When you’re in shock from a new divorce, it can be easy to lose your head.
Here are a few things to steer clear of until your ability to be rational comes back.
1. Doing anything rash in the name of getting even…
Easier said than done, I’m sure. If your relationship is ending on a very sour note and you’re feeling hard done by, it’s tempting to want some kind of vengeance, but beware. The apocryphal act of chopping up your ex’s entire wardrobe is not the way to go and neither is…
2. Divorce on Facebook/ Twitter etc.
Yes, some of you may scoff, but we have become a nation of broadcasters. Tempting as it may be, do not vent your hurt and anger with every status update. It’s childish, and you will be inviting a whole world of gossip and regret into proceedings.
3. Involving the kids in any way other than is necessary.
When it comes to divorce, the kids come first. That’s it, pure and simple. They have some simple basic needs, like the need to see their mum and their dad, the need to be loved, to feel safe. Try to put those needs first and keep the wrangling out of their vicinity. See our advice on children.
4. Contacting the ex’s friends/ family (at least in the first instance).
You need to know where the lines are and usually they are drawn across the family threshold. Your family are yours, the ex’s belong to the ex. That unconditional support doesn’t get shared. Mutual friends are a different story, and you can work that out as you go along. See our advice on friends.
5. Shagging your way round the planet.
OK, maybe it’s not such a bad thing… If you can do one night stands with consenting folks and not get involved and it feels good, then fine. Whatever gets you through the pain. BUT remember that you are emotional right now and so think seriously before you use sex as an anaesthetic because unless you can compartmentalise sex, it can get you into more trouble than you were already in.
6. Getting into another serious relationship.
Another way to avoid the pain of a divorce and the fear of being alone, is to get into another relationship straight away. You need time to process what has happened, rebuild your confidence and learn from your experience.
If you are convinced that you have met the love of your life, then just be warned that you are likely to see this new person for what you want rather than what they actually are. So make sure you think about what was good and not good in your ex and what you want. Then think about how this new love-interest matches up. It might also be worth getting someone you trust to be honest in this assessment.
7. Telling work before you’re ready.
There’s no need unless it’s really affecting your performance. Once you’ve told your nearest and dearest, you can drip feed out the news as and when you feel ready and not before.
8. Going to court.
Divorce in court can cost tens of thousands of pounds. Even an amicable divorce can cost up to £4k in legal fees. Lawyers are not cheap. So whatever you do, if you can stay on civil enough terms with your ex to avoid this route, then for the love of god, do it! There are lots of cheaper and easier ways to get through the process, mediation being a good place to start.
Lucy Davis is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and a TV Producer. She divorced 6 years ago. She is a passionate advocate for exploring the potential for change and creativity that can result from the trauma of divorce.