Going through a divorce can be a very visceral experience. Some methods used to cope with the stresses of the divorce process can lead to developing potentially destructive habits. Because it may take a long time to come to the acceptance stage of grief in your divorce, it’s important to cope with your emotions in a healthy way.
If you’re struggling with the emotional turmoil of a failed marriage, try to avoid engaging in these four dangerous coping behaviors:
1. Drug or alcohol use or gambling
These substances and activities are often used as way to cope with pain or loneliness. Engaging in these behaviors during a divorce puts the user at risk of forming a self-destructive habit. If you are facing mental and/or substance abuse tendencies, there are resources that can help.
2. Stalking your ex-spouse — that includes social media
As tempting as it may be to check up on your ex-spouse during the divorce, doing so allows you to keep your ex in your life — a reality that’s no longer authentic. Do yourself a favor and focus on living separate lives. Most social media sites include some type of “unfollow” option that affords you the ability to take a break from seeing someone’s posts. This might be a good option if you will still need to contact your ex in the future to discuss divorce or custody arrangements. It’s also best to avoid posting about your divorce on social media. Consider deleting your account or your smart phone application while you are moving on.
3. Making large decisions directly after divorce
Life will look different after divorce. To the best of your ability, try not to deviate from your routine too much as you learn to accept your ex’s absence.
4. Acting on angry impulses
It’s easy to overreact to stressful events during the divorce process. While it’s normal to feel angry, it’s not okay to take that anger out on your ex-spouse, children, boss, co-workers, family, friends or pets. Becoming a hostile aggressive parent can lead to custody issues during divorce. Engage in healthy coping mechanisms to avoid creating larger problems for yourself and others in the future.
Going through a divorce is challenging. If you are just filing for divorce, there are proactive steps you can take to make it less painful. Otherwise, self-help strategies may help you assess your emotions from a rational point of view, rather than allowing them to develop into dangerous coping methods.