So, “til death do you part” has played itself out differently than you had originally imagined or planned. And now you are facing a whirlwind of emotions while trying to make sense of how you got there and how to proceed with moving forward. Regardless of which stage of divorce you are in, I can fully appreciate what you are feeling and dealing with. I get it. I’ve been there myself, more than once. And each time I have come through it with a greater sense of self and financial well-being.
Divorce can be heart-wrenching, overwhelming, and expensive—both financially and emotionally. Most of my friends and clients are women, and like me, most have experienced divorce. Regardless of our age, the emotions and financial issues that surface relative to divorce are quite similar.
- Fear of being alone. Whether you are 35 or 60, divorce can leave you feeling as though you are alone in this world, and that can be frightening. The 35-45 year old asks “Am I going to be able to manage all of this by myself?” Kids, work, and finances. It’s about getting through each day with some sense of ease. The 55-65 year old’s fear of being alone feels a bit different. It’s more about “loneliness” and having a sense of purpose in life. This woman says “It’s been so long since I’ve been alone; my husband was everything to me. Who am I now and what am I going to do with myself?”
- Scarcity. Most prevalent is the fear of there not being enough money. For the 35-45 year old it’s functional. It’s worrying about keeping up with the bills and balancing ‘needs’ vs. ‘wants’. It’s the “stay at home” mom having to find employment in order to support her family. For the 55-65 year old, it’s about sustainability…making money last and continuing an accustomed lifestyle.
It’s fairly easy to identify practical strategies to help ease these fears…learning sound cash management skills, budgeting, working with a financial advisor. However, transitioning through a divorce successfully also requires emotional fortitude. The two emotions referenced speak directly to the individual’s sense of self. When you fear that there isn’t enough money, the underlying belief may be “I am not (good) enough”. I had a client ask me “If I’m financially independent, will I always be alone?” These are profound statements and questions about one’s sense of self-value that can lead to identifying and dismantling old, negative beliefs.
Life satisfaction increases as you consciously seek to respond to change in healthier, more productive ways. Here are some steps to help you with this process:
- Tend to the “business” of divorce. There are certain items and issues that will demand your immediate attention. Get organized, prioritize, and be resourceful…call on experts and friends for support and guidance.
- Get grounded. Having a routine around your daily activities will help ease your stress. This includes having a system for managing your money.
- Be compassionate towards yourself. Take time for YOU.
- Journal. Begin to identify your fears and behaviors in regard to money, and work to understand and overcome the underlying issues.
- Observe your children. I was a single parent of 2 small boys. They taught me the meaning of resilience and living in the moment. Children are magical and prefer to play than sweat the small stuff!
Recognize that with any life transition, including divorce, the cycle of “death and rebirth” is at hand. Perspective is a choice. Your marriage may have ended but, your life is beginning new. Divorce can be one of the most liberating experiences you’ll ever have. When you face the fear of being alone or the insufficiency of money, you are opening the door to building self-confidence and ultimately, independence. And when you can live alone comfortably, you have set the foundation to having a healthy relationship with yourself, with money, and who knows….perhaps even a new partnership filled with endless possibilities and joy!
Christine Mathieu is a Financial Life Planning® Advisor and founder/owner of the Mathieu Center for Financial Wholeness in East Aurora, NY. Christine teaches workshops throughout Western New York and is the author of “From Wisdom to Wealth…Insights to Creating Your Path to Wealth”. Follow her blog at www.thatmoneygirl.com .
Linked in Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/christine-mathieu/23/612/b90