Is it really possible to have a “good divorce”? Can you maintain a strong friendship with your ex? Can you do better than all the people you know, or know of, whose relationships deteriorated into petty arguing and heated confrontations? No, according to Phillip Hodson from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. You may be able to avoid the worst behavior, but it is not realistic to expect an entirely friendly divorce.
Hodson says we need to acknowledge “the primitive.” Another psychologist says that trying to have a “good divorce” can actually make things worse. It is better to prepare for the reality of feeling hurt and your spouse feeling hurt. That will better prepare spouses to deal with their actual emotions. Planning for an overly-sunny outcome can actually lead to conflicts becoming more heated.
People who are escaping a truly bad marriage expect to be happy, but they may underestimate the sense of loss that their divorce will bring. Psychology professor Jane Reibstein says, “Divorce is not just a legal event, but a psychological and social process. It’s about two people who were in love and the trust and expectations they had. You were waking up with that person. Now you have to change the whole way you live. It requires an enormous adjustment.”
Professor Reibstein’s advice is to create some distance with the ex-spouse. It will not help to stay in touch with them. If you have children or a business together, communication will be necessary, but the contact should be limited to practical matters.
Florida divorce attorneys know that some counsellors and psychologists suggest having a talk at some point with your ex about what went wrong. (Presumably this would be before you try to create some distance.) Understanding the reasons for the divorce will make it easier to form a new life.