The Best Divorce Advice Ever Given or Received
Whether you're at the beginning of a divorce or in the thick of it, it's helpful to share your experience with others in similar situations. Connecting with someone who has "walked a mile" in your shoes can help put things in perspective – or at least make you feel a little less alone.
If you don't already have a friend who has gone through a divorce, you can seek out a community that suits you. Try searching Meetup.com for "divorce," and you'll likely find several groups that meet in person on a regular basis near you.
Below, members of the Hello Divorce community share the best divorce advice they've ever given or received. Lots of good stuff here.
After nearly three years of working through the divorce process, Kiedra Tyson's divorce became final on May 21, 2017. Looking back, she shares:
"The best advice I got during my divorce was that it hurts now, but it will get better. Not everyone is meant to be together. You will find love again, so don't give up."
Vikki Ziegler is a force of nature. She's a celebrity attorney, speaker, host of BravoTV's Untying the Knot, and author of The Pre-Marital Planner. She's also a divorcee and a child of divorce. Looking back at her own divorce process, Vikki shared the best advice she ever received:
"Stop worrying. Things will unfold, and soon it will be over. You cannot get back the time you wasted worrying about things out of your control. Divorce can be a rebirth, so start reinventing yourself to be the best you for your next relationship."
For those beginning the process, Vikki advises:
"Get prepared. Do your research, interview several lawyers through referrals, and try to find one you feel comfortable with. Get a therapist or a life coach, take up yoga, and make sure your accountant is available to help you. Then, let your lawyer work for you and protect you. Turn off from the divorce process at night and on the weekends, and focus on things that make you happy and that you're grateful for instead."
Keenya Kelly was married for one year before her divorce process began. She had to flee her marriage quickly, which left her homeless in a hotel room her friends rented with a few hundred dollars in the bank, a $22,500-a-year job, and a car without heat. She runs a successful company today, but her life felt like rock bottom at the time. Keenya shared this important lesson:
"Don't post on social media about it. During my time of divorce, I wanted to defend my name against assumptions people made as they saw things that were happening to my ex-husband. Instead, I just stayed quiet. I knew that one day, my name would be vindicated, and I didn't want to look insane during the divorce process by venting my dirty laundry on social media."
Tom O'Keefe's divorce was finalized seven years ago. He raises a tough but important point: The court isn't there to place blame. It's there to process a divorce judgment that is financially equitable for both parties. He shares:
"You know that thing that you found shocking? The line your spouse crossed? That act of betrayal that you and everyone you know is shocked and appalled by? The court doesn't care. Short of provable acts of abuse or addiction, they don't give a shit. Ultimately, the court is there to divvy up property, not mete out vengeance. You're never going to have that Perry Mason moment where your ex gets on the stand and has to admit to his or her douchebaggery. They just want to figure out who's getting the couch and where the kids go on Christmas."
Kate Campion has been divorced twice and is now married to a man who has been divorced. She's also the daughter of divorced parents. She writes the blog My Sweet Home Life, designed to help readers organize, nurture, and grow. She grew from her divorce, and she shares these takeaways:
"My best advice is to speak with a lawyer immediately, even if you think it will be amicable. Chances are, at some point, things could get nasty. You must protect what is rightfully yours. In addition, I have known several people to just walk away from their marriage and their entitlements because they just wanted to get out. It did not take long for them to realize this was a big mistake. Divorce has such a massive impact on your financial position, you don't want those decisions affecting the rest of your life or any future relationship you may have.
"The other advice I would give is, don't fight to stay in the family home. While you may feel attached now, that home represents a time of your life that has now ended. Living with those memories could be harder than you think. What's more, when you meet someone new, they may not want to live in a home that represents your past marriage, either."
Three years ago, MarDestinee Perez endured an unexpected divorce. She didn't see it coming and said there was nothing she could do to prevent it from happening. She and her ex did not own property or have children, so the legal process was straightforward, but she shared that divorce was the most emotionally taxing experience of her life. "I didn't want to leave my house and face my family or friends. I felt broken, unlovable, and dead inside," she told me. So many of us can relate.
Here are three tips MarDestinee offers to help you bounce back, feel good, and love again after divorce:
1. Find a community of support. "I don't mean a self-help group. Rather, find one or two friends you can talk to about your feelings and who will check in on you. DO NOT talk to married people. They won't understand what you're going through and will unintentionally make you feel worse. Also, stay away from judgmental people. Formerly divorced friends were my best supporters during this time."
2. Find a good therapist. "Not just to vent openly, but to help you process your feelings and work on behaviors that may have contributed to your divorce. The last thing you want is to bring your negative feelings, trauma, and unhealthy relationship patterns into the future. With the help of a therapist, I understood my own role in my divorce and how to move forward in healthy ways."
3. Engage in activities that generate joy and raise your self-esteem. "In the months during and after my divorce, I ran my first half marathon, traveled, enrolled in a wilderness basics course, backpacked, and went dancing at least once a month. I did these things even when I didn't want to, even when I felt low and wanted to crawl into bed. Slowly, with time, I regained my confidence, self-respect, and self-love."