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By David Wygant for CupidsPulse.com
In the crazed battle of the exes (or soon to be permanent exes) we too often tend to act on our emotions. We're angry. We're annoyed. We're upset. We're devastated. Divorce is like going through death, and it affects more than just the couple: kids, parents, friends - it's the ultimate division of assets. For those of you who have or are going through it, you know what it feels like. It sucks. So, I want to give a few tips to those out there in the arena -especially the ladies. Here are a few things that women should never do in divorce and why:
1. Make the man the bank: If you were not the earner in the relationship and you attempt to turn your ex into a Bank of America during the divorce process, you're going to get far less in the settlement than you ever would have, than if you showed a little prudence and appreciation. Nothing makes a man more irritated than knowing he's being used for money. Here he is, in the process of getting a divorce..from you (whether it was his idea or yours) and he has to write you a check for the money he's earned. There's no worse feeling than seeing a hard-earned paycheck cut in half and given to somebody who's constantly belittling and just plain mean.
Whether you put off your career to raise your children or you're just expecting alimony, it's important to be thankful for every dollar he gives you because ultimately, you could be in trouble if he didn't. Showing your gratitude will help you cause - he'll give you what you need, (if you need it) so you can survive, live and breathe until you can get back to work. Remember, the two of you were married once. Somewhere deep down, a form of love still exists so respect one another for the best outcome.
2. Do initiate battles: Venting your feelings or frustrations to him will only waste your own time. Accept that it's over. The time to do that has passed so now you have to act like an adult and deal with the reality of the situation.You're both disappointed and you both need to heal. If you did not have children, you probably would not be in contact with each other at all, so keep communication focused on the kids and refrain from bringing up old wounds.
If you think you're able to talk to him in a civil manner about the relationship - fine. But, if you get emotional and intentionally try to make him feel bad, then he'll get defensive and take a few uppercuts of his own, which only leads to more fighting and where did that get you guys before? Keep the e-mails simple, straightforward and only about your children or the settlement. You're now in a business relationship - get used to it. Use what you learned at work and speak with grace, class and professionalism.
3. Save the drama for your mama: Do not vent to your circle of friends. The division of friends is coming as it always does in almost every single divorce. You find out who your real friends are as they start to choose one side or the other. Anything can happen and it's not always in your control. I've seen (in my 14 years of coaching) parents choose their son-in-law or their daughter-in-law over their own son or daughter.
I know you're going through pain. I know as a woman you love to talk and let everything out. But choose only one or two truly close friends to do this with. Or better yet, just chew off your Mom's ear, that's what mothers are for. If you start bad mouthing your soon-to-be ex-husband all around town, he's going to eventually hear it, and that's where there the division of friends comes in full swing with no mercy.You do not want third-party battles, or to make people that are close to you feel uncomfortable. Inevitable, whenever you're venting to a large group of people, they will choose one person or another because you've forced it upon them. And that's not fair for anyone. Some of you may have life-long friends, and it's okay for them to be friends with the both of you. So be the bigger person and keep them out of it. Go out and find a counselor or therapist. But do not make your divorce the talk of the town.
4. The children are not pawns: This one should seem real simple, I actually shouldn't even have to mention this. However, it seems like in every divorce that I've ever coached a client through, the children are used as pawns. Watch your words carefully. They're hurting right now. Daddy is no longer there. They don't understand it, especially the young ones, and even the teenagers have a lot of anger.
You need to speak to your children explain to them what is going on, but keep your tone positive. This may too be obvious but to emphasize, the kids should never be forced to chose sides. Never ever make dad the bad guy. He may no longer be your husband, but he's still a father to your kids. Remember that children still need a good dad, a good role model and an authority figure to look up to.
5. Your dream is over: The perfect picture that you created for the marriage that you thought you deserved is over. You're probably going to have to go back to work. The alimony will run out. You may have to get day care for the young kids. Reality is now setting in, and you need to accept it as quickly as possible in order to heal in a decent amount of time.
You can't change the way your marriage unfortunately worked out, and now you need to find a way to move on. Maybe you won't be a stay-at-home mom for five years. Maybe you won't have a country-club lifestyle. Maybe you won't have that house by the beach or the unlimited shopping sprees for organic groceries at Whole Foods, and that's going to have to be okay. The quicker you can realize what reality you're in now, the better you're going to feel.
6. Choose your preferred method of communication (phone, e-mail, or text):If you're in an angry divorce, I strongly suggest e-mail as the best way to communicate, because the phone can lead to more fighting which is the last thing you want to do. Fighting with daddy in front of the kids on the telephone while you're on your way out is not a good way to set the tone for the day. A lot of us have Bluetooth in our car. Imagine him calling and you push the wrong button and you're not able to control yourself in front of the kids and you have an argument. They've witnessed enough fights when you were together. They don't need to be consumed by it anymore. E-mail is simple. You can read and react to that e-mail, and then you can save it as a draft and then re-read it again. Then comb back through it and take out all of the venom, the hate the angst and just make it about the children. This will keep you sane and the situation under control. Like I said earlier, pick a person to vent to so you don't have to vent in your communications with your ex.
Ladies, please adhere to these easy, simple tips. It's going to make your life run so much smoother and reduce turbulence during this difficult time.
And like I said, if you really are that angry, talk to somebody. Because if you cause any of these things to happen, you're going to likely splinter a relationship with your ex for the rest of your life. Don't forget, if you have kids, your ex is somebody who's going to be family with you forever. Think about things long-term instead of short-term. There are plenty of professionals out there that can help you get through this. Remember, the most successful people in life are those who think about how their actions today will affect them tomorrow.