Coronavirus – a spanner in the works of my divorce

Author: Caroline Day

Getting divorced is one of the most traumatic events that most of us will ever have to go through, and the present situation is making it even harder.  One of the unintended consequences of the current Lockdown is the disruption to divorce proceedings and you may suddenly find yourself in limbo, with any settlements or house sales thrown in to doubt.  For many, this is causing even greater distress than the divorce did in the first place.  So, let’s look at what actually happening out there.  Reasons to be anxious include:

  • not being able to communicate with legal professionals: legal distancing!?
  • housing market on hold: so can’t do the property split!
  • likely reduction in property value: well, who knows?
  • financial arrangements being put on-hold: will we have to start again?
  • childcare arrangements: thought this was all settled, but now…
  • partners being required to live together in the family home for much longer: so awkward
  • anxious about losing your job: how will I manage?
  • the viability and fairness of the settlement under negotiation: I only agreed because I had a good job with an income – but now?
  • Loss of family role: I don’t know who I am anymore?
  • Lockdown: means I can’t meet my friends at the very time I need them most.
  • Creates dreadful feelings in me: abandonment, loneliness, anxiety and fear for the future.

This is enough to put anyone in overwhelm, let alone someone who’s already at full stretch going through a divorce!  And it’s natural to be worried about it because this is such an awkward, unprecedented, difficult situation that is completely out of your control.


DIRECTION OF GAZE:  The first thing is to notice what direction you’re ‘looking’ in, at what you’re focusing on.  Because if you’re looking at the future and imagining what might go wrong, your adrenaline will be running high and you’ll feel anxious.  Anxiety exists to cajole us into taking action to solve the problem.  So, you have to imagine a problem in order to feel anxious.  And if you can’t take any action on the problem itself (which you can’t, it’s a Virus) where does that leave you?

Start looking the other way.  Effectively change your specs.  How about beginning to imagine it working out well.  Even if you don’t yet believe it will, just thinking it will begin to change your perspective.  You could start by getting clarity on how would you like it to go?

Even the Virus itself will pass.  We don’t know when, but it will.

CHECK YOUR PHYSIOLOGY:  Physiology makes such a difference to how we feel.  I remember working with some Carers in London – amazing people who did overnight respite care for families who had a relative with Alzheimers – and one of them told me a story.  She told me about a lady she cared for who was very depressed and wouldn’t even look at her when she came in. She just spent all day slumped in a chair.  The Carer thought ‘I’m not having that’ and the next time she was on duty at the lady’s house she took her music machine, got the lady out of her chair, and they had a good old dance.

The lady was transformed.  By the time the Carer left for the day, she was smiling.  Just changing her Physiology made such a difference.  So how about you?

What’s your physiology like at the moment?  That refers to things like your posture, angle of your head, tight shoulders, facial expression etc.  Is it, in fact, the perfect physiology for being anxious?

Instead, can you do a silly dance in the kitchen, or have a good Wellie Stomp in the garden, or join one of the keep-fit classes on the web?  Why not dress in your smartest outfit and put on your best make-up even if it’s only going to be you looking at you; because you know you’re worth it!  And practice your best smile whenever possible – especially when you don’t feel like it.

BE EXTRA KIND TO YOURSELF:  Find a special place and load it up with things you really like to do.  It could be a chair in the shed with your favourite books all laid out ready to read.  Or it could be finding a place to do your favourite Jigsaw.  It could be a hobby you like to do.  But the key thing is to make it something absorbing.  And then just enjoy the moment.

Go there every day.  Even several times a day.  And just wait for the Virus and the Lockdown and everything else to pass. Because it will pass and things will start coming together again.

You can’t change what’s happening now and everyone’s affected in the same way.  You’ve got your divorce to deal with, but that needs to wait for now. And that means you’ve got lots of spare time to work out what you really want.  Just make sure you enjoy it.

Good Luck

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