How do I cope with divorce?

Your question

My husband and I are getting a divorce after nearly ten years of marriage, and I am having trouble coming to terms with it. I can’t help feeling like I have failed, and worry about how I am going to cope on my own as a single mum. It feels like my future has been erased and I can’t see a way forward.

Our answer

Going through even the mildest divorce can shake your self confidence and leave you wondering how on earth you’ll cope alone with finances, children and downsizing the family home. Even if the break-up is amicable, you might still be feeling low about the end of your marriage.

But while separating is rarely easy, particularly where children are involved, it does not have to wreck your self -esteem. Here are some suggestions to help you feel good about yourself when you’re getting divorced.

Move forward

Consider divorce a step in the right direction, regardless of who initiated the break-up. If you are devastated at your partner leaving, ask yourself if you would be happy being with someone who does not want to stay in the marriage.

Decide on the next step

Agreeing how the separation will be managed early on makes it easier to handle for everyone in the family. Plus, knowing what happens next gives you clarity and control over the situation, which can help boost self esteem.

New family changes coming into effect this month require divorcing couples to attend mediation awareness meetings before going to court. Mediation is one way of taking the nasty sting out of a divorce by avoiding drawn-out, costly court battles.

Go easy on yourself

In addition to the financial toll and stress, people going through divorce often grapple with feelings of guilt, anxiety and insecurity. Do not allow these emotions to cloud your judgment or leave you questioning your own worth. You already have enough to deal with without giving yourself a hard time. Visualise yourself coping with divorce in a positive way.

Talk to a professional

If you are feeling angry, resentful, frightened or overwhelmed, join a support group or book a session with a counsellor or private coach. While family and friends are often willing to offer advice and a shoulder to lean on, you also need support from someone who can be objective about your situation and help you rebuild your self-esteem.

Be ready for change

Prepare yourself and your children for practical and emotional adjustments such as different financial and living arrangements or your ex being with a new partner. When the time comes you will feel better equipped to cope with the changes.

Set aside ‘me time’

Even if you feel rushed off your feet, it is important to take time out and do something for yourself, whether that is fitting exercise into your routine or meeting an old friend for a drink.

Open new doors

Look for opportunities to meet people, develop your career and learn new skills. This will build up your confidence and help you see divorce as a chance to discover what makes you feel fulfilled.

Read seven common divorce myths – and why they’re wrong.

Ann Corrigan is founder of Clarity Family Law Solicitors, a specialist family law firm in Buckinghamshire, and a trained mediator and collaborative lawyer.