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Divorce: Don't take it personally

You may not have sought it, and you certainly might not have wanted it, but like it or not, you suddenly have found yourself thrust into it anyway. You're in the midst of a divorce. You may have thought your marriage would last forever. Assumptions can set us up for failure, though, leaving us feeling and acting like victims rather than survivors. Realize that when we assume certain things, such as why our soon-to-be-exes are acting a certain way, we are denying them the reality of their own choices. People change, and we must learn to accept that.

Resist the temptation to bad-mouth your spouse. A certain amount of venting is to be expected, but make sure you choose your confidante carefully. Journaling can be helpful here, as long as you don't remain stuck in an anger mode and deny yourself the growth experience. Never let your children hear you speak ill of their other parent; it harms them.

Try not to take it personally. This can be difficult, especially in the first phases of the divorce when it seems as if your spouse's every move is calculated to destroy your self esteem even further. In most cases, they're not doing things to harm you personally, but to further their own cause. You used to be a team, and now you're on opposite sides. Accept the reality and make the best moves for your own well-being.

Make yourself your number one priority. In most marriages, spouses strive to please the other so that they are happy and secure. Now you must make yourself happy and secure, so do nice things for yourself. Be gentle and kind with yourself and acknowledge that you have suffered a loss but are moving on - then do so.

No matter what phase of the divorce you are in, your attorney can be a great source of comfort and counsel at this trying time. Reach out to him or her with your questions and concerns, and heed good advice.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "Don't Take Your Divorce Personally" Lisa Arends, Dec. 30, 2013

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