With Christmas at the end of the year usually we see a lot of laughter, joy and happiness. It is that time of the year when we reflect on what we did through the days passed by and set our goals for the coming new year. And most of all this is when the celebrations begin and usually we look forward to family reunions. The only thing we want is to be around the ones we love the most. If you are going through a separation or a divorce, this could be a problem for you. May be your dreading it.

Perhaps when everybody else is hugging each other and unwrapping presents, your alone feeling the worst. Its probably very tough for you and you may be thinking that from now on (and at least till you find someone new), you are alone. It is a date where emotions are all over the place. Not only for us but for our kids too. All the more reason to be confused and stressed.

This special podcast is about the effects that a divorce will have on us during the holidays. What we should expect from assembled families and how to pass through this particular time of the year with less pain and possibly a better attitude. 

Let’s get into it:

Timestamps:

What is your greatest struggle at this time of year?[00:01:00]

What is the major concern for women during Christmas? [00:02:00]

What we should do with our kids and what we should not.[00:04:00]

What kind of memories are we creating? [00:07:00]

The importance of being present. [00:09:00]

My first Christmas after the divorce. The hardest ever. [00:10:30]

New partners and our kids. [00:12:00]

Our ex’s family. Should we keep in touch? [00:15:00]

How to restart? Suggestions and ideas. [00:17:00]

Links:

My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce

https://tanyasomerton.com/shop/the-jelly-bean-jar/

Join my Free Facebook Group here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/divorceangel/

Divorce Roadmap Session:

https://tanyasomerton.com/divorce-roadmap/

Transcription

[0:00] Hi, everyone, and welcome back to the divorce Angel podcast. I do these podcasts on what I call podcast set day, I normally sit down and do four of them in a row. And that’s why the topics normally collate or have a reference to one another one. 

For today’s podcast, I wanted to go live on the week of Christmas. The reason for that is I’m in a few support groups where I help people get through their separation and divorce. And recently I asked the question: What is your greatest struggle at this time of year? And I got back probably about 30 different replies.

[0:45] A lot of them were the same for certain people. There were a few odd ones here and there, but many of them were the same. 

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I can remember going through this myself. So I thought for this podcast, let’s have a chat around four of the biggest issues.

How can I assist you in trying to mitigate your concern, if you are going through one now?

I’m pretty sure that they’re all very similar and everyone in some way, shape or form will be dealing with one of these issues coming up to or leading to the week of Christmas and after. 

[2:00] The interesting thing is when I broke the demographics down to men and women, women mostly worry about the financial part of Christmas. 

When we’re in a relationship with someone else, someone is supporting us, there’s two of us bringing income so there’s no stress. We will work on getting rid of the debts together. There’s always someone to rely on. 

But when you separate or are going through a separation, you are responsible for your finances, you think twice about everything that you spend your money on.

[2:45] If you don’t take responsibility for where the money is being spent, no one else will, it’s up to you. So you either have one or two things happening. You either have people going, or thinking that they need to provide the same level of standard they had. That means the same amount of money spent on gifts as they would have previously when they were still together with their ex. 

[3:25] If you’ve got children, the children should not be affected by the separation. We try to help them with their unhappiness, we do it by pretending everything is the same as it was previously. And you can see how silly is that.  Pretending that everything is the same when it’s not. Things have changed, we’re in a different part of our life now. 

[4:00] The children need to help and assist us with that. I mean, it’s not their responsibility to make us happy but, this is the reality that we now live. The kids have to get used to that. 

I heard when I was in this group, people commenting on the fact that the other parent was trying to buy the child’s love. They were the high income, they were trying to buy you more expensive presents for the children. And they felt like they were inferior or could not compete. 

I’m here to tell you that the kids love you because you are their parent, they don’t love you for what you can give them. 

[4:45] There was a study done when my children were young, it was all around the fact that children don’t remember the toys that they were given. What they remember, is the events and the holidays. The moments are what we recall as adults. 

Think about yourself, do you sit there and recall that your mom and dad bought you the latest Star Wars toy or the best Barbie? Do you remember a special moment in time that you recall often, that brings you joy and happiness and you feel it in your chest?

That moment is what you want the most. That’s a memory that brings back the most amazing feelings for you. It’s never getting a toy. That’s a fallacy. 

[5:45] So don’t put pressure on yourself thinking that you have to spend a fortune on your children, just because that’s what you used to do, or that’s what your ex is doing. That will get you nowhere.

You will be setting up a standard that the children are going to expect year after year, and you will not be able to afford it. You are setting yourself up for failure right from the start. 

What men most worry about is the fact that they feel lonely. They believe that they’re not going to see the children because the children are going to spend more time with their mothers. 

Men feel women are holding the power in the situation, and decide how often the fathers are going to see the children. Then the man will try to buy the child’s love by giving them a greater present, or a more expensive gift. So that the child will want to come back and see them and be with them more often.

[7:00] That is not true. The children want to spend quality time with their parents. If you’re the father and you’re only seeing your children limited over the Christmas period, make sure that you spend quality time, because quality is more important than quantity. 

Anyone can have a quantity of time but don’t allow the kids to be sitting there playing on their PlayStation or their iPads. Make sure you go and create a memory with your child.

Make a memory for them to remember. Because memories build up emotions, and emotion sends out a frequency. That frequency is what we remember as humans. 

There’s something that you look back on later on. It’s sort of burned into your mind of how amazing that was. That’s what we should be striving for as parents, making sure that our kids have the greatest memories of us. 

When my kids ask me, what do you want for your birthday? Or what do you want as a present? I answered I don’t want a present, I want a memory. So we hired a bus, and we went around to a lot of wineries because as you know, my children are adults now, they are in the early 20s.

[8:15] We all went on a winery tour around the peninsula and we had a great time. We laughed, we had fun, and I’ll remember that forever. But they would have given me a gift and I probably would have put it somewhere.

I would have been a candle or a bottle of wine, or it could have been who knows what it may have been but, I would have put it somewhere, I would have drank it. I would have burnt it if it was a candle and then it was gone. 

Memory is something that we will always have. My advice is: Create memories with the kids. Spending time with your children is the most valuable gift you could give them. It’s something that they will always recall. They realize that you’re always going to be for them when you give them time.

[9:30] Along with that, especially for the guys in this group, when I was talking to them came about being lonely. Whether it’s the females or the men being lonely at this time is an awful feeling. 

I remember my first year of being separated from my husband, we separated in November. And when it came around to Christmas, I felt empty. I was happy I’d decided to leave and I was looking for a better future. But as well it was like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. 

You think about what your life used to be. And all of that is more prevalent than what it could be in the future. You seem to be slipping back into that. Into that past life, and that brings up all these other emotions. 

[10:30] I remember seeing around the tree at my mom’s house, and all of a sudden, I burst out crying because everyone in my family was there as a couple. My brothers, both with their partners and everyone was giving each other a gift. 

I think for me in that very moment, the reality of what had happened hit me. This is my new normal, I need to get used to this. I’m no longer a person who is part of a couple I am now singular. It’s just me. 

Loneliness hit me like a sledgehammer and it was an awful feeling. What I needed to do was to make sure that I was happy with myself. I talk about it quite a lot to my clients. I dated myself, I needed to make sure I fell back in love with me. That made a whole difference in how I started making decisions. 

[11:30] I had no issues with being alone anymore because I was learning more about what