Getting tired of all this? No one goes into a divorce adequately prepared to deal with all the changes and stresses. As active, high-functioning men and women, we want to do the best we can in the least amount of time. However, divorce is a process, not a single event, and it can be a long process. Even if the legal divorce takes only a few months, the fall-out (both emotional and financial) can continue for many years.
To prevent your divorce from becoming overwhelming, recognize that you cannot rush it. The legal system works at its own pace. It requires patience and energy. The emotional components also take their natural course. Each person heals in his/her own time. While there are things you can do to minimize the pain, the process will have to run its course.
Think of your divorce as a marathon, not a sprint. In a sprint, we gather all of our energy and push to our very limits right from the beginning of the race. We can exert that much energy for the sprint because it is short in duration. However, the body cannot sustain that exertion for long periods of time without collapsing. In contrast, the marathon runner must pace him/herself for the longer race. We train and prepare, sometimes for months, nurturing and preparing our bodies and minds with proper food, rest, and equipment. We must pace ourselves, knowing if we push too much in the first part of the race, we will lose our stamina. When we do push, it is at times that maximize our position. We also know when it is important to coast. Every mile is not run with the same amount of exertion. It is wise to put more energy into the more challenging parts of the race.
This divorce is your marathon. Make sure you have good equipment (your attorney and therapist), and that you are in peak physical shape (enough rest, exercise, nourishing food). And as with the marathon, remember to strategize how you will use your energy. Some parts of the divorce require more energy and work, while others require very little exertion. Choose wisely how you will use your energy and resources; and at the end of the race, you will feel proud for having accomplished such a challenging, often grueling process. And you won’t have any regrets for a race well run.
In this divorce process, I am a marathon runner, running one of the most important races of my life. I will seriously consider how I want to use my energy, making sure I am as prepared as I can be. When it is over, I will be able to congratulate myself for a job well done. Running this race will empower me. It will reveal my strength and fortitude. This experience will change my life and better prepare me for other life challenges.
©2009. Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC is a licensed psychotherapist in Connecticut. Her newest book, Profileactics: A Guide for the Prevention of Ill-Conceived Personal Ads is available at bookstores everywhere or at Amazon.com. This article is from her first book, From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce which won an Honorable Mention Award by the Independent Publishers Association. To read more about the author and her work, please visit www.donnaferber.com
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Guest Contributor Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC
Donna F. Ferber, is a psychotherapist in private practice for 28 years. She is a licensed professional counselor, a licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor and an educator. Donna works with individuals and in groups. Her office is in Farmington, Connecticut.