I think it’s important to understand the natural inclinations we have when we react to divorce. Each of us has a different response to things based on our previous experiences.
Fight or Flight – Which is Better?
As science has proven, our bodies and minds have two responses to stressors. It’s called the "flight or fight" response. Either we react by fighting back against whatever is causing us stress or we run away. Divorce, and all that is wrapped up into it, is definitely stressful. It’s stressful on us and it’s stressful on our family and especially our children.
It’s easy to want to run away from something. Many people are natural "withdrawers" when faced with difficulties. Divorce will punch you in the face if you let it. Running away and attempting to hide from your stressors will only lead you to more running. This time divorce will trip you up by the heels and lay into you while you’re trying to get back up.
Standing up and facing your fear and uncertainty is a different choice. There are people who are "attackers" who like to solve problems. There’s a certain synergy that’s created when you start to stand up to the things that are bothering you and dealing with them on a rational level.
There are times in our lives where we do either of these things. Sure, we have a tendency to lean one way or the other but everyone handles stress by either attacking or withdrawing based upon the situation.
My Best Advice to Anyone Going Through Divorce
Man or woman. You’ve heard this before but I am emphatically urging you to:
Go get a lawyer.
It’s the easiest, though not always cheap, answer to dealing with the stress of divorce. We all want to separate amicably. It’s a worthy goal. I was that way too. Unfortunately in the beginning I ignored this advice and it cost me in the long term. Your lawyer will handle much of the stress and anxiety for you. He or she will be the one sending letters to your soon-to-be-ex-spouses’ lawyer.
Divorce is a Business Decision
Divorce, once the process is engaged, is a business decision. It’s no longer about emotional needs. You may love future ex, but in the end you need to look out for you and your children. This is business. I’m not telling you to take your ex to the cleaners, I’m urging you to take care of yourself. You can still have an amicable divorce with lawyers (or mediators involved) and you’ll also be aware of your rights.
You Can Run But You Can’t Hide From Divorce
The energy you get running is energy that could be spent protecting you and your children. If you’re unfortunate enough to be getting divorce just realize that there are many ways for you to take charge of your life and not let the stress overwhelm you.
Jason Likert is the founder of DivorcedDadsOnline.com. The goal of DivorcedDadsOnline.com is to provide a support network for divorced (and divorcing) fathers and common-sense advice for parents whether divorced or married.