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Facing Your Midlife Divorce Fears

Facing Fears When Divorcing At MidlifeMartha Bodyfelt is the founder of Surviving Your Split. She is a divorce coach who offers words of wisdom to get you through this trying time with less stress, struggle and frustration.

It was hard to concentrate, or even function. Hard to fall asleep at night, hard to pay attention as the divorce fears took ahold of me.

Omigod. I have no idea what do to. Will I ever get through this?

I thought my life was planned out and I was secure in my future. Now what?!?!

You may feel petrified during your divorce. That overarching fear of the unknown causes you to lose sleep at night, desperately thinking we’ll never make it through or be happy again.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. I remember waking up one day after another restless night, and something just clicked. A frustrated voice inside me said,

“What are you so afraid of, and why have you not taken steps to counter it?”

Take These Fear-Blasting Steps

And that is where this fear-blasting exercise was born.  When you feel like you’re going off the deep-end with fear of not knowing, do the following:

  1. Write down your divorce fears.
  2. Be completely honest with yourself! No fear or concern is ever irrational, stupid, or unreasonable. Some of my own fears included…

I will have to move out of the marital home—the only one I’ve known for years.

I won’t be able to afford a long and drawn out divorce.

My retirement will be wiped out

I will be alone and don’t know what to do

I am afraid to start over.

  1. Under each fear, write down a solution. This step shows you the truth—that you have the power to beat those fears and calm down that stress you feel. I’ve provided a few examples so you get the gist of it before you write your own solutions.

I will have to move out of the marital home—the only one I’ve known for years.

If I want to stay here, I am going to speak with my attorney to see what my options are to remain. I will look at the budget to see if this is possible, but if it is not, I know I have plenty of options for other housing. I also know that I am the one who has the memories in my heart, and that I, along with my children, are still a home and can create our own memories, wherever we are.

I won’t be able to afford a long and drawn out divorce.

I do not want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a divorce. If my spouse and I are on speaking terms, I will examine options for using divorce mediation, which could help prevent long expensive court battles. I will also research my options and ask around to find a good divorce attorney that uses a conciliatory problem-solving approach, instead of a belligerent gladiator one. I may also speak with a financial advisor to help with the financial side, and I could talk to a divorce coach, who could possibly help with money-saving ideas.

My savings will be wiped out and that I’ll have to cash out my 401k to pay for all of this.

If I am working with an attorney, I will possible payment plans. I may also seek pro-bono help or find divorce legal clinics that can help minimize costs. I will focus on the big picture. If I don’t want to wipe out my savings fighting in court, I will learn how to choose my battles so I can move on with my life.

I will be alone and don’t know what to do.

I may feel alone because I’m no longer with my spouse, but I will find a great support system—there are support groups, online groups, friends who care about me. I will not be afraid to ask for help. I will be kind to myself, patient with myself, and realize I don’t have to do everything at once.

As you can see, once you start doing this exercise for yourself, you will notice that neutralizing your fears goes beyond just giving yourself a pep-talk. This exercise can help you start taking action.  And when you take action against those fears, they no longer become the things that will keep you up at night—instead, they become the logical courses of action—merely things on a to-do list—that you will accomplish because despite your panic and fear right now, you are a hell of a lot stronger than you realize.

Martha Bodyfelt

Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce coach whose whose website "Surviving Your Split," helps readers navigate their divorce with less stress and drama so they can move on with their lives. For your free gift, stop by http://survivingyoursplit.com or say hello at [email protected]

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