Deferring Separation or Divorce Until After the Holidays?
It’s been two years now since I sat in my apartment when it was new to me and my custody of the children was a whopping 30% even though the children were living only 10 minutes away the other 70% of the time with their Dad. As one can imagine, it was a pretty dreadful time. The muted colors as the sun changed position with the Fall played heavily on my emotional state and it seemed like I couldn’t keep enough tissues next to my bedside.
I supposed though, at the time, that this was an improvement over the year prior when I had been living in the same house with my ex and we had been mapping out my impending move to my parents house which was about 65 miles away. Being that all the bank accounts had been depleted of funds since my ex had routed his salary to a new personal account of his own, with the additional issue that the house in which we were living had been his father’s family home, it was pretty much up to me to move out. You’ll have to read my upcoming book for more of those juicy details.
Somehow we came up with this grand plan that we would wait it out until both after the holidays and after my fortieth birthday on January 8th. It was excruciating to say the least. And my Fortieth Birthday party? A real memorable one…I bought my own cake. Let’s just say, fifty will be grand.
So how do YOU mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually survive the holidays while deferring the separation or divorce until after the holidays?
For those who have yet to separate, here are a few things that might help. These can be applied to those with kids and without; however, I will add in specifics for working with children:
Stopping Sexual Relations
This is such a big shift in the transition period. Reaching the point where you make the choice to stop having sex with your partner/husband. Oooo…so big. Why keep up this very intimate type of sharing through the holidays if you are already planning the separation afterward? It makes it so confusing when you engage this way, when things are pretty much done. How do you make it stick? Well, transitioning to a separate sleeping space is one of the best ways.
Try to arrange a space to sleep that is separate from your soon to be ex. Having your own space to rejuvenate psychically at night can be calming. Being in the same sleeping space brings in the energies of worry and concern of the other person into your space when your body is trying to rest. It’s also important to remember that if you have children, that they are already feeling the tension with what is impending and if there is anyway that you can alleviate your own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual stress, it will truly help your children, even though you may find yourself concerned with how this move will affect them. This will be addressed below. How can you go about this? You might need to get creative.
- If finances are not such an issue (and you have children), you and your soon to be ex could go ahead and rent a separate place where you can begin what is called the nesting process. This is where one parent whom is responsible for the children that day/night stays at the primary residence with the children and the other parent stays at the newly rented abode. Then when the responsibilities for the children shift, the place where the parents are sleeping changes. This way the children get to stay in the same space and the parents have time away from each other. The primary draw backs are the cost and sharing all spaces with your ex.
- The more obvious spot would be if you had a separate room. If you have a separate room in your house, make the move into that space.
- Do you have any small space in the same house? Get creative with whatever small space you may have. I purchased an inflatable mattress that I inflated and deflated each day that fit, albeit barely, into my tiny office. I could fit it behind my desk. I also put in curtains since my office did not have a door.
- Lastly, if you really can’t find another spot, AT LEAST, put some pillows between you or sleep on a separate matt or sleeping bag even if it has to be in the same room.
Handling Emotions of the Other Party
These types of changes, although temporary, can be disconcerting for the party that does not want to make the split. It is important to remember that you are not responsible for their feelings. They are making a choice to embrace the emotionality and the feelings that arise from within them. You need a space to ground in and harness your own personal power. There will be evenings where boundaries are pushed to the edge. Nights where the other party wants into your new separate space that you have created. It will be important to hold your ground and know that you need to take care of you.
In a pinch
If you are having a week that is extra challenged or just a night that is really difficult, have a friend or two who have been through divorce whom you can call and stay the night on their couch or in their house. I call this the underground divorce network. These women whom have already been through divorce will gladly be there for you. Be sure you have several people lined up ahead of time for those moments where the emotionality becomes too charged and leaving is really the best answer. I had several friends who allowed me to stay at their house; however, prior to arranging this, I did spend one or possibly two nights in my minivan.
Handling the Emotions of the Children
Your children, should you have them, will be naturally curious about your new place to sleep. They don’t need to be told the heavy, weighty information that you are going to be separating and divorcing their father. If they are young, you can explain to them that you need space to allow your mind to dream your big healing dreams or that you have a big work project, business project that you need to have separate space to dream about. If your child is older, it’s important to address whatever elephant is in the room for them. The main message you want to convey is that they are safe, you are ok and all is going to be well. It is unnecessary and disrespectful to the child and irresponsible in your capacity as parent to drag them into it at this moment.
Dealing with Friends and Family
Oh, this is so tricky. I wish I had a magic wand to throw over this one. It has been my experience personally and professionally that this is where the dark night of the soul can get darker. You may secretly want to reach out and have friends and family support you and the changes you are making in the relationship. You may hope that they will cheer for you and support you. Chances are, you move out of the bedroom and granting them knowledge of that will scare the bejezzus out of them. You can certainly tell them, but it is best to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally that they will want to change the subject, or that they will question your decision. They may even say that this should wait until after the holidays.
What to keep in your sleeping space?
For me, my sleeping space was my sacred space. I kept an altar in another part of the house, but I also kept a small shelf next to where I would put my inflatable mattress where I had a book of inspirational quotes, my journal, several candles, and inspirational pictures. These objects would remind me to put myself to bed gently, with kindness, compassion and gratitude and to wake up in this state as well. I knew that the more I could create this feeling in my body in spite of all that was going on around me and all of the feelings and emotions of everyone else, that I could move forward with the power of grace.
In the end, what you receive through this process of creating your new sleeping space is:
- Building self-esteem. When you can powerfully assert your choice of where you want to sleep and when your ex is allowed or not allowed into your physical space, you are learning to create boundaries that employ great power for you.
- Changing your base line emotional vibration level. By having your own space, you can rest in a more calm, peaceful, joyous,loving and grateful state that will bring to you the new circumstances that you so desire. If you are stuck in the past muck of emotions within your body, it will be much much harder to move forward.
When you can move forward with increased self-esteem and an increase in positive emotion, you will be able to more easily transition into the future challenges that will lie ahead as your divorce proceeds.
Have more to strategize?
There is SOOO much more to work through than the issues of where you sleep, and chances are there are many questions about how to orchestrate the logistics that may lay on the horizon. How do you balance finances, legal to do’s, the emotions of children, the emotions of your soon to be ex and let’s not forget self-care? I am here to help when you are in need.
I am currently offering a Fall special called my One Day Quick Rise Divorce Strategy Sesh. Check it out and call me with any questions.
In joy and peace,
Margaret Jacobson, The Mother of The Mother Rising