Often the most moving and inspiring stories — and those that we learn the most from — are those told by the people living the experience. With this in mind, I set out to find a person of divorce willing to share details of the divorce experience. Janet (not her real name) is client of The Big Kaboom. Two years since her husband asked for the divorce, Janet is almost at the finish line. She was kind enough to share lessons learned along her divorce journey.
DM: When you were confronted divorce, what were the first thoughts that came to your mind?
JANET: Divorce is perhaps the scariest seven-letter word one can attempt to process. Life as I knew it was, in fact, over. In retrospect, I suppose the first thoughts were, “This is catastrophic. How am I going to get out of this intact financially and emotionally?” I was scared of the unknown because divorce is something that I never even imagined happening to me. I quickly realized that I knew what I didn’t know. So I needed a support system if I had any chance to deal with this rationally and keep from coming undone.
DM: As with everything in life, we learn from experiences. What’s been the biggest learning experience from your divorce?
JANET: Be proactive, not reactive. You have to take control of your divorce process and make informed and rational decisions. It’s up to you to direct the team of professionals you put in place to look after your divorce. Ask questions. Challenge what you are told. Understand that only you have your best interests in mind. As much as possible, you need to remove the emotion from the process because being out of control hinders your decision-making ability. As I’ve come to understand, this is the biggest business negotiation of my life and I must treat it accordingly. You can’t sit back and wait for things to happen to you. You have control and power of choice.
DM: If you had a divorce “do over”, what would you do differently?
JANET: I would take less advice from friends and family, and more from people who have actually been through the process. Unless you’ve been through divorce, you have no idea how long, complicated, expensive and convoluted the process can be. Whatever I envisioned at the start does not even come close to reality.
DM: Now that you are almost done with your divorce, what advice can you share with those thinking of divorce, or those moving forward with the process?
JANET:: First, while divorce is perhaps one of the toughest experiences one can go through, you can do it, and you will be okay. For all its pain, the growth and sense of freedom to be gained from standing on your own, financially and emotionally, is truly a gift. Second, there are great people out there to help you swim to the other side. You don’t have to go it alone and it’s a little crazy to try. Especially when so many people have successfully made it through divorce and are standing strong with relevant experience to be shared and learned from.
Carlos Blanco founded The Big Kaboom www.thebigkaboom.com, which combines people, technology and social elements to support clients through the divorce process. He may be contacted by calling 305-908-1171 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.