‘Divorce – Surviving when you did not see it coming.’
Welcome to Episode #004. I’m your host Tanya Somerton. I’m obsessed with helping clients chart a course through the complex process of divorce and starting a new life.
In this week’s podcast I discuss the absolute shock and heartache felt when your partner came home and said those four words…. ‘I want a divorce!’
It seems like you are having an out-of-body experience your heart starts racing your body temperature rises and the emotions you feel in one word is probably best described as FEAR.
So let’s investigate this a little further…..
This must be a nightmare and it can’t be true the fear of how will I cope and you think this was forever ‘till death us do’. [00:03:00]
Difference sorts of Divorce Categories. [00:04:00]
So for you and your life you want to understand what went wrong?[00:09:00]
Just deciding you wanted more out of life.[00:11:00]
Compounding life issues. [00:14:00]
And sometimes we outgrow our partner [00:16:00]
Stats on failed Marriages.[00:17:00]
Communicating your needs to your partner. [00:20:00]
For more information grab a copy of my book ‘The Jelly Bean Jar’ [00:22:00]
5 Steps To A Seamless Divorce [00:25:00]
Join my Free Facebook Group here:
[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the divorce Angel podcast. I’m your host Tanya Somerton. And for those of you who don’t know me or haven’t listened before, I just like to explain a little bit about me. So I’m obsessed with helping clients chart a course through the complex process of divorce and starting a new life. You know, how stressful and confusing it can be when you’re extremely emotional and you need to make a life-changing decision. It’s hard, right? So every decision has a consequence.
Well, I ran this Boutique business both online and in-person where we help clients simplify the process with a step-by-step plan and I have an army of angels which is an amazing group of professionals. I’ve got everyone you would need. Lawyers, financial advisors, accountants, child psychologists, [00:01:00] counselors, real estate agents, buyers, advocates, we do see these for our clients. We help them invest their money. We can do anything. We even have stylists that can go around to our client’s house if that’s what they want and help them reinvent themselves for their new life. So we are what I like to call a One-Stop divorce shop. Navigating being divorced is really really hard. So that’s ultimately what my business is all about, trying to simplify that as much as possible with a team of people that you can trust.
So, that’s me. Now, let’s get into you and hopefully this podcast this week might be able to help those people who, unfortunately, had the painful situation and they didn’t see it coming. That’s when your spouse came home and said those terrible words, “We need to talk.” You didn’t even see it coming. What the hell? You [00:02:00] knew that there was issues, but you were both working through them. Or you thought everything was going to going well and to plan and had no idea whatsoever anything was wrong.
Now in one conversation, your whole life or your whole world just changed. You feel paralyzed. You can’t control your thoughts because they’re going through your head like every single minute. It seems like you were completely having an out-of-body experience. Your heart starts racing, your body temperature rises and the emotions you feel in one word is probably best described as fear. The fear of this being over and you’re thinking to yourself, “This must be a nightmare and it can’t be true.” The fear of, “How will I cope?” and you guys were a team and you rely on each other. The fear of being [00:03:00] alone and you think this was forever, till death us do part. The fear of being a failure. What will everyone think? And the list just goes on and on.
So once the room’s quieting down and the reality of the situation’s hit you, what now? What should I do? Who should I tell? How was it that my life has just changed in an instant? Today, I want to talk to you about the steps to help you get through this next few months even a year because it’s going to be difficult.
Now, last week, we discussed how I think that there is three, but I’m saying now four categories of divorce.So there’s the category of divorce where you were the person that decided to leave the marriage. That [00:04:00] person and research shows has been thinking about that for anywhere between for a few months up to quite a few years. A client I had yesterday and we do to divorce roadmap, she’s been thinking of leaving her marriage and has wanted to go for up to four years, but just has not had the courage and didn’t know what steps to take. So those people are already removed from the relationship. They really have no commitment. They’ve got no skin in the game. For them, it’s pretty much over and they’re just waiting to get the strength or they’re waiting for some sort of catalyst to go, “That’s it. I’m out of here.”
