As 2022 is coming to a close, how are you doing?
The closing of another year may be a stressful time for some of us. Preparing for festival activities, coping with children at home, and finishing our work before going on a trip could add to our stress. I remember reading an article about more breakups during or after the festival season. Of course, the stress brought by the busy season does not break the marital relationship. However, it would contribute to a relationship that is not on solid ground. Sometimes conflict during this season could become the last straw that breaks the camel’s back, and one partner may say the “D” word.
If you are thinking of divorce because of some stressful event or conflict during this stressful season, I hope it will blow over when you calm down. However, suppose you are thinking about the “D” word because there have been ongoing relationship issues and unhappiness. In that case, I hope this article will provide you with some pointers to help you.
Many couples enter into divorce without preparation, which may lead to a “bad divorce”. There is indeed a “good divorce” and a “bad divorce”.
How to have a good divorce?
I suggest the couple seek therapy to explore the divorce decision. Through therapy, couples can review their marriage and the pros and cons of divorce. Even if only one party is willing to seek help, it will help prepare for a constructive divorce process and subsequent recovery.
Divorce is the death of one of the most significant relationships in our lives. The loss is not just a loss of the relationship but also of identity, social network and shared community. In the practical aspect, one may experience loss in the financial aspect, housing and lifestyle. Therefore, one may experience the grieving process of mourning, experiencing the feeling of denial, anger, guilt and depression. It is also a time of transition when self-reflection is most valuable in understanding how one reaches the divorce stage and contributes to it. This process, supported by therapy, facilitates growth, learning, healing and preparation for the next phase of life and new relationships.
When couples divorce, many aspects of the family life change.
Research informed us that the post-divorce family no longer functions like a non-divorce family. The family generally experienced a high-stress level in the first two years. If the couple has children, they are the ones most impacted by the divorce. Research evidence also showed us that co-parenting and joint-custody benefit children of divorce. They experienced fewer social, emotional, behavioural, and academic issues when both parents continued cooperative co-parenting.
Co-parenting requires both parents to continue working together to raise their children after divorce. It is child-focus and sensitive to the child’s needs. Parents choose to consider the child’s best interest in their decision-making. Therefore, a good divorce is essential to pave the way for continuing interactions in co-parenting the children.
I have worked with many divorcing families and their children. Children are most negatively affected when their parents engage in divorce litigation. It is worse when the process drags on for two years, and the children feel unsettled and unable to adjust.
If you are seriously thinking of divorce, I hope the above points might offer some help. My wish for you is you will take time and space to explore and think through your decision.