Divorce has been part of life for about as long as marriage has. Despite popular conceptions of divorce as a modern affliction, the ancient Romans had a thriving divorce rate, with the more affluent and rich Romans (especially in the later imperial period) frequently divorcing their mates in order to improve their social standing or purely as a political move, so they could marry the daughters and sisters of their allies or adversaries.
That sort of rational approach to divorce may sound cold and perverse to us today, but the fact is, divorce is a rational and legal mechanism. It has a set structure of events and procedures, and is an attempt to impose a rational solution on what is essentially an emotional decision. The most important aspect of divorce is this distinction between the rational and the emotional.
Don’t Step Back
As a result of the powerful emotions that lead to and flare up during a divorce, many people view divorce as a button they can push to automatically take care of the problem. They come to the decision to end their marriage, hire a lawyer, and then try to step back from the process and let it happen without their direct involvement so they can be insulated from the gritty details. This is one of the most important aspects of divorce: The more you’re involved the better the end result will be. This is your life you’re making decisions about, after all. As painful as it can be, your direct involvement in the decisions is essential.
Regret Is an Emotion, Too
Letting your emotions get in the way can lead to concrete implications, as well. Divorce proceedings need to settle a vast array of details: Property, support, custody, visitation – just to name a few. The more you’re actually involved in the process, the better the final terms will be for you. If you let your emotions rule the day and pull back from the process in order to numb yourself, you’ll almost certainly look back months or years later and wish you’d been more involved, because the details of the final settlement are simply not as you would have preferred them to be.
Divorce is a tool, but it can be a blunt one if you allow emotional distress to remove you from overseeing the process. One of the most important aspects of divorce is recognizing this dichotomy between emotional problems and rational solutions.