My coaching practice is focused on how to heal and rebuild your life and confidence after divorce. But does the process change if you’re the one who decided to leave, instead of the one who was left?
That question has come up repeatedly in my practice, so today I want to offer a few tips for all the women who are thinking, I’m the one who asked for a divorce—so now what do I do?
The women I see in this situation have reached a point in their relationship where they feel they can’t stay anymore—things have just gotten too bad. But even though they have plenty of good reasons to leave, they still feel guilty about it.
Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Maybe I’m being unfair. I’m the one who is leaving, so I can’t ask for any concessions.
I want to address these harmful thought patterns and talk about what to expect when you’re in this situation.
> Set boundaries around your emotional space and thoughts
If your partner thinks things “weren’t that bad,” they may not be very happy about your decision to leave. They may attempt to reason you out of it, turn on the charm to show you what you’re giving up, or lay on a guilt trip to keep you from leaving.
So my first recommendation is to think carefully about what conversations you are willing to have with the other person, and whether those conversations bring clarity to the situation. Unless there’s a clear benefit to listening, don’t engage.
I have the same recommendation for dealing with your inner critic. It is hard to leave a relationship, no matter how fed up or frustrated you feel. So don’t forget to offer yourself compassion—just like you would to a close friend.
> Don’t sign everything away or make agreements just because you feel guilty
Yes, you’re the one who made the decision to break off a bad relationship, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your divorce settlement.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of women who walk away from their fair share of the marital assets because they feel guilty. Or they agree to less alimony or child support because they think they are somehow “compensating” the other person for their emotional pain.
Although your feelings are completely understandable, trust me on this—you’ll feel differently once some time has passed.
I would highly encourage you to wait and get the perspective of your lawyer, therapist, or coach before making any agreements or snap decisions.
> You are still allowed to grieve the loss of your relationship
There’s a perception out there that people who do the leaving in a relationship have an easier time
healing than the people who are left. But the truth is that every person and every situation is different.
Some women will work through the five stages of grief early on in the process, before they decide to take the next step. But other women spend lots of time cycling through each stage of loss, and it takes a long time to fully let go and heal.
The important thing to remember is that your feelings are valid. Now matter how fast or slow the process is, acknowledging and honoring your emotions will help you work through them more completely—leading to a more complete healing and greater joy at the end.
Do you have questions about how to find clarity in your own divorce process? I would love to help!
I offer coaching options designed to help you no matter what stage of divorce you’re in and regardless of whether you’re looking for short-term or long-term support. Schedule your Coaching Curiosity Call today!