You have been married for a few years. You never had any children. Today, you're divorced with no kids and recovering from a bad relationship. What are your top concerns? Money and relationship mistakes, according to experts around the country.
They say childless divorcees spend more time worrying about repeating relationship mistakes than a divorced person with children. Also, experts say, newly singles who have no kids are often more concerned about making enough money to maintain the lifestyle they had with their former spouse. “A common concern for couples without children who are divorcing is that they have adequate financial resources to live comfortably, and that there is fair distribution of assets,” said Dr. Brenda Shoshanna, founder of Everyone Wins Mediation
, in New York.
“Each spouse wants to make sure that they are able to maintain their lifestyle,” said Jason Price, a licensed marriage and family therapist at the Center for Divorce Recovery
in Northbrook, Ill. “This is often difficult for a spouse who has not worked outside the home for an extended period of time.”
There is anxiety about future relationships. “Childless couples contemplating divorce frequently center on self-examination and establishing healthy emotional boundaries for future relationships,” said Stephanie Burchell
, Ph.D. and a licensed marriage and family therapist, of Dallas.
“A primary concern is repeating the errors in the broken relationship in the next relationship,” said Carl Pickhardt
, Ph.D, author and psychologist in Austin, Texas. “This can be a well-founded concern if they did not make sufficient effort to fully assess and own their share of responsibility and blame it all on the other person instead.”
Additional areas of concerns included:
1. Loss of mutual family and friends
“Some couples who are divorcing feel concerned about losing mutual friends and family,” said Shoshanna. “We try to see if we can work out ways in which both partners can feel comfortable sharing mutual family members and friends. More often than not this can be arranged by creating schedules, not unlike the parenting visitation schedules described above.”
"If family were attached to the former spouse, they may sorrowfully ‘divorce’ that person from their lives out of loyalty to their own, but with misgivings as well," said Pickhardt. “Divorced people need to be aware that change begets more change as valued others are impacted, some even picking social sides with one ex-partner and forsaking a continuing relationship with the other.”2. Fear of recovering enough to have trust for future relationships.
“For many clients, they feel like they cannot engage in relationships again,” said Price. “The hurt and lack of trust they feel makes the idea of dating and getting involved with someone new very difficult.”3. Reestablishing their personal identity.
Burchell said many clients are challenged regarding the “reestablishment of their personal identity minus the inclusion of a former partner and becoming comfortable with the ‘self’ as an individual.”4. Overly reinventing themselves with excessive change.
“The best advice is to make no major personal changes for at least three/four months, devoting that time to self-examination and recovery,” recommended Pickhardt. “Then take new freedoms and make new changes with deliberation and moderation, not with impulse and excess.” Bruce McCracken is a seasoned journalist. McCracken has an MA in communications from the University of North Texas and resides in Irving, Texas.