FOR THE NON-INITIATOR
6. Understand that your spouse has had time to adjust to the idea of divorce, having thought about it long before the announcement was made. You may wonder how he or she could be okay when you feel so badly. You will improve in time too.
7. Be aware that men and women do divorce differently. Men are pragmatic. They are usually bottom-line focused and go for the best deal they can get. Women experience the settlement as an indication of their worth to their husband or partner. They are often shocked and hurt by their partner’s proposals. Women are naturally more communal and their instinct is usually inclusive, while in the case of divorce, men can be exclusive.
8. Focus on yourself and avoid (as much as you can) getting wrapped up in wondering about how your mate is doing, what she’s saying, who he’s with, etc. This will lead to feelings of victimization and depression. Focus instead on what you can do for yourself and your children. Read a book, listen to music, exercise, read stories to your kids, volunteer for an organization, Don’t isolate yourself. Join groups that interest you. Gain independent experience, try new things.
9. Remember that your children need you. They still need a functional parent even if you are very upset. Tell them your upset is temporary and you will feel better soon. That will give them hope that the future will be better. Take care of yourself and find support. Call your local churches to find a divorce support group. Read supportive literature.
10. Try not to speak badly of the parent who left. A common misconception is that the one who left the home left both the spouse and the children. That’s not usually an accurate interpretation and hurts the children. He or she has left the marriage, not the kids and in fact, not their spouse entirely. The relationship has changed but a co-parenting relationship will go on forever.