Divorce can be painful and difficult, but according to Divorce Detox experts Allison Pescosolido, M.A. and Andra Brosh, Ph.D-- it doesn't have to be. GalTime caught up with the divorce therapy specialists learn about a more positive way to approach divorce.
GalTime: How is today's divorce different that divorce from even five years ago?
Allison and Andra: You would think that a lot has changed with divorce over the past 5 years, but as a society we still generally hold a very archaic view of this life challenge. People feel as ashamed and embarrassed as they did even 20 years ago because divorce has such a negative connotation.
The biggest impact on divorce over the past 5 years is due to the economy. Couples separate but live together because they cannot afford to live apart, and more people are using mediators instead of duking it out and spending their life savings.
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GalTime: Does divorce have to be extremely confrontational?
Allison and Andra: Divorce doesn't have to be extremely confrontational. Divorce can bring out the worst in some people. People have a choice about how they want to get through the experience, but they often play out the cliche of what comes to mind for most of us when we think about divorce. With many couples the focus is on retaliation, punishing each other and fighting over finances like two toddlers on a schoolyard. Many people try to work out their emotional turmoil incorrectly through legal negotiations when what they really need, is a Divorce Detox to get the emotional help and education to navigate the divorce transition in a healthy, adaptive way.
GalTime: What are your tips for couples navigating their way through divorce?
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1. Take care of your health during this process because the stress of divorce takes a toll on the body.
2. Get help with your emotions instead of taking them out on your soon-to-be-ex.
3. Remember that divorce is a transition, not a way of life.
4. Get regular support from a trusted friend, family member, or professional.
5. Consult with a lawyer, mediator or other professional as needed to ensure your financial security.
6. Educate yourself about divorce and the process through the use of books, websites, or advisers.
7. Avoid making any sudden or hasty decisions about your life, finances, or family.
Related: Should You Keep Your Ex's Name?
GalTime: What are the trends you're seeing with couples divorcing?
Allison and Andra: There are many trends we're seeing:
Mediation: Going to mediation and saving money on legal fees is becoming more popular. Mediation and collaborative law have become a preferred solution for many divorcing couples. Divorce can be extremely expensive, and most mediators can help couples get to a settlement without wasting unnecessary money or time. The court system is currently over burdened, and there is a movement towards preventing cases from going to trial.
Co-Parenting Counseling: Going to co-parenting counseling so children are not damaged from the divorce. Children are understandably the biggest concern for divorcing parents. Learning to co-parent through divorce has become a normal part of the divorce process instead of it only applying to severe cases that involve custody issues.
Co-Habitating: Quite a number of divorcing couples are co-habitating after separation or divorce. This is a fairly recent trend that was brought about by the challenged economy. Many couples simply cannot afford a second home and are forced to live under the same roof. This is obviously very challenging, but it's often the only option.
GalTime: How can couples lessen the emotional impact?
Allison and Andra: Couples can lessen the emotional impact by changing their relationship with their soon-to-be-ex. Trying to not see each other as the enemy, but as a business associate reduces some of the more heated emotions that can arise. It's also important to separate out one's emotions from the more concrete issues that need to be dealt with. Being realistic with expectations, recognizing that divorce isn't usually “fair", and having the intention of maintaining one's personal integrity are all ways to not become too overwhelmed by emotions. Professional help is imperative to mitigate the emotional impact.
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Allison Pescosolido, M.A. and Andra Brosh, Ph.D. are experts in Divorce Recovery and starting over. They co-founded Divorce Detox, a full service center to transform the lives of individuals transitioning through divorce. With advanced degrees in the field of Psychology, and as certified Grief Recovery Specialists® by The Grief Recovery Institute, Andra and Allison are proactively challenging and changing the stigma of divorce on a national level.
Photo Credit: Laura Grier