Wondering how to cope with divorce as a woman? I can tell you firsthand, it’s really hard at times, but one thing is for sure: you will find a way and you will get through it.
It’s been 14 years and I can still vividly remember times in the first year or two of my divorce when I felt like I just couldn’t cope. Something would happen—like someone would tell me they ran into my ex on a date, or I’d pick up my kids from school and see someone whispering about me, or I would get bills in the mail and feel really financially stressed.
Things like that would cause me to just start hysterically crying or shaking. I would have days I felt sad and depressed and like things were hopeless. I didn’t even want to get out of bed. Perhaps one of the worst feelings was that I had no control over so much that was going on. Sound familiar?
How to cope with divorce as a woman:
I could give you advice that during those times when you feel like you can’t cope with your divorce, that you should workout, or go for a walk, or call a friend, or watch a funny movie, or read an inspiring book or cook a really healthy, delicious meal for yourself or start meditating. And actually, all these things are great ways to cope with divorce as a woman. But I have a big tip for coping with divorce as a woman:
Whether its volunteering, doing a good deed, or giving financially, giving is extremely therapeutic in coping with divorce as a woman or just coping with life’s stresses and heartbreaks, in general.
At this point, I urge you to keep reading. You might want to stop because you are thinking, ‘I don’t have time to do good deeds or to volunteer. First of all, COVID is preventing volunteer opportunities, plus my divorce is so time consuming with all the documents I have to fill out and read, plus, my kids need all of my spare time.’
As far as giving financially, you might be thinking, ‘I can’t afford to give right now. I’m getting legal bills and my ex is not paying me enough and I am so financially stressed right now, the last thing that will make me feel better is donating and feeling more stressed.’
Trust me. I completely understand how you feel. But let me explain something.
When you give—whether it’s your time, doing a good deed, or giving financially, I think we can all agree that you are helping the recipient—the elderly woman you took to her doctor’s appointment, a mom from your kids’ school who is sick, to whom you brought dinner, or the family you fed when you donated to a food bank. Yes, they all benefited from your giving.
But, what people don’t realize enough is how much of a benefit the giver gets when giving, and that includes people who are going through a divorce and in a lot of pain.
Here are some benefits a giver gets from giving:
1. Giving can make someone feel like he/she just made someone’s life better. That’s pretty powerful. Regardless of what kind of day you are having, even if it’s one of the lowest you’ve had in awhile, your act of giving made the day a good day.
2. Giving gives people self-worth and self-love. When you give, you respect yourself more and you should.
3. Giving can make your problems seem manageable, because you realize that you are capable of putting out goodness and kindness into the universe, and so you are capable of handling whatever comes your way. It gives people confidence in their abilities.
4. Giving makes people feel like they matter, like they have a purpose.
5. What you give ALWAYS comes back to you. Trust me on this one. Don’t expect anything. In other words, don’t give for this reason. Just give, put goodness into the world and watch good things come back to you.
Over the past couple of years, I choose to make financial donations to: the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Northfield Food Pantry and here’s why.
I am the kind of person who enjoys food and appreciates it. I have a big appetite, I love to cook, and I love to have meals with people and laugh and talk. I often say to myself, ‘Can you imagine being hungry and not being able to buy food for yourself and even worse, your children?’ To me, that is one of the most upsetting and heartbreaking things in life.
I donate on occasions that include: when I get a good test results back from a doctor, on my birthday, on Thanksgiving, on Christmas, when I get a bonus at work, when someone I know is sick, after I finished treatment for cancer, a lot during COVID when people were losing jobs, and anytime I feel like I’m having a really shitty day. It makes all of those days better, no matter how good or bad they feel.
All that said, I want to make something very clear: the amount of the donation does not matter at all.
I know money is a huge source of stress for anyone going through a divorce. I have been there. That said, think about this. What’s another $5, $10 or $20, if you’re paying your attorney $5000? The $5, $10 or $20 will buy someone who is hungry a meal. What a wonderful feeling to know you are contributing to something like that.
Don’t ever be too embarrassed to donate because the amount isn’t a lot. Whatever you give is appreciated so much more than you can imagine. It makes a difference.
I promise you this. When you hit the “pay” button to donate, you will instantly feel better. Whatever it is that is bothering you will seem to fade away for now. Because inside, you will feel like what you just did is something you can control.
You can’t control your ex, you can’t control what happens when your kids go there, you can’t control that he has a girlfriend, you can’t control that he won’t settle on certain aspects of the divorce, and you can’t control how he treats you. That’s all really really hard stuff to handle.
What you CAN control is how you choose to live your life, how you parent, who you choose to date, and how you choose to give to others—to your kids, your neighbors, your family, friends, coworkers, and strangers.
So, next time you are wondering how to cope with divorce as a woman, just say the word ‘give’ in your head. It will take some of your pain away and replace it with feelings of self-respect and even a certain grace.
I’ll leave you with this. Getting divorced is a tough deal. It’s incredibly painful. It’s a rollercoaster ride. It can feel lonely, isolating, and hopeless, like things are never going to get better. It can feel frustrating and unfair.
It is during these low times that I truly believe giving will lift you out of all the negative emotions into a joyous and hopeful place, a place where you are stronger than you ever thought you could be. In other words, giving truly equals happiness.