Divorce is often a two-way street. Even if one person initiates it, both parties are usually aware that there are major issues in the relationship. But that doesn’t mean no one has ever been blindsided by divorce.
In fact, if you feel like your divorce came out of nowhere, you’re in the same boat as many men who were unaware their marriage was in trouble. Two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women, and the men don’t always see it coming. If you were blindsided by divorce, here’s some advice to live by.
The First Stage of Being Blindsided by Divorce
If your wife files for divorce out of the blue, you probably feel like you were hit by a train. You may not know how to respond, and it will be tough to come to terms with your new reality for a while. You may start begging her to change her mind or blaming yourself for every little mistake you’ve made in the relationship. You’ll likely feel confused, shocked and betrayed, and it’s going to take some time to get back on your feet.
Every one of the strong emotions you’ re feeling are normal, and it will take some time to get your bearings. To be living happily one moment and all the sudden be hit with life-changing news would take a toll on anyone, but there are things you can do to help yourself through this troubling time and come out even stronger than before.
Think Back to Warning Signs
You may feel like you got blindsided by divorce, but take some time to reflect on your relationship to see if there were any warning signs. Did you and your spouse ever talk about the negative aspects of your relationship? Every marriage has its ups and downs, but when the going gets rough, communication is everything. It’s key to holding a relationship together. If you and your ex never talked about your problems and let the issues build up inside of you, that could lead to toxicity in your relationship.
Other warning signs could include your spouse finding excuses to spend less time with you, a lack of intimacy, or increased criticism. Disagreements over little things, again and again , a lack of respect and overly defensive engagements are also signs your marriage was heading downhill. Reflecting on the warning signs will help you come to terms with your divorce as well as help you in your future relationships.
Lean on Your Support Network
You’re going to need your support network more than ever when you’re blindsided by divorce. Lean on friends and family who are always there to support you and know how to have your back. Sure, it’s tempting to turn to someone who bad mouths your ex, but it’s much healthier and productive to stay away from them and spend time with encouraging people who will help you get back on your feet.
If you have a therapist, call them as soon as you can. And if you don’t, look into getting one ASAP. You’ll likely be dealing with a lot of emotions you don’t know how to handle, and although your friends are there for you, they may not know how to respond or give advice if they’ve never been through your situation themselves. A therapist can help you get back on track and deal with your overwhelming feelings.
Do Your (Attorney) Homework
You’re probably going to need an attorney to deal with your divorce, but hold off on hiring the first one you meet. You may just want to get it over with , or you may be scared and want to grab the first one you come in contact with, but make sure to do your homework. The first lawyer you consult may not be the right one for you, and when you’re dealing with a life-altering event like divorce, you want to make sure you’ve got the right person behind you. Make sure they aren’t just telling you what you want to hear, so you’ll hire them. They have to give you good advice, listen to you, and have your best interests in mind at all times.
Be Aware of All Financial Changes
Being blindsided by divorce is tough enough as it is without the financial changes that come along with it, and the last thing you want is to have your finances out of whack without being prepared. With attorney fees, court costs, and other expenses, divorce is expensive in itself, but you need to be aware of financial changes that come with a divorce.
Your tax filing status changes after a divorce, and you’re likely going to need to find a new place to live. If you were paying off a mortgage, car loan, or shared debt, make sure those is sues get addressed in your divorce settlement. Remember that as long as your name is still attached to a financial obligation, you have to be ready for anything. If you have kids, you need to work out child support, and a splitting of assets means rethinking your retirement plan.
Keep It Off Social Media
Social media has become somewhat of a public diary, and it can be tempting to tell everyone on your Facebook page what a horrible person your ex is because you were blindsided by divorce. Don’t be that guy that gets in serious trouble down the road. Keep in mind that anything you say on social media can be used against you in your divorce case.
Not only that, your friends, family and acquaintances on social media will look at you in a different light. Some may comment with encouraging words, but let’s face it, no one likes to see people airing their dirty laundry on social media.
It’s easy to vent and say bad things about your ex-spouse when you first get hit by divorce, but you’ll probably regret it down the road. The bottom line: if you want your divorce to go smoothly, keep quiet on social media.
Divorce Isn’t Always a Bad Thing
When you’re blindsided by divorce, it can feel like the world is crumbling beneath you, especially if it came out of nowhere. One day you see yourself as a happily married man, and the next you’re looking for a lawyer and figuring out when you’ll have to go to court. But most marriages don’t just end for no reason, and even if you feel like it came as a surprise, you were likely aware of some of the problems in your marriage beforehand.
Look at your divorce as an opportunity. Maybe there’s an activity you always wanted to get into or a different career path you wanted, but you got sidetracked when you got married. Divorce is a very good time for self-reflection and digging deeper into what you want your ideal life to look like. Take the opportunity to follow your passion and start fresh! It may not be a quick turnaround, and it will likely take time to get back on your feet, but when you look at it as an opportunity rather than a loss, you’ll bounce back much faster.