Stop Divorcing!

How To Prevent An Ugly Divorce

Last week it was announced that News Corporation founder and CEO Rupert Murdoch would be ending his 14-year marriage to businesswoman Wendi Deng. As if a decision like that wasn't difficult enough, there's been a myriad of media sensationalizing their break-up, speculating reasons for their split and inspiring what many couples in their same shoes fear: an ugly divorce.

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Divorce, in its own right, is painful. But the process, believe it or not, doesn't have to be prolonged. "A healthy marriage is the top choice, but runner up is the healthy divorce," says Manhattan psychoanalyst Gail Saltz, MD, author of the critically-acclaimedBecoming Real: Defeating the Stories We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back. Ditching the idea that there is no such thing as a civil divorce is what inspires an understanding of how being decent to your partner of many years and—in some cases—the parent of your children is best for you, your ex and your children in the end, says Dr. Saltz.

To better pave the way to understanding, couples must, first and foremost, communicate. "Creating a dialogue between two people versus making assumptions can curb resentments," says Lisa Bahar, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Newport Beach, California. While divorce may be an obvious course of action to one spouse, it may not be to another. In which case, it can be beneficial to seek out a therapist or mediator—someone who can help a couple divide and yet preserve, says Dr. Saltz.

But in order for therapy to be successful, one has to do their homework. "Finding a therapist who can maintain objectivity, so one partner doesn't feel he/she is aligning with the other, is very important—it's an art," says Bahar. "It may take a few hit and misses, but the right therapist can defuse a defensive atmosphere." (Read more on finding the right couples therapist.)

For couples who have children, Manhattan psychologist Joseph Cilona, PsyD, MMS, also finds professional support to be extremely effective. "There are organizations, like Soho Parenting, that specialize in assisting parents with how to approach telling children, what to say and not to say, and how to handle any acting out or other behavioral problems that might arise," he says. "This kind of neutral objective and expert advice can really make a big difference."

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"Children are incredibly perceptive," continues Dr. Cilona. "When serious marital discord erupts, the most important thing to avoid is lying or pretending you're not having problems. It's much more damaging to children of all ages to be forced to cope with this kind of charade than to simply face the fact that parents are having a conflict and even considering divorce."

However, the hardest part of therapy may be unearthing that willingness to forgive. It becomes less enticing if there's another person involved, says Bahar, but coming to terms with why you and your partner are breaking up, how the two of you lost your way, will give you closure. It doesn't necessarily make it better, but it does put you in a place to enter another relationship without any lingering feelings or resentments.

Then, it comes back to you. "Taking care of you physically with diet and exercise, which helps with mood and stress, can help a person feel capable to move on rather than sick and down," says Dr. Saltz. "Write out a plan for the year and where you'd like to be by the end of it, so you're looking ahead to good stuff rather than ruminating over what happened."

Bahar is also a proponent of self-growth. "Humans are very delicate, no matter how strong they appear. Divorce is an adjustment, a bereavement process and with bereavement, there's acceptance and with acceptance, it becomes endurable. You can handle this."

What not to do: stalk on social media, lash out over email or text and try to forge a friendship too soon. "When a relationship is over, a space opens up in your life that eventually must be filled with other things," says Dr. Cilona. "Spending time focused on the ex through online monitoring can dramatically slow down or even stifle this process completely, keeping you stuck in the past and creating serious obstacles to a satisfying new future."

Additionally, if not counterintuitively, preventing an ugly divorce can be as simple as preparing for it before trouble event starts, says Dr. Cilona. "This can be as difficult a discussion, but as tough as it can be, it can also be extremely effective.

Video: How To Stop Your Divorce From Getting Ugly

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Date: 06.12.2018, 13:06 / Views: 55263