happy about how assets had been split. If feeling clueless and overwhelmed, consider having your attorney or paralegal clarify the information being given. Asking for specific options or advice is helpful.

Fear creates a stress response which releases a cascade of hormones, such as cortisol. The University of Minnesota found that fear “impacts thinking and decision making in negative ways.” It leads to “impulsive reactions” instead of taking a better course of action. One reacts in a rash manner instead of having clear thinking, which is needed to get through divorce proceedings. Reducing stress is way to get out of the panic mode. Do what works for you – mediation, prayer, retreats, exercise, being in nature and so forth.

Fear can keep an individual rooted in one spot – not comfortable taking a step in any direction. This happened to me during divorce. Rather than making a mistake, I decided to take no action about the marital home and just stay there. It was the easy way out. Luckily, I got out of the fear mode, found a small house and then applied at a few companies for a mortgage. It was work moving, but worth it.

There are other causes besides fear which can cause people to feel stuck. It can be challenging to step out of one’s comfort zone, such as deciding whether or not to take a different career path post-divorce. One may feel it is easier to stay in an unfulfilling job, than to pursue various possibilities. Divorce can bring a new opportunity to start over. I got a job as a school nurse after my divorce which became stressful when too much work was crammed in to only a day or so. I stayed out of fear that I would not find other part-time work with some flexibility. After talking over my job situation with a Life Coach, I realized my folly and resigned. Being in a stressful situation, as in divorce, makes it harder to calmly go over options. Get help. More and more middle-aged adults are seeking the guidance from a Career Coach. Others get vocational testing or training at a community college to open the door to other career directions.

Are you stuck, unable to move on because you have too many commitments which includes helping others? We can be afraid to tell people or organizations “no” or worry about being judged if we do.   Please read more   http://www.divorcemag.com/blog/fear-and-divorce