Going through a divorce on any given day is extremely difficult, but divorcing during the holidays is unspeakably difficult.
You’ve done all you can to adjust your emotional and mental state for the upcoming holidays. You feel that you have a solid handle on it, then “BAM” – something happens to blindside you. Before you know it, you’re right back to thinking about holidays past and the life you are no longer living.
I could write a blog explaining the specific steps to follow so you won’t feel the pain of the loss of your marriage, but to do so would be dishonest. Feeling some pain, especially at this time of the year, is completely normal (and in many ways, healthy).
What I can do is share with you what helped not only me but my friends, my coworkers and members on my website. These steps can help you focus on the joy of the holidays as much as possible while moving forward in your new life.
1. Celebrate The Holidays
Do not celebrate the holidays with your ex! You may try to convince yourself that it will be easier on your children, but nothing is further from the truth. Helping them accept that their parents are getting a divorce in a loving and patient way is the best gift you can give them. Sharing the holidays will only confuse them. Parenting classes discourage this as well.
2. Deal With Your Grief
During this time, your emotions will be all over the place. Feel what you feel, deal with it, accept it and then do your best to let it go! Allowing your grief to take over will not change your situation or make you feel better – in fact, it will do the opposite. It’s much easier to stay in a “dark hole” than to fight your way out, but it’s especially important to make the effort at this time of the year.
3. Talk To Your Children
Think about how hard this has been on you. Can you imagine what they are going through? Their entire world has changed and there is nothing they can do to stop it. Give them the freedom to express their feelings without fear of judgment or hurting you. Let them know that this is “all about them” and that there’s nothing they can say or do that will keep you from loving them.
4. Create New Traditions
Because your family structure has changed, it’s the perfect time to create new traditions. Have a sit-down with your children and ask them what traditions they would like to keep and what they would like to start. You will be amazed with what they come up with and, more importantly, you’ll strengthen your family bonds at a time when you need them the most.
The old saying “time heals all wounds” is true when going through a divorce. You may have zero control over how you feel, but you do have control over what you say and how you act. It’s a long, difficult road that you absolutely must travel, but the sooner you start walking it, the sooner the healing is able to begin.