Q: After living for six years in anger, frustration, hurt and disappointment, my wife and I finally decided to declare emotional bankruptcy and file for a divorce. Getting the divorce was a little easier than I thought that it might be. I guess that because both of us recognized the need for it, neither of us tried to sabotage the process. We were high school sweethearts who married after graduation and well before we were mature enough to carry those kinds of responsibilities.
It has not been all bad. We have a four-year-old boy we love dearly and who will continue to be a part of both of our lives. We have a joint custody agreement to protect both of our relationships with our son. My problem is that divorce is a new thing for me. I am not sure what to do now that everything is finally finalized.
A: I think that the first goal for anyone just coming through a divorce is survival. Everything is different. You will come home to an empty house and wonder what to do for a decent meal. You might be tempted to just let it go, settling for fast food somewhere and indulging in anything that is lacking nutritional value.
If you were feeling lousy about yourself before, you may feel even worse afterward. Your best bet is to put your life into some kind of order.
Get on top of those finances, plan your meals, have fun with your son, get into regular exercise routines and build positive and rewarding social commitments.
Here is the danger point. People coming out of a divorce often move as quickly as possible into another close and intimate relationship.
I am sure that some quick, re-bound relationships work but for the most part, they are statistically hazardous. The divorce rate is 40 percent for first marriages, with that number increasing for second marriages.
It strikes me that many of those second marriages would be more successful if couples took a few more moments to grieve the loss of the first marriage before they made that next commitment.
Don’t forget that your life is likely to be on an emotional roller-coaster for the next couple of years.
Living through the emotional instability may be hard but it is also a necessary prerequisite for the emotional growth that will give you an opportunity to re-engage the search for intimacy.