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Throughout the divorce process, there are bound to be doubts and stumbling blocks to deal with along the way. From emotions to attraction, the women who post on the Surviving Divorce message board have been there (and done that). Read on to find out their 12 most helpful rules for dealing with your divorce.
1. Expect the rush of emotions: "The first time I saw my ex after he walked out was a learning experience. I listened to what he had to say, but felt as though it wasn't me sitting there. Then I went home, cried my eyes out, and thought of everything I should have said. My advice when you see your ex is to stay as calm as you can until you get the "business parts" taken care of. If you want to ask him whatever comes to your mind, do it, but don't expect certain answers. Above all, take care of yourself afterwards -- go buy something nice or treat yourself to a good dinner, maybe use that spa certificate. No matter what you think you're going to say, it hardly comes out. You will have so many emotions going through you that it will probably be a blur, but knowing they will be there is half the battle."
2. Judge with your mind, not your heart: "I am trying to complete my divorce, and I know that my STBX [soon to be ex] is a controlling alcoholic. So why, after a few hours of civilized conversation and a one genuine laugh, do I wonder if we're doing the right thing? My boys are almost three and six, and need a Dad. My finances are scary. In truth, I've not been alone for 17 years. So it comes down to two questions. What could have changed so dramatically in this man to make time spent with him enjoyable? And, are those changes sustainable? Any time you feel as though you've made a mistake, ask yourself these questions. Logic will help."
3. Be grateful for your good relationship: "My experience so far has been that I am mourning the loss of what was once a good marriage. No matter what, those times won't come back, but when I see little glimpses of what my ex used to be like, I have to be grateful for them. Not everyone converses civilly with their ex, much less shares a laugh."
4. Remember the bad times (but don't forget the good): "If there are moments when you want to run back to him because you feel as though you can't survive on your own financially (or emotionally), you have to stay strong. How? It sounds negative, but what I always did when those moments crept up -- and believe me, they don't anymore -- was think of the worst things he did or said to me. Sure, this got me angry, but I was able to wipe those other doubtful feelings away!"
5. Look at your bright future: "I was hoping that my STBX and I could work things out. I thought our daughters needed him. I wanted him to be my buffer from the outside world. But as I went through the divorce process I started to understand my feelings better, and I accepted what was happening so much more. It was no longer scary to see our lives change, but exciting. My husband and I had children and dreams together, but now it's time to let go of that love, and know that we will find future loves, have future pains and dream wonderful future dreams."