There’s divorce, and then there’s life after divorce. Anyone who has gone through divorce knows that the lead-up to divorce has it’s own challenges; we call this the Emotional Divorce. Next is the filing for divorce, which includes the decisions necessary for a settlement agreement; we call this the Legal Divorce. Once this circus of emotions and decisions concludes, we are left with our next act: Life After Divorce.
It’s important to know that the groundwork for Life After Divorce starts during the filing for divorce. In this time period we are focused on the financial part of our transition, our value to relationships and society, and our self-worth. This is a time of tremendous self-reflection that carries with it a reevaluation of our lives. Now that the consideration of living in tandem with a spouse, making decisions that work for both spouses, deciding on careers that compliment the dual nature of the life we are building together, and raising a family with all of the extended family and friend obligations we have, we are free to a certain extent, to make decisions that totally support us. Other than living close to the other parent if there are minor children, divorce provides the opportunity to individuate ourselves. The word “individuation” means evolving into the person you want to be, even if it means losing relationships that don’t support your revised, authentic self.
I learned about “individuation” from business & life coach, TedX speaker, and podcast host of Individuation Now, Anthony Metten, who I interviewed about a week or two ago on this podcast. Anthony explained that that mid-life crisis we see our spouses go through, that’s supposed to happen in order to grow. Truth be told, we should go through our own mid-life transition in order to change as our life circumstances change. We can change internally, externally, or both. Metten further explained that we go through these evolutions of “individuation” several times in our lives. They are sparked by some change in life, divorce being one of the big ones.
Cindy Stibbard, divorce coach with Divorce ReDefined, our guest on this week’s podcast, addresses post-divorce change as a natural outgrowth of divorce. When Cindy got licensed to be a divorce coach, she also studied and prepared for the discussions about how her clients were going to use divorce as a positive influence to rebrand who they are and how they want to live now. Cindy also sees divorce as a journey and not an end in itself. Divorce is a growth experience that if used wisely can change our lives to match our wildest dreams.
If we can look to the future while dealing with present-time divorce decisions, we can definitely use divorce as a new beginning, a new act, a bigger and brighter show.