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1. Make the decision to break up

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Before a married couple decides that the partnership is beyond saving, they will often have tried everything under the sun to save it. Date nights, changes in routine, couples therapy: sometimes when you’ve tried every option, there’s just nothing left to do but split.

It’s a heartbreaking call to make

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This decision is far from easy, and it’s always sad; a union that both parties genuinely believed would last a lifetime, is coming to an end. It’s not uncommon for people to delay actually getting a divorce for many years, for a multitude of reasons.

2. A period of separation

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Whether it’s for financial reasons, to avoid the divorce itself clashing with major life events (like children’s exams or family milestones), or simply to give the decision time to settle, often couples will live apart or separated for a while before taking the plunge of the actual divorce.

3. Absorb the news

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Of course, if the decision wasn’t hers or a mutual agreement, the first thing a woman will do is have to deal with the trauma of receiving the news: her spouse wants to end their marriage. Whether this felt inevitable or came out of the blue, it’s bound to be an emotional gut punch.

4. Consult with a lawyer

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Divorce is a tragic on a romantic level, but it’s also very, very legally complicated. More often than not, the life the couple shared as spouses is completely intermeshed- with property, pets, and finances all in the mix. Getting legal advice as soon as possible is probably the smart thing to do.

5. Consider mediation

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Mediation, for everyone lucky enough to not have experience of this themselves yet, is where a neutral third party (a professional mediator) will help the couple try to work out through discussion how they’re going to handle the split. Who gets what etc. etc.

6. Tell friends

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It’s so daunting to have to go to friends, who have supported you through your marriage, and admit that it is, once and for all, ending. Lots of people struggle with feelings of embarrassment, but it’s vital to remember that there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

They love you for you

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Another key thing to cling to in this scenario is the fact that your friends just want what’s best for you. If that’s divorce, they will get behind you one hundred percent and support you all the way. And, hey, if they don’t? Maybe it’s time for some new friends!

7. Tell family

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What could be worse than breaking the news to your friends? That’s right, breaking the news to your family. No one wants their parents/loved ones to worry about them, so it’s difficult to tell them that you’re going through something so emotionally hard.

It can be awkward if they paid for the wedding…

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Another thing that could be playing on her mind when telling the family, is the financial investment they put into the wedding. Weddings are crazy expensive, and a lot of people get help from the bank of Mom and Dad. But remember, this is likely to be the last thing on their mind- they’ll want to make sure you’re ok!

8. Build a support network

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The good thing about powering through the horrible process of breaking the news to your nearest and dearest, is that you’re setting yourself up for a fantastic support network. Once you get past the nerves of sharing, you’ll have tonnes of people on hand to give support, advice and (crucially) hugs.

9. Explain it to the kids

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When you have kids, you’re signing up to a LIFETIME of difficult conversations. It starts with questions like ‘why is the sky blue’, develops into tricky enquiries about where their dead goldfish is, and before you know it you’re fielding the tricky “where do babies come from” one.

It’s hard to explain to little ones

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Even with all that practise under a mom’s belt, the question of why mommy and daddy aren’t going to live together any more is a thorny one. Lots of moms will want to make sure the kids understand the situation, but that neither parent comes off as the villain.

10. Think about child custody

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Kids may well follow up with questions about where they will live- with mommy or with daddy? This questions will likely have been at the forefront of a woman’s mind from the moment the split was decided. It’s a hot button issue in almost every mediation.

11. Assess her finances

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Many women will have to take a long hard look at their personal finances during divorce. Whilst lots of couples are tending towards sharing childcare nowadays, there is still a trend amongst heterosexual families with kids for mom to be a the stay at home parent. This might mean that her personal resources are less than their (soon to be ex) partner’s.

12. Have a glow up

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I know, PHEW! A small silver lining! Divorce is like the mother of all romantic splits: The Ultimate Break Up. And everyone knows there’s no better time for a makeover than post break up! Whether it’s because you’re genuinely feeling more yourself, or in the interests of revenge.

13. Think about the bricks and mortar

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Just because you’re ready for your marriage to be over, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to leave the marital home. There will be big decisions to be made about the house or apartment, if they own it: which partner gets to stay, or do you sell up entirely?

14. Consider reconciliation

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It’s very natural to, as some point in all the trials and tribulations of divorce, to consider whether it was really the right decision. Many people will think about the possibility of reconciliation- whether they decide to go for it or not is of course, up to them.

15. Get professional help

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We absolutely LOVE how good women are, in general, at feeling their feelings. After all, there’s absolutely no use keeping them bottled up, or trying to ignore them- much like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, they will not be ignored! So we may as well get in there and deal.

Queens go to counselling

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The more comfortable you are with that fact of life, the more likely you are to invest the time and money in seeing someone professional to talk things through. Imagine trying to work your way through all this stuff on your own? They don’t physically hold your hand, but it feels like that on the inside!

16. Prioritise self care

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Now, we’re not sure if every woman does this during a divorce- but they should! Women, sometimes especially moms, aren’t the best at prioritising their needs. During something as heart wrenching and exhausting as a divorce, it’s really important for her to take some time to prioritise her peace.

We’re talking journalling, baths, the full shebang

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Those three things personally always make me feel better (until my roommates bang on the door because I’ve been in the bath too long). But it could be anything that makes that person feel well and centred: a long walk in nature, a hilarious podcast, or cooking their favorite meal.

17. Reassess their direction in life

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They say that all is fair and love and war, and plenty of songs and poems describe love as a battlefield. If this is true, surely divorce is the biggest battle of the lot. But, once the dust begins to settle, it could be an exciting time. Everything in her life is changing.

The roads not taken

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Perhaps it could be the time to reassess things: were there avenues in life she didn’t explore, in favor of committing to the marriage? It could be career aspirations or further education, even moving to a new location. It may be complex, but the spirit of change can be awakened in this period.

18. Blow off some steam

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This one is key to keeping your sanity during a divorce. Amidst all the legal jargon, mediation, paperwork and difficult conversations- lady, you’ve got to find some time to let your hair down! That can mean a bunch of things to people: it could be a big night out, and or it might be a cosy night in with friends.

19. Change their name

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As things start to move forward legally, there will be lots of updating to do: house deeds, registered addresses etc. Perhaps the most noticeable one is changing your name- a lot of women choose to revert back to their maiden names, to signal the parting of the ways.

20. Mourn

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Unless you’re Nicole Kidman divorcing Tom Cruise (see above), a divorce is unlikely to be a jubilant occasion. Whatever happened, at some point you both though this would last forever. Even though it’s the right thing, it’s crucial that everyone takes time to mourn the loss of the marriage.

21. Celebrate!

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Having said that, there will be a time for celebration too. (We know, we’re so fickle!) After the effort that goes into detangling these two lives, when it finally goes through there has to be space made for a good old fashioned party! Even if you’re just celebrating not having to pay your lawyer anymore.

22. Hope for the future

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This ending is also a beginning! A divorcee has chosen to end their marriage, meaning they must be hopeful that a better life is out there- otherwise what would the point be? As the divorce draws to a close, she’ll start to feel the warm and exciting glimmers of hope.

23. Back on the market, baby!

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This one might not come immediately, and in fact may take an age to get to, but eventually- she’ll be back on the market! Ready to move on, move forward, and meet someone knew. Our human hearts are resilient, and one day most divorcees will be back on the market looking for love again.


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