The holidays can be a difficult time after a divorce, especially if you have kids. The normal ritual of a family gathering will be disrupted, you might have to split time with children and things will likely feel odd. While this is going to be tough, there are things you can do to make the experience a little easier.
Surviving the Holidays after a Divorce
- Manage expectations: The holidays can be a wonderful time. They can also be emotionally difficult. If you spend a lot of time thinking about how things were it’s not going to be pleasant. Allow things to be different. Change can be good, but that doesn’t mean it will always be comfortable. Expecting discomfort and accepting it will make things easier to handle.
- Coordinate plans for the kids in advance: Deciding who will have the kids at what times can be a huge source of anxiety and conflict. Have the discussion as early as you can, and lay things down clearly. This will save you a headache later. The last thing you want is a fight about who gets the kids a few days before an important gathering.
- Don’t be petty: If you and your former spouse or are on rough terms, it will be easier if you pick your battles. Make an honest assessment of what is really important to your plans, and avoid picking a fight unless it really matters. If you have kids or other shared responsibilities, a conflict with your ex will make the season less enjoyable.
- Avoid emotional escalation: It’s best to keep things simple and civil. Going down any emotional rabbit hole can make things harder. That goes for continually expressing hard feelings about the separation, but it could also include getting too nostalgic about old times. It’s best to focus on what’s happening today. Things might be different, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be good in their own way.
Divorce can be one of the hardest things a person goes through in their life. The holidays can be a particularly tough time for many. It might not be easy, but hopefully these ideas spark some thoughts on how you will build a plan for the season.