Divorce, 2012 Holiday Edition

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Divorce, 2012 Holiday Edition

Once upon a time, I told my then-husband I wanted a divorce
a few days after Thanksgiving. That first December was hard. This is what I’ve
learned since then about the first post-split holiday season, and I offer it to

1. Let yourself be
  This time of year is chock full
of bullshit about being filled with the wonder of the season at every second.
You’re allowed to be sad, and you have a reason to be sad. Maybe you didn’t
like this time of year anyway, even before the divorce happened. Maybe you
always liked it before. If you liked it before, you’ll like it again. Just not
this year. This year sucks, and it’s ok to be sad. You’re feeling just what you
need to be feeling right now.

2. Look realistically
at what you feel like your kids are missing.
If this is the first year
without their parents together for the holidays, your kids are going to feel
sad, and they’re going to feel like something’s missing. (No matter how many
toys you buy them.) That’s normal and ok. Next year will be better for them,
because by then it will be regular and not scary to be with each parent
separately. But this year they’ll need extra hugs. This is the part that hurts
in order to feel better.

3. Think about what
kind of family you want to be this time next year.
This year is tough
because you’re feeling the sting of not being the family you (thought you) were
before. But next year at this time you’ll be a new family, one that’s honest
and loving and true. Spend some time thinking about what you want next December
to look like with your new improved family, and what you can do to get there
over the next year.

4. Think about what
you’re really missing.
Are you missing the actual relationship? Being in a
relationship in general? Or the Holiday Fantasy Relationship? You might
actually be feeling great not to be with your soon-to-be-ex, but it still hurts
that no one’s going to surprise you with a car with a big red bow on it. Figure
out exactly what you’re missing, and let the parts you’re not missing drift out
of your mind. And see if you can’t get some of the stuff you are missing from
family and friends.

5. Consider
Especially if you haven’t let yourself wallow yet, now might be
the time.

5a. I made you a

6. Accept. Accept
help. Accept invitations. Accept hugs. There are a lot of people who love you.
Let yourself be around them, even if you feel like crappy company. Brush your
teeth and put on a clean shirt and go when someone calls you. Let people be
your friends.

7. Know that next
year will be better.
I know, it’s awfully Pollyanna-ish to say. But it’s
true. Everyone said the first year was hard but the second year was easier. And
they were right. The third year is even easier. And by the fourth year this
will just be a faded Rothko painting in your memories. Except that you’ll be
stronger and better and deeper and softer where it matters.

You can do this. Courage.


If you want help moving through the process with your heart and mind and soul intact, sign up for my Flourish Through Divorce workshop. Registration is open now, and the workshop starts January 13, 2013.

18 thoughts on “Divorce, 2012 Holiday Edition”

  1. Thank you very much for finding time to write this despite everything that is going on this time of year.It really is horrible to be getting divorced at this time of year. I find myself working through the divorce papers and then having to go out and buy Christmas gifts. It just seems so wrong! And I do feel sad and angry and irritable.
    But when I think that “next year will be better”, I also feel relieved. Next year I will be in my own space and it will be a happy home. And it WILL BE BETTER!
    May you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

  2. I’m signing papers tomorrow afternoon. I’m really grateful you posted this today, because it covers pretty much the whole range of what I’m feeling right now. I know this is the right thing to do, I’m just sad about it sometimes, and this is one of those times. But, you’re so right: I DO have friends and people around me who love me. And it is better for me to not isolate myself, but rather to be around people, and feel my feelings.Thanks, Moxie, and Happy Holidays!

  3. This is a fabulous resource. I’ve passed to a couple of my clients who are in this situation.One thing I learned when I was there…buy yourself a lovely gift, wrap it up and put it under the tree. Unwrap with joy! You are learning to care for self and showing the children how to.
    I’ve done this every year I’ve been single, and I enjoy having the ‘perfect’ gift under the tree. xox

  4. @Jacqueline Fairbrass, I think the gift idea is great weather you’re single or with someone :).@Moxie, I love that you included a playlist.
    Much strength and love to those of you going through this right now.

  5. Thank you so much for posting this. I’m in the middle of a divorce and my three-year-old is having a very, very hard time with it all. She is breaking my heart every single day. It’s good to know that next year will be better. Thank you, again.

  6. I’m not going through a divorce, nor do I plan to, but I think this is such an awesome post. Thank you for addressing theses subjects in such an amazingly supportive and practical way. Every time I read your blog I feel more peaceful, even when the content doesn’t apply directly to me.For those of you who are going through this, much love and peace to you.

  7. Thank you for the post, and for a good friend who sent it to me. I am going through a divorce and this is the first Christmas. My four children just left to go be with their father through Christmas eve. I find the transition really difficult. When they are here, it is like a carnival, contant motion and activity. On the flip side, in the wake of their departure, the silence is deafening. Thanks for the post and all the others. It makes me feel not so alone, and that I am not the only one going through this right now.

  8. Thank you for posting this. My STBX and I don’t have any children, but knowing he’s spending the holiday with his family, who always make a big deal about Christmas and whom I miss terribly, is literally heart-breaking. I’m the only one of my friends who are divorced, so they don’t understand how sad this time of year can be for us freshly separated folk.

  9. Hi Moxie – I wish I’d found this blog several years ago (if it even existed yet!) when I was divorcing. I can honestly say (almost 4 years post) it DOES get easier, but it will always leave a little hole in you, no matter the circumstances. I suppose that’s my opinion, but my mother who’s been divorced over 30 years would agree. You never stacked up to that perfect nuclear family you’re supposed to be, and you have to mourn that, sometimes even when you think you’re past it, especially this time of year. I look forward to getting to “know” you better and following along in your journey 😉

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