Many divorced individuals would agree that re-establishing their independence is a common, and unexpected, struggle. When you spend years learning to compromise with someone else and create a comfortable coexistence, reforming your habits can be confusing. It is important for every divorced person to take steps to establish financial and emotional independence as quickly as possible so they can experience a greater sense of fulfillment as a single person. Here are five ways you can establish independence after separation from your spouse.
- Let yourself say “no” sometimes.
When you are going through an early divorce or separation, you may find that you have more time on your hands. It is natural, and even healthy. to provide yourself with distractions by making plans to do things with others. In time, always making plans can become mentally, emotionally, and financially taxing. It is important to prioritize accordingly and only make plans that fit into your lifestyle.
- Do not let yourself be manipulated.
Not allowing yourself to be manipulated is an especially important skill to learn when you are going through a divorce, especially when children are involved. Divorce impacts everyone in your immediate circle, which can include your ex’s family. It is not uncommon for extended family members to behave in ways that are manipulative or controlling when they fear they are losing a relationship with you or your children. Responding to their tactics can lead to more emotional entanglements that you will be forced to sort out later. Establish boundaries early on and be sure to stick with them no matter what.
- Be honest with yourself.
For many people, the emotional trauma that often occurs as the result of a divorce can cause them to avoid uncomfortable truths about their finances. The more you sweep your problems under the rug now, the more you will have to deal with them later. If your divorce left you in a financial hole, there may be options you can work out with some debtors. It is important to continue opening your mail and answering the phone. Creating a budget after your divorce can also be a helpful exercise for avoiding further financial grief.
- Be honest with others.
If you suddenly find yourself unable to invest the same amount of time, energy, or finances into some relationships in your life, have an honest talk with your friends. If you are accustomed to spending your Friday nights at happy hour with a few close friends, but can’t afford it right now, it is OK, to be honest with them. They may be happy to adjust plans and spend Friday nights drinking cheap wine and watching a movie at home with you.
- Keep detailed account records.
Those joint accounts that seemed like a great idea when you were married need to be reevaluated now that you are single again. The majority of loans and debts are settled during mediation for many couples; however, there are other accounts that may be overlooked that you could be held liable for. If both of your names are on any bank accounts or cell phone, cable, and electric bills, you need to begin reaching out to each company and find out how you can get your name removed from the account. If you plan to continue service with the company, create a new account that is only in your name.
If you are struggling to gain independence after your divorce, you are not alone. It is important to remember that it will take time, and you will face many pitfalls. But you can avoid these headaches when you take a proactive approach to establish your independence soon after a divorce. If you’re currently attempting to file for divorce, give us a call today.