Then we’ve got Category 2 and Category 2 is the one that we’re talking about today. That’s the category where you didn’t even know that this was going to happen. It was not even anywhere in your mind or in your future. You thought everything was fine and you would [00:05:00] always work through whatever issues you had. This client is the one that needs the most care and attention because they just weren’t prepared. They didn’t know and their spouse, as I’ve said, is already probably two years down the track from where they are emotionally. They’re already removed. So for them, it’s just pretty much a matter of facts going through a checklist of, “Right, now, let’s do this. Let’s do that, but I’ve made the decision and I’m out of here.” And the person that hasn’t had that time to consider all of this just feels like their world isn’t complete and utter chaos.
Then we’ve got the third and that is where you’ve got neither party that are getting along well and it’s been a joint decision. I said this in last week’s podcast as well, those guys are normally really toxic because no one wants to take responsibility for the failure of the marriage.
Or you’ve got what I now consider a [00:06:00] fourth one is where- the same sort of thing, husband and wife have decided that they’re really not getting along and they’ve sat down and worked out a strategy on how to end their marriage. I’ve been working with a few of those in our couple separation simplified program and they’re really great to work with because they just sit there and they look at facts and figures and they can remove the emotion most of the time from what their future looks like and they’ve been exciting to work for, but there’s very very small group of the human race because let’s be honest, this is not what we expected from our marriage.
So we’ve got a few steps that we need to go through to be able to survive what has just happened. And the first one of those is we need to confirm why. Humans need to understand why something has been decided, so for you, to be able to [00:07:00] survive on a daily basis, you mentally need to come to terms with why your partner made the decision that they made. Why have things changed? Did I do something wrong? Am I not good enough? Is there someone else? What is he or she up to? Why me? There are so many questions and everyone’s will be different. But you may never get the answer you’re looking for and there’s two reasons for that. Firstly, you may be asking the wrong question such as, “Why me?” It just gets you nowhere. Or it could be that your spouse just doesn’t have the courage to actually tell you the truth.
Let me put it this way. There’s a fine line between love and affection. So we can love someone and look after them forever and think they’re going to be with us till death do us part. Or we can just have affection for someone and we really [00:08:00] don’t want to hurt them. So if you’ve been married for a long period of time, I would hope that your spouse really does not want to hurt you. So if there is something seriously wrong that they don’t feel that they can talk to you about, they probably will not give you the answer that you’re looking for. And playing the blame game just gets you nowhere. So I suppose there’s a few questions that have gone through your mind and your thinking, “Well, you’ve changed.” or “Have I changed or we’ve changed?”
What is it that’s caused the breakdown of your relationship? You need to have an answer to that because that’s what’s going to be able to help you to move forward. It’s all like when I was in my corporate job. It’s all like plain do and review. When you do it like that, you can go back and you can go over, “Right, what worked what didn’t work.” So for you and your life, you want to understand what went wrong. Was it me? Was it you? Was it us? What was it so that you can make sure that these issues [00:09:00] don’t happen again in the future.
At this stage, you’re trying to investigate what went wrong and try and come to terms with the circumstances. We need to fully understand why someone would make such a decision and have an impact on our life because trying to blame the person that has just said to you that this isn’t working makes us feel better. It’s a blame game, but unfortunately, that blame gets you nowhere. Having a real look at yourself and what went wrong and understanding that can help you live an improved life. I see this quite often but one that sort of comes to mind right now is a client who left her husband. They’ve been married for quite a long period of time.I’m talkin 30-odd years, have been together quite a long time. He had always been able to make things [00:10:00] happen. After working with the client for a period of time, I can tell you that the business, they had their own business, was run in a way which I really can’t even describe. It was just pretty chaotic, but due to luck, a lot of luck he was able to keep things going and he’d be borrowing from Peter to pay Paul and all the rest of it.
