Divorce Guilt: Overcoming your feelings and moving forward with your life
When you were addressing all your invitations and counting the number of guests who RSVP’d yes to your wedding, you never thought you’d be here. You never thought you’d be researching divorce and separation.
You probably feel incredibly guilty, after allowing your parents to foot at least part of the bill (and the average wedding these days is not cheap), and after inviting extended family and friends to watch you and your husband exchange your vows on a sunny Saturday in June, to think that now it could all be over. After swearing, in front of God and everyone you’ve ever met (and everyone your parents and his parents have ever met), that you and he would love each other forever, things have completely changed. Whether you’ve known for awhile that things were off, or whether this new phase in life has taken you completely by surprise, it’s definitely an adjustment.
A lot of the women I see come in with all this guilt. They don’t want to admit to family and friends that they couldn’t make it work, but they just don’t see a future doing what they’re doing now. It’s hard to give up on something you dreamed of for so long, especially if you have children. As women, we feel such a strong sense of obligation towards everyone else that it’s difficult to make the decisions we know we have to make for our own well-being.
If you and your husband are past the point of marriage counselors, you’ll want to start gathering facts about divorce in your home state. Divorce is incredibly state-specific, and you’ll need to get an idea about how the law works in your area so that you know what to expect when you meet with your attorney. All too often, I hear women tell me that they’re so panicked about something completely terrible that happened to a friend of a friend who got divorced in another state in a completely different decade. Once they latch onto that fear, it’s so hard to get them to a place where they feel secure and confident in anything. On the other end of the spectrum is the woman who hears about a friend of a friend who ended up with the best settlement ever, and she thinks that no matter what she does, she’ll end up with something pretty close to exactly the same as the other woman.
It’s a good idea to get good, solid, reliable information from a reputable source. A friend of a friend is probably NOT a reputable source. For a step in the right direction, request a copy of one of our free books: What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce, The Woman’s Custody Survival Guide, and What Every Virginia Military Wife Should Know About Divorce. Good luck!