When you and your spouse decided to finish the year together and divorce after the holidays, you may not have realized how challenging it would be to face those festive weeks together. As amicable and peaceful as you hope your divorce will be, you cannot deny the emotions and frustrations you have ahead of you as you participate in celebrations with family and friends.
Since you have the goal of negotiating your divorce through alternative dispute resolution, now may be a time to practice your negotiation skills by coming to some agreements about how you will handle the holiday season as a couple. After all, you will not want to look back on these last months as a couple and remember them as a painful time that damaged your chances of an amicable divorce.
A team effort
Are you worried that your family members will see in your faces that you are unhappy? Perhaps, you have already confided in a sibling, cousin or parent that things are not going well in your marriage. Whatever the level of confidence among those with whom you will gather this season, you may find it helpful to have a frank discussion with your spouse about how you want to deal with any situations that may arise at gatherings with family, co-workers or friends, for example:
- Acknowledge to each other the specific situations that may be most concerning for you.
- Decide which family members and friends you want to bring into your confidence and those whom you prefer to remain out of the loop.
- Agree about what you will say if someone should ask about your situation and how much you will share.
- Promise not to use holiday gatherings as a time to rant to others about your spouse.
- Make sure to inform your spouse which of your friends or relatives already know what is going on between you.
- Have a plan for escaping situations that become too uncomfortable or people who become too nosy about your personal life.
- Agree that there may be some holiday events you should simply skip this year.
- Don’t forget the importance of self-care during the holidays.
It’s easy to eat too much, drink too much and become isolated and sad when an impending divorce clouds the holidays. In the long run, this will not benefit you or help you make prudent decisions in the time leading up to your divorce. Instead, you would be wise to reach out to every available resource for emotional and legal support.