I am a professional counselor in Castle Rock and Centennial that works with those who need help going through divorce, adjusting to life as a single parent or starting life after divorce.
Divorce Can Feel like the Ultimate Betrayal
Whether you are the petitioner or the respondent in a divorce, it hurts. You intend for your marriage to last forever. You marry with the intent to grow old with your spouse. Your hope was to make wonderful memories and few, if any, hurtful ones. You even worked hard to make it work, no matter what it took. That is the vow you took on that day.
We all want to know that we are loved and have someone to love. We want to be known and loved by another, warts and all. I will never forget that truism from a 2004 movie called Shall We Dance, which features a married couple. Because the husband is coming home late at night, the wife goes to a marriage therapist for some guidance. The therapist asks her something like, “Why do you want to stay married?” Her response is that marriage is where we are known. She describes marriage as a place where your spouse knows what you are like—when you get out of bed in the morning, do you slip on slippers or go barefoot to the bathroom? Marriage is knowing whether coffee is a necessary part of your breakfast. It is a type of intimacy that, when it is healthy, makes us feel that we are not alone. I really like this description of marriage and why most of us work to stay in our marriages. Marriage is an important part of many people’s lives and can be what makes those lives worth living.
Yet, marriage is hard, and it takes two to make it work. Over the lifetime of all US marriages, 50 percent will end in divorce. If your marriage is one of the many that has come to an end, you may feel as though your whole world has been turned upside down. I am here to help you if you are in the process of deciding whether to continue in your marriage or if divorce is your best option.
Change Is Hard
You may have held onto hope and tried all you could to forge the kind of intimacy that was in that movie. When your efforts fail, there can be a long period of grief over the loss of that dream.
Divorce changes some very fundamental parts of your life. First, you no longer identify as “husband” or “wife” and begin to assume the role of a “single adult.” Even if you know that your marriage had to come to an end, perhaps because of abuse or deep betrayal, it can still feel demoralizing to find yourself single again. And, to make decisions more complex, you may suddenly have to consider how to be a single mom or dad.
Secondly, you will likely encounter life changes that happen with friendships, family and work due to your changed marital status. Some of these changes can be very positive, because you have additional time that you are able to give to building those relationships. Other times, there is loss in those relationships because family loyalties make for choosing sides, single parenting can be stressful and friends that were gained through the marriage fall unexpectedly off your grid. You may feel more uncertain of who you are and on whom you can rely than even before.
Questions Pile Up
Maybe you have more and more questions while dealing with divorce. Whether you are wondering how to navigate a home that you and your ex-spouse still share, finding a new apartment or officially signing the divorce papers and saying goodbye for the last time, you may wonder:
- How will I get through it?
- How do I start to make sense of my life and move forward in a productive way?
- How do I begin to date again?
- How will I adjust to being a single parent and raising our kids?
- How do I juggle all this without becoming depressed and lonely?
- Who am I now without the marriage and family unit that once shaped my sense of identity and belonging?
Never Be Ashamed of Your Emotions!
And, as you wonder how to cope with divorce, you may be feeling stuck and overwhelmed by a rush of confusing emotions: Fear, Anger, Sadness, Doubt, Abandonment, Betrayal, Loneliness and yes, even Freedom. Many times, these emotions come from the grief that you are still processing.
During divorce counseling, I will encourage you to never be ashamed of your emotions. Emotions just are; they are neither bad nor good. Most importantly, sitting with those emotions is a way to understand yourself better and to empathize with yourself. With help, you can develop the skills you need to resolve this grief, develop greater self-awareness and move on with a new sense of empowerment.
One of the most confusing and inhibiting emotions that almost all people express while considering divorce or even post-divorce is their ongoing love for their spouse. You, too, may wonder how to move on after divorce if you still feel affection for this person with whom you can no longer tolerate marriage.
I can help you understand those troubling emotions. In sessions, I use breathing and mindfulness techniques to help clients begin to better process these emotions. EMDR, an innovative and powerful therapy technique, is also useful in helping people put difficult emotions into context. We will talk about how to move forward with marriage counseling, individual counseling or the process of divorce and rebuilding your life.
Divorce Therapy Can Help You Make The Best Decisions to Move Forward
Divorce therapy is an investment in acquiring the tools that make the difference between making good choices or poor ones as you begin this new journey or chapter of your life. In addition to helping you clarify your feelings, I can point you to community resources that will guide you toward a more equitable division of property, realtors that specialize in selling homes of people divorcing, divorce recovery groups and groups to help you learn how to be a good single mom or dad. Did you know that more divorces are being handled by mediators rather than attorneys because of the cost saving factor? Finding a good divorce counselor can save you money as well as help you advocate productively for your new life!
No two people have the exact same needs and goals after divorce. I tailor your counseling to fit your hopes for your coming year or years. I can help you:
- Decide whether or not you are ready to date again, and what that might look like.
- Establish healthy boundaries for the dating process.
- Establish healthy boundaries for single parenting.
- Work through forgiving your partner.
- Learn negotiation skills for parenting with your ex-partner.
- Find social connections.
- Feel encouraged and supported as you find a new job or a new church.
- Help you restore your sense of dignity if the divorce was due to abuse or other betrayal.
Depending on your unique situation, we can talk about many aspects of being a single parent. Often, the most important first step is to accept and help your children understand that they now have two homes. These two homes will naturally have different sets of rules for the children. With time and guidance, they will be able to adapt to each parent’s home and rules.
You and your ex-spouse may run into conflict as you navigate how to co-parent. This is normal, and often stems from incompatible parenting styles. Here are four examples:
- One parent wants to be the children’s “favorite parent” and may be a better friend than a parent.
- Some parents work to provide their children with a consistent, safe home where the parent is available with both acceptance and guidance. This is the healthiest parenting style.
- Another parent may want the children to follow strict guidelines of discipline and Authoritarian parenting is not totally bad, but it does not address the emotional needs of the children, especially while they adjust to divorce.
- Sometimes, one parent will deliberately denigrate the other parent to the children. This is a very unhealthy way to parent and can cause a lot of emotional damage to the children.
The emotions of jealousy and anger may be part of the divorce, but to raise healthy children, you must not allow those emotions to shape your parenting. I can offer you tips about working with an alienating parent. In my counseling office, I can help you become the kind of parent that has a healthy, safe and secure attachment with your children. I can also help you accept and work with conflicting parenting styles while making the transition as smooth as possible for the children.
With Divorce Therapy, You Can Embrace Your Future
Regardless of your particular situation, if you are struggling with the end of your marriage, I can help you learn how to move on from the divorce. With guidance and support, you can land on your feet in a new, brighter life.
Call 720-982-7057 or complete the form on the right and I will get right back to you.
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