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Divorce is A Shit Sandwich

(Because it is, right?!)

Divorce Armor: A Free, Powerful Tool You Don’t Want to Overlook

Have you ever wished you could walk through the world like a 12th century knight – protected from hearing and seeing the things you don’t feel ready to handle? Armor on and shield out so everything unpleasant and unwanted stays far away? Now that would be amazing.

Unfortunately, walking through the streets in 2024 dressed as a knight might backfire, and would certainly embarrass your kids… but there is another effective way to empower yourself, and I call it your Divorce Armor.

What is it?

It’s the protective bubble you create for yourself with words: intentional messaging to help restore your confidence and sense of control. After spending more than 25 years in marketing and branding, I have come to appreciate thoughtful communication as one of the best tools available to us – it’s free, and totally in our control! As the saying goes, “You can control your message, or someone else will.”

There’s a reason I include the word “thoughtful” above. Finding the right messages for the situations and people in your life can be challenging, especially during a crisis when we’re stressed and emotionally drained. Here’s how I recommend creating messages that will give you confidence.

Recognize that you probably want different messages for the different people in your life. These are the three easiest groups I like to start with when it comes to divorce:

  • Closest friends & family
  • People you want to inform, perhaps not individually
  • Connections & acquaintances (i.e. people you run into at an event or the grocery store)

Start by creating a sentence or two for each group that answers two questions:

What do you want them to know, and what are you asking for?

For example, you want them to know the following:

My spouse and I are separating, but we will always be connected by our children. We are committed to helping them through this with love and consistency. We won’t badmouth the other parent.

What are you asking for?

We are both sad and overwhelmed. Please support us by treating (name of ex) with compassion, too.

You may want to add information about kids as well, such as:

Please interact with the kids in a “business as usual” approach – talk to them about sports, friends, etc., and feel free to give a hug when you see them.

Add or take out anything that feels right for the different groups and remember that you can ask a close friend or family member to share information for you. This is a great way to give yourself some space and to allow someone who wants to help the chance to do it.

When you create messages, start by anticipating some predictable questions:

  • What happened?
  • Are you ok?
  • Is there anything I can do for you?
  • You always seemed so happy?

You might also consider how you want your ex to talk about you when asked. Hopefully this will help both of you to take the high road. If possible, create some messages together so you’re on the same page.

Finally, I’m often asked how much information is appropriate to share. This is an important question that I wish more people would consider. It might feel good to vent but I’ve seen more situations than I can count where that feeling of release is quickly replaced with regret when cooler heads prevail, and you wish your details could remain private.

To make sure Divorce Armor serves as one of your best tools throughout divorce, take time to prepare and write down your messages so you have them ready and you reduce the chances of being caught unprepared. Then, refer to them often, and keep them with you and revise as needed.

Remember, you are writing a new story for yourself. Your messages are a great way to help you create the ending you want.  

Do you have a tough question? Ask away. I’ll find the right experts to weigh in and make sure you’re getting the input you need.

Q: My ex’s family treats me horribly, even at events like our son’s graduation party. They act as if I shouldn’t be there, making a point not to speak to me. It’s hurtful and embarrassing but what recourse do I have? A: This is such a common and upsetting situation. While the response can vary greatly depending on the personalities involved, let’s start with the basics: you have every right to feel comfortable and to enjoy special events you attend, especially for your own children. Unfortunately, some people need to show the world how they feel, regardless of the example it sets or how much unnecessary drama and sadness it creates. In this situation I see two options:
  1. Model the behavior you’d like to see by sharing a message (in person, via email or text) along these lines: While this divorce has created a great deal of stress and sadness for all of us, I am upset that we can’t interact with basic politeness, especially in front of the kids. This isn’t behavior I want to model for them, and I wonder if we can agree to be civil during the few times when we have to be together? Ask your ex to support you in this request.
  2. If interaction is impossible or doesn’t get the response you want, you may need to tell your ex that his/her family is not welcome (especially if events are at your house) unless they are willing to treat you respectfully. These are boundaries that may ruffle feathers, especially if they challenge old patterns and expectations, but are also important to your health and well-being.
Divorce changes how a family interacts but there is always a choice to take the high road, especially when the kids are involved. Standing up for yourself may be frightening and new but imagine how good you’ll feel when you do it. Picture yourself in full armor, protected by your new strength and envision the outcome you want. You deserve to enjoy your family’s special events and accomplishments and advocating for yourself is a gift you give yourself as you embark on this new stage. 💪🏼 💝

Here I’ll share some of the books, websites, podcasts and experts to help make your journey a little less shitty!

If you’re looking for a great way to gain perspective or stay calm during an argument, try the 10-10-10 method.

Ask yourself: How will I feel about this situation or decision in

✅ 10 minutes

✅ 10 days

✅ 10 months

Sometimes just the act of pausing to reflect on something will give you the breathing room you need to evaluate your choice. One of the things I love about this is how well it works with kids as well. Try it together sometime!

I am a corporate communications VP turned Certified Divorce Coach, and I created the Better Than Before Divorce™️  program for those early in the divorce process who want to reduce the impact of divorce on themselves and their children, minimize conflict and come out BETTER on the other side. Throughout my career I have worked to help executives, teams and individuals communicate succinctly, with clarity, intention, and impact, and I love using these skills to provide support and confidence to women and men tangled in the web of divorce.

My Better Than Before Divorce™️ clients benefit from my 25+ years of experience in crisis communications, branding and marketing, as well as my calm strength and commitment to tangible results. I am also a trained mediator, I’ve completed Colorado’s Collaborative Divorce Level I and II trainings, and I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an M.S. in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania.

I hope you found this information useful. Please share your feedback HERE anytime, and visit the rest my website, betterthanbeforedivorce.com, for more information on private coaching, or the Better Than Before Divorceonline course.