That’s not why they’re their relationship failed whatsoever. He was very controlling. He liked to have the Limelight a lot. He liked to be made to feel that he was really really important. She since found out that he had throughout the period of their relationship been having quite a few- had had quite a few affairs, so it really wasn’t a functional relationship. So he had done quite a lot wrong. He got them into some pretty serious debt and made some very bad decisions, but that wasn’t why she left him. She [00:11:00] just decided that she wanted more out of life. She wanted to feel happy and she knew that something wasn’t right, he’d been up to some things and now looking back she can see, “Well, that all makes sense. I can now pinpoint those areas that that things went wrong and why they went wrong.” He just cannot come to terms with the fact that she ended the relationship. It just has not set well with him at all. So he does not want to take any responsibility whatsoever for the demise of the relationship. He wants to blame her for everything to the extent that he’s gone around and had meals with her parents, aunties and uncles and people like that just so he can sit there and explain to them that this is all her fault. “She’s gone and done this. She’s done that she spent all this money. She’s done all these things.” But at no stage does he ever tell them the things that he’s done wrong and [00:12:00] she is adamant that she doesn’t want to go around and bad-mouthing. So she does not she hasn’t told any of her family a lot of the stuff that’s gone on and there’s been some pretty serious allegations and things that have happened, but he simply just cannot take responsibility or any fault for the demise of the marriage.
Now this client, especially the husband, he’s never ever gonna improve his is life because unless you sit there and you look in the mirror and you go, “Okay. I did a few things wrong. This is what I need to improve on. I have to address these issues or they’re going to be ongoing problems for the rest of our life.” He’s ego just simply cannot accept the fact that she no longer loves him. He thinks that he is perfect and he’s not. None of us are. We’re not perfect. We all got mistakes and it’s all of those [00:13:00] flaws that we have in our characters that make us all amazing humans and if we can work with those flaws and learn to love them, we can turn our lives around and it’s when we take responsibility and ownership of what we had to do with the demise of a relationship it’s certainly how our life can.
But you know what, sometimes it can be things that people can’t even pinpoint. It can sometimes be things like medical. So let’s say, for instance, in this day and age, we’re really able to talk about mental health, which is great and people can relive trauma or they can have traumas that they really didn’t even know had happened to them and in a lot of cases, can certainly be a lot of people that work on the front line. So firemen, police officers, Armed Forces, doctors and nurses also, so these folk, one day, just can’t take any more pressure and it compounds and they just [00:14:00] struggle with life and it’s really really important that we make sure as we’re traveling through life that if something happens that we can’t keep letting it compound. We’ve got to address it and go and find out what it is and try and relieve that pressure. Continue to build up and up and up and not release any of it. Because if you don’t, one day, you’ll explode and, in some cases, this is what happens in these sorts of marriages. So sometimes if your husband or wife has come home and said, “I don’t love you anymore.” It could also just be that they’re dealing with some mental health issues around what they do, the stresses of the day-to-day life and they just can’t bear it anymore. They feel like they’re on a mouse wheel just living the same life over and over again and go, “Enough, I can’t deal with this.” And sometimes they attack the person or not so much attack in those words, but they take it out on the person [00:15:00] that is closest to them and sometimes that might be you.
Something that often I contemplate and that is if you look back at history, the average marriage lasted twenty or thirty years and the reason being is we only live to 50 years old. But today, you know, we have people living to a hundred and in the future, I’m sure we’re going to see that number grow. So sometimes I wonder, “Were we actually meant to be with that one person for say 80 years or is that just something unreasonable? Is that not meant to happen? Is it that we’re supposed to have two or three long-term relationships throughout our life? Is that more along what reality looks like? Is it that we grow and evolve as humans and sometimes we outgrow our partner? Is that what’s happened to you? Has your partner who has come home and said they no longer love you, is it because you may not have [00:16:00] changed and you might be the same person that you are when you guys met 20 years ago? You haven’t changed but your partner has and never evolved and grown. They want more out of life. They’ve got greater needs.
Often, I hear this especially with wives and they’ll say, “Look, my husband just wants to come home from work and sit on the couch and I just think that there’s more to life. I want to go out. I want to have holidays. I want to start a business. I want our kids nearly off our hands. What is there now for me? Sometimes if you can’t have a conversation about this as a couple, these can be the Catalyst to pull it apart. So when I think about you going back in history, and if you look at, say, a 20 to 30-year relationship, there’s not too many relationships today that would go the length of time and I think I’ve quoted these stats before but certainly here, in Australia, 40% of first-time marriages fail. [00:17:00] 70% of second-time marriages and 90% of third-time marriages. That’s from census data, so the stats amazing.
