Print Posted By on 07/18/2017

Advice to my younger divorced self.

Advice to my younger divorced self.

A popular acerbic adage goes like this, “Youth is wasted on the young.” Keeping that in mind, I interviewed several hundred people asking them this question, “What would you tell your younger self going through your past divorce?”

My social media blew up with private messages, so it definitely touched a raw nerve. Personally I've been there, too. So if you're just beginning to think about a separation or if you are going through the divorce process, you may want to consider the advice of those who have been in your shoes, keeping in mind everyone has a particularly unique situation.

Andy was married for 18 years to his ex. They had two beautiful children, but when the kids enrolled in college, they found they had nothing much to talk about. He had taken his provider responsibilities seriously and was an admitted workaholic. He says, “When you're young, you don't think of the future, you only consider the present. You’re not mature enough to grasp what marriage really entails. That's why as time goes on, and as you set more goals for yourself, they can stagnate because of your family responsibilities. You may be angry because now you are older with goal expectations, but you can't achieve them, without sacrificing time with the family. I kept thinking, ‘If only…’ Looking back I would tell myself and anyone with children, to remain as amicable with your ex as you can because there will be graduations, weddings, etc. I didn't want to have my kids wonder, “What happens if I invite Dad and Mom, too?”

Others, like Crystal, had a different outlook because she regretted allowing shared custody with her ex. She felt that she would have been better off “walking away, shutting the door, and throwing the key away” rather to see her children hurt by a father who never responded with love, attention or child support.

Heather said, “I have a saying that I tell myself and it is very fitting for people going through divorces and many other interpersonal challenges. Emotions are temporary, but actions have permanent consequences; never let your emotions control your actions.”

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