One of the hardest things for any mum when considering divorce is knowing where to turn and what to do next. Of course, there are so many things to think about and what’s good for one woman, may not be right for you. In a series of articles especially for British mums about divorce, we explore where to turn, what your heart is telling you and what fears are coming up most. 

Step 1. Establish if the Marriage is REALLY Over 

Before you do anything drastic you’ll need to be sure if your marriage is really over. The first thing to consider is have you tried everything to save it? That’s normally having many a heart to heart discussions and even attending marriage support counselling. Do you know in your heart of hearts that your relationship will never work?  

Sometimes threats of leaving are made in the hope to bring about change, or to get your husband to stop a certain behaviour for example. Yet these threats rarely work in bringing about lasting change, as behavioural change has to really come from within. So a good question to ask yourself is: 

Is your decision to divorce a completely sincere decision based on your own self awareness or is it an emotionally reactive decision in the hope that something will change?

Emotionally charged decisions do not last and it’s most likely that your decision may not be the right one for you. This is especially true if you have recently discovered your husband has had an affair or there has been a major row. (More tips on healing from this are shared separately). 

Waiting a few weeks or months will enable your emotions to calm down before making life changing decisions like a divorce. Some women assess how they feel over several months to be absolutely certain of their decision and it can really help to use that time to work through the obvious fears you will have and any guilt you feel as well. By doing this, it can often help in your ability to make a clearer choice on whether or not the marriage can be saved. 

If you remain undecided on whether to stay married or get divorced, then the first place you may want to turn to is a relationship counselling specialist to assess what would need to happen for you to be happy in the marriage again. 

Alternatively, if you know that you want a divorce but you have an over arching fear or feelings of guilt in your way, then move on to the next step for where to turn to next.

Step 2. Acknowledge and Address Your Fears 

If you know for sure that your marriage is over but you just can’t bring yourself to take the next steps towards divorce it’s most probably because you’re naturally afraid of what the future holds – and you wouldn’t be alone in that. Yet your fears can (in a strange way) actually help you in planning ahead and knowing where to turn to: Plus the ONLY way to get rid of fear is to take action and face them head on, rather than letting them rattle around in your head. 

Start by listing all of your fears 

Here are some examples of the types of fears that women going through divorce usually experience: 

I’m scared my children will suffer because of it

I’m not sure if I will find a good place to live or I don’t even know where to live

I’m fearful our mutual friends and family will take sides and it will be so difficult 

I’m scared I won’t be okay legally and what’s going to happen to me

I’m worried I won’t be strong enough to handle getting through this without crumbling 

I’m concerned I won’t have enough money for the divorce process or even to live well enough afterwards

I’m worried others will judge me for what I’ve done (or even pity me)

I’m scared of being lonely and I know I will hate being on my own

I’m scared I will always be single and not have companionship again 

What if getting divorced turns out to be a big mistake for me?

If you were to be really honest and list your fears right now, you may well find similarities and a list an awful lot longer than the one above – but remember that none of your fears are unfounded, are too small or irrational, so don’t judge yourself because it will do you good to get them out. 

Fears are simply warning signs sent through our bodies that tell us that we need to gather more information, prepare more, have some faith or find a solution to try situation we are in. They will, in their own way show you where to turn.  

Next Create a Solution List

Now this is the part that really takes some work, but it’s the most rewarding part of your difficult journey because this is where you can experience real peace with your decision. Have a brainstorm now of how you can lessen the fears that you have as the only way to minimise fear is to face them head on. This is an extremely powerful exercise and it’s recommended that you try it:

With each fear ask yourself:

Who can help me with it? 

What can I do about this? 

How will I cope? 

What resources do I need?

Here are some examples that allow you to get started: 

I’m scared my children will suffer

I will read all the information I can find on how to help children through divorce so I am as prepared and emotionally strong as I can be to help them 

I will put my differences aside and support them to have a good relationship with their father 

If they show signs of distress I will speak to the school and enlist a child therapist if need be 

I will continue to shower them with love, so they feel fully supported 

I will arrange play dates or time with other male relatives so they have a male role model in their lives 

I’m not sure if I will find a good place to live or I don’t even know where to live

I will contact a divorce lawyer and get a budget then start researching schools and areas that match 

I will contact 5 estate agents and speak to friends for suggestions 

I’m fearful our friends will take sides and it will be so difficult 

I will call my best friends or family that I know will support me 

I will research online support groups globally 

I’m scared I won’t be okay legally and worry what’s going to happen to me

I will seek recommendations of good divorce lawyers and get a second or third opinion if anything is unclear

I will find other women who have gone through it and ask all my questions

I’m worried I won’t be strong enough to handle a battle 

I will recruit a good support team to assist me.

I will hire a divorce lawyer I trust, work with a divorce coach and surround myself with loving friends to guide me 

I will focus on exercise, meditation and eating well to get me through it  

I’m concerned I won’t have enough money for the divorce process or after 

I will sit with a lawyer to understand where I stand financially 

I will meet with a divorce coach to work out a plan to save money and increase my income through my own business or employment 

I’m worried others will judge me or even pity me

 I will only give as much detail as I’m comfortable with. 

 If I feel hostility, judgement or criticism I will distance myself from these people for as long as I need to so that I can cope better

I’m scared of being lonely and I know I will hate being on my own

If I hate being on my own, I will plan new activities to do in the evenings like learn a new skill or language, read, or take exercise in doors. 

During the times my husband will have the children, I will visit my friends, family, do an online or in person course, start a new hobby, work on creating my own business. 

I will ask for help or company if I’m feeling low.

I will be kind, loving and patient with myself. 

I’m scared I will always be single 

When I am ready I will speak to friends about how they met someone or if they want to match make me. 

I will join an online dating site. 

Speak to a coach that is knowledgeable in finding love. 

I will take action to not be single if that is important to me and if it is not I will stay as I am 

What if getting divorced is a big mistake?

Before I make the decision I will sit with a marriage specialist and any other specialists If necessary, so I know all the facts as much as I can before I begin. 

I will not beat myself up I will trust what my heart and intuition is advising me.  

Ending your marriage is one of the biggest decisions you will ever take in your life and it’s one that deserves careful, in-depth consideration. 

There is a list of places discussed to turn to here: marriage specialists, friends, divorce coaches, family members, divorce lawyers, divorced friends, child psychologists and online support groups and forums are all great. 

We recommend you explore them all and be sure to prepare yourself financially and logistically before divorce. Get as much information as possible from divorce lawyers or coaches on how to do this.

We hope this is useful to you, in summary use your fears to show you where to turn to next.  

Getting divorced is a decision that doesn’t affect just you – it affects your spouse, your children, your extended family and friends so it isn’t a decision to be made lightly and it is going to be scary, so be kind to yourself and arrange a good support system. 

Written by Nicola Beer, Marriage & Divorce Specialist 

For more info on this and other counselling topics, visit www.purepeacecoaching.com

Read more:

How To Tell Your Children About Tour Divorce

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

0-60 On The Friendship Scale

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