These invaluable insights came from one of our members on the social network, and she agreed to let us share with the rest of First Wives World.
It's been a year and one month since my husband officially moved out of the house and nine months since our divorce became final. I see there are a lot of new people blogging on this site, which I think is great and so I thought I would add what I've learned on this journey - with the full realization that I have a great deal more to learn..also, with the full realization that none of these things are new or have been discovered by me alone - much of this advice came to me from the many wise woman on this site.
1) When you are getting divorced, you are preparing for a life without your partner. You must learn to separate what you need financially, materially to survive from what you're spouse says you need. Asking for what you need may make him uncomfortable and angry. Do it anyway. Your spouse will not be the arbitrator of what you will get. Think only of yourself and/or your children - and brace yourself against his opposition - hard, but absolutely necessary for your survival.
2) Tell everyone you like and trust about what has happened. You will need a lot of help and support to get through this and you cannot always predict where it will come from. Some help will come from familiar places but help will also come from some unexpected places - the neighbor you barely knew, your co-worker you just say "hello" to. And conversely, some people whom you were sure you could count on will inexplicably withdraw from you.
3) If you do not know your financial picture, get a binder together and start pulling together all the various accounts you have. You must know how much money you have and where it is asap. This will become the basis for your financial future.
4) Go to the mailbox and open everything - a lot of expensive and time consuming legal financial discovery can be avoided by simply opening all the mail.
5) Have a vision of where you want to be in five years - see it in your minds eye and hang onto it and do everything you can - a little each day to start swimming towards that place.
6) The man or woman who was your partner, your rock, your confidant is gone. Do not rely on your spouse for anything and do not expect them to help you. Expect them only to help themselves - which will often happen at your expense.
7) Divorce is sh-tty and it's okay to feel sh-tty about it. If you need to stay in bed all day - do so and don't worry about it. Ignore people who tell you "it's all part of God's plan." or "It's all for the best." and most annoyingly, "Smile!" But really, things will slowly and inevitably feel better.
8) At the same time, if you are feeling too crappy to function at work or take care of your children, do not be ashamed to get some medical help.
9) Don't' sweat the small stuff - there are a lot of coffee tables, couches and bedroom sets to be had for not much money. Craigslist is a beautiful thing. Conversely, fight tooth and nail for the 401k, equity in the house and any other savings accounts you have. These may have less emotional value but later, you will be much glad that you gave him the maple dining set but hung onto your retirement
10) Find someone else to help - physically or emotionally. It will provide a much needed respite from the burden of your own problems as well a change in perspective about how difficult your life is. The relief may be fleeting but it will eventually take hold.