Going through divorce is a devastating time for woman, as Carolyn Tate shares.
It was 3 o’clock in the morning when I woke my ex-husband, who had been sleeping in the next room, and asked him to call me an ambulance.
We’d separated but were still cohabiting while we sorted out who was going to live where, but the time was dragging on. It had been a month already, and I was learning that there was something lonelier than being alone – it was living with someone who resents you.
As women, something weird happens to a lot of us when we’re going through divorce: we try to project to the world that we’re coping – we’re fine. We keep volunteering at our kids’ school, we hit our deadlines at work, we smile and say ‘I’m fine’ when people ask how we’re doing.
But we’re not fine.
I was not fine.
I’d been sick with a gastro bug for nearly a week. I couldn’t keep food or water down and I had become seriously depleted and dehydrated. I felt so unwell I couldn’t sleep, and I felt so alone.
In hindsight, I can see that going to hospital was my way of putting my hand up and saying that I needed help. I was put on a drip for a day and given some TLC, then sent back to my hostile home environment.
It was my birthday that weekend, and my bestie Gillian took me away from it all for a girls trip to the Gold Coast.
Unable to do the things we would usually do – drink champagne, eat delicious food, and get thrown around by some big waves on Main Beach – we lay on our hotel beds, flicking through gossip mags, drinking Gatorade and having a few quiet laughs.
It was exactly the gentle kind of love that I needed.
Help if you’re going through divorce
If you’re going through a tough break-up, there are a few things we recommend you do that will help you, right now:
1. Assemble your support crew
People like your friends, family, teachers, your doctor, a psychologist if you want one – and tell them what you’re going through and what you need.
Unless they’ve been through it, your friends might not understand that you have less money to spend on going out, you only have your children 50 per cent of the time, you’re stressed, you’re feeling lonely, and you’re grieving for a future that you can no longer have.
2. Talk to a family lawyer ASAP
Every situation is different, but the earlier you get advice the better, so you know where you stand and what your rights are. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all divorce, and 50-50 is not the default split. And you should never, ever take advice from your ex on what is ‘fair’.
3. Take your time
Just because you have legal advice doesn’t mean you need to sign off on your property settlement and move on. Emotions are high and you may not be in the right frame of mind to make a decision, so take your time. It takes two to make an agreement, so even if your ex is in a rush to ‘move on’, you don’t have to do anything just yet.
4. Connect with others
Gillian and I have a lot of hard-fought wisdom, born from many mistakes and also a whole lot of expert guidance that we’ve sought. That’s why we created a free webinar for women going through a break up, to help you:
- Stop feeling stuck and powerless
- Feel stronger and not give in to pressure to rush your divorce if you aren’t ready
- Build your support network so you don’t feel so alone
- Protect your kids from unnecessary trauma
You can register to watch it right here.
Remember, the only way is through, but the other side is amazing. You’ve got this.