November is here the leaves are falling, and the holidays are right around the corner. For most of us, this is a time of celebration and family. However, if you're recently divorced or you are co-parenting after a divorce, holidays can be filled with stress, worry, and grief. The tips provided below can help you navigate your first holiday season without your ex.
Be prepared for family and friends to ask well-intentioned but awkward questions. Some family members may not know about the divorce and will inquire about your ex. Many will ask “How are you holding up?” or “Where are the kids?” When this happens, take a moment to acknowledge all of the negative feelings these questions bring up, then try to answer as honestly but politely as you can. They mean well and may not understand how their questions may hurt you.
Even when your separation was amicable and you have no children, the first holiday without your ex can be difficult. You have holiday traditions that you built together, extended family members from both sides that you would normally spend time with, and gifts or decorations that remind you of the relationship. Try to build new traditions; take a trip, spend time with friends, do something just for you.
Recognize that your feelings are valid. Grief, anger, depression, even joy and thankfulness are all normal. It's okay to be emotional about the loss of a relationship. Allow yourself a little “me” time to heal between holiday obligations or visits with family and friends. When it becomes overwhelming, try to have a trusted friend whom you can talk, vent, or just spend some non-holiday time with.
Holidays are about family, especially for children. Remember that as tough as the season may be for you, they may be feeling just as upset, hurt, and confused as you. Let them know that it's okay to be happy when they spend time with their mom or dad. It's okay to tell them that you'll miss them, but don't make them feel bad for enjoying time with their other parent. If you won't be seeing them during the holiday, try to set aside a time for phone calls or, if you're able, video calls to touch base while the child is away.
The Morrissette Law Firm wishes you and yours the best this holiday season. We hope it will be a happy and safe time for everyone, but if you need us, we're available day and night! (405) 208-8835