What we need to do is understand the core of why that data is the way it is. Is it just that we outgrow and evolve? Or is it that things aren’t right and we need to go back and address our own fault? But sometimes it’s no one’s fault. Sometimes it’s just- it’s run its course and it’s time to move on but certainly, as humans, we need to understand why and that’s really what you want to do in this first stage. You want to understand why if- the best you can, why the decisions been made. You want to see if there’s anything you can possibly do to address the issues, but if it is done and there’s nothing more you can do, then you need to move on to the next stage.
So that [00:18:00] next stage is where you really need to get some good counseling. Now, you might say, “But why Tanya? There’s nothing wrong with me. I didn’t make this decision. It’s not my choice, so I don’t need to get counseling because for me, I’ve done nothing wrong.” But let me be clear, if you miss this step, you might always regret this choice. Let me put to you a scenario. Now, say, for instance, I am an intelligent person who runs a business and it’s quite profitable and that business means everything to me. You come home every night to your spouse and you think you were doing the right thing. You think you were working really really hard to build a future for the two of you, but over the course of your relationship, your spouse has told you that they have needs that you’re not meeting and let’s say that that spouse needs to go and get those needs met [00:19:00] somewhere else. So obviously I’m talking about an affair.
So let’s assume your spouse went and had an affair. And that’s what’s ended your relationship. Now you’re heartbroken because what you see is the fact that, “Hang on. I’m going to work every day. I’m working really hard. I’m trying to build a solid business and foundation for my family and here it is, my spouse is gone and done the worst thing possible and cheated on me.” I’ve had a client like this and the interesting thing is is when you sit down with the client and you say, “Well, why do you think that your partner had an affair? And in most cases, they’ll go I’ve got no idea. I don’t know,” but if you dive deep enough, you’ll find that the evidence was always there. So in other words, they had told their partner on a few occasions that they were lonely, that they needed some more from them, that they were sick of them traveling. Whatever the case may be, [00:20:00] ultimately, the person found that the business was far more important than them and that was maybe never ever the case, but that’s how they felt. So an affair is never the answer. My Catholic upbringing tells me that we need to always discuss things and communication is the key to a really, really healthy relationship. But sometimes if one partner just is not listening then, of course, the other partner will just do whatever they need to do to fill their needs.
Now, id this couple decide that this relationship is over, the person who’s been cheated on when they go into their next relationship can look at things differently and they can prioritize what is most important or they can make sure that they communicate with the new partner why they need to work such long hours and if things aren’t going well, I want you to communicate with them but there’s lessons there for that person as [00:21:00] well.
So it’s important for both sides to take a little bit of responsibility for the demise of the relationship and working through this with a counselor or a therapist is so key to being able to rebuild and to learn from whatever mistakes have been made so that you can make sure you don’t repeat them in your next relationship.
So, please don’t miss this step. Counseling is such an amazing tool to learn about yourself, to learn about what’s going on in the relationship and how you can prevent it from causing you any more damage, emotional damage in the future. So, please. Do me one favor and make sure you get some counseling or therapy. The next part in the same category as making sure though that we’re really loved and supported. You need to make sure that you’ve got a great team around you and that can be family, friends, colleagues. Just people you can trust. [00:22:00]
Now a word of warning. This is not for you to be discussing or relying on children. They will also be struggling and their life is also being turned upside down with major changes and they’ll be wondering how this is going to affect them. So putting their mind at ease with a regular routine and not talking in any way shape or form negatively about the other parent is paramount.
And understanding this is really important and if you like to know more about that, grab a copy of my book The Jellybean Jar where I talk more about that issue but in regards to support and love, this doesn’t mean advice. So what do I mean by that? Your friends and family will always want to make you feel better. Now to do this, they will want to see your partner hurting because they’re looking at you and they can see that you’re struggling and that partner has hurt you. [00:23:00] So obviously, they’re on your side and they might encourage a course of action, which really hasn’t been thought through properly. There’s high emotions in all of this decision making and something that I often say to my clients is just remember that for every action, there will be a reaction and you need to consider all consequences. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter where you are in this process. Just for a minute, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think to yourself, “How are they going to react? Why are they feeling the way they are? Why have they done these actions?” and then it could calm everything down because you need to take as much emotion out of it is possible because it’s when we put emotion in it we end up paying a fortune, everything gets out of hand and out of control and years later, we look back and go, “Wow. I’ve got real Regrets by how I handled that and some of the [00:24:00] actions that I took.” So be really, really mindful of that step.
And then the last step is really around separation preparation. You know, now for certain that the relationship is over. There’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve gone and you’ve had some counseling and the reason that I always like to have someone do some counseling before they go and see a lawyer is because everything has calmed down and they’ve taken a lot of emotion out of it. They realized why the other person’s done what they’ve done, they realized that if any of this outcome has been due to their actions, they take responsibility for it and they tackle it differently and they can also see that there possibly is a really bright future on the horizon.
So when we want to do separation preparation, what we want to do is go through and this is where I sit down with my clients and we do this divorce roadmap. So whilst holistically we cover off on [00:25:00] all of these three points that I’m talking about here, what we do in a divorce roadmap is we then go through all of the history. We look at what it is that the client wants out of the relationship. If we move our client into the next phase, which is 5 steps to a seamless divorce or the Somerton method, what we’re doing is we’re helping them put together a comprehensive folder on the history of the relationship and all of that prep work is what helps us get a really good outcome from the process. It’s that prep work where, in a lot of cases, people will go back and they have to recall certain events that have happened through their life like a bit of a light bulb moment. They can start to see where things weren’t going, why they weren’t going well. They can address them.
But it’s at this stage as well that they really start to think about their future, but a word of warning here, [00:26:00] which I feel like I have to say is the person that falls into this category, so the B category which is, as we’ve been discussing, your the person that has heard those words, “We need to sit down and have a conversation,” you are very, very hurt and you’ve got every right to be hurt. Unfortunately, what happens is this person can be taken advantage of when they go to a lawyer. Antagonize the situation. They can make the situation be so much worse than it really needs to be and what I want you to do is I want you to sit there and take responsibility for whatever you’ve done to cause the relationship to break down because if you type that little bit of responsibility, whatever the case might be, you will tackle the legal process differently and if you tackle it differently, it will save you money and especially if you’ve got children, it means that you guys will be able to forge a [00:27:00] much better relationship moving forward into the future and therefore long-term, your life will be better.
But if you’re feeling hurt and you’re feeling like, “I just want to get this person back. I do not care at what cost. He or she has left me,” the lawyer can use that against you and that’s why I really want all of my clients in this category to make sure that they’ve had counseling and taken some time to have some self-care and really address what it is that’s gone wrong and what they want out of their future.
So let’s recap we’ve talked about, at the start, confirming why and the need to understand why this has happened because it’s not something that we thought was going to occur. What we then are going to do after that, once we’ve confirmed and we’ve investigated the circumstances as to why because we all need to get to that point, we then need to have [00:28:00] some counseling and make sure that we’ve got a team around us of family and friends to support and love us. Then the next stage we want to go into is the separation preparation and making sure that we’ve got all of the information that we need because certainly if we’re at the lowest that we’ve ever been in our life emotionally, the last thing we could be thinking about is the future and making sure that we’ve got the paperwork and and the tools that we need to be able to get through the actual divorce process to come out of the other side in a really good fair and equitable position because that’s what this is all about. It’s not about ripping someone off. It’s about what someone deserves. And if you tackle it that way and it’s about what you deserve, you will get through it so much better and you will not be bitter and twisted at the end.
So thank you for listening. I’d love for you to give me a comment and let me know whether [00:29:00] you- if you’ve been in this position, if you think that I have hit the nail on the head or I’ve got it wrong or you like to tell me something that maybe I’ve missed, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’d like you to subscribe and share. If you could, that would be so amazing and leave a review. Let me know what you think. It takes a lot of effort to put a podcast together. And I want to make sure that I’m getting it to the right people and people really do appreciate what I’m sharing because ideally, I’m trying to give you the tools and the tricks to be able to save you money and get on with your life.
So till next time I look forward to talking to you again. Bye for now.
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