If the drug or alcohol use continues to become more severe and turn into an addiction, that addiction can become destructive – on family life, on the relationship, on finances, and more.
It might even get to a point where the person without the addiction feels as though it’s time to leave the relationship. Certainly, if one person is drinking or using and drugs and refuses to stop, then there might not be a way to find common ground, to heal the relationship, or to restore the love that once existed.
The following are some suggestions for those couples who are going through a divorce. Whether or not you are the one struggling with addiction, the following tips might be useful:
Take good care of yourself
- When you are tending to your own needs and finding ways to get them met, you’ll be less likely to turn to your partner and give him or her the wrong message. You’ll also be less likely to rely on your children, if you have any, for comfort.
- It’s common to put children in the middle of a divorce by telling them the details or by confiding in them. This creates can be emotionally harmful to your children. Instead, make sure you’re spending time taking long hot baths or spending time with friends or seeing a therapist to process the emotional weight.
- One way to do this is to let your children be children. While they’re at the park, find time to relax. While they’re with their friends, go to your therapy session. They shouldn’t have to bear the burden of your emotional needs; it’s important that you make sure your own needs are being met.
- Another way to support yourself is to stay consistent with your daily routine. And this is especially important if you have children. Children need stability to anchor them during times of stress and challenge.
- When parents are consistent in the way they relate to their children, including in the way they discipline and reward their children, it can keep life feeling familiar. Another way to stay consistent is to continue with the same schedules for bedtime, meals, and school – for your children, and work – for yourself. When life feels consistent, everyone feels safe.
Stay connected to friends and family
- It’s important that you continue to have their social networks and support systems. A divorce might cause you to feel the need to move away or to isolate yourself. You might feel the need to pull away from friends. However, their presence in your life might be supportive.
- This is also true for your children, if you and your spouse have them. Children have already formed relationships with peers, teachers, and administration, and they may need to rely on these relationships for support during a divorce.
- Even if the divorce does require a move, try to help your children stay connected to old friends as well form new peer relationships. And try to stay connected to friends and family yourself.
Keep your children away from the fighting
- If you and your spouse are fighting, try not to do it at home while the children are there. Stop the argument and agree to talk about it later when you’re alone. Children are experts at listening to far away conversations and eavesdropping.
- They may take sides, act as a peacemaker, or later be a messenger between parents. Children don’t need to be placed in this uncomfortable situation. Considering the amount of emotional stress they may already be feeling, it can be emotionally unfair for them to continue to hear you fight.
These are some ideas for making a divorce as gentle as possible. Certainly, there are many divorces that are rough on everyone involved, including the children. But perhaps with the above suggestions, divorce doesn’t have to be difficult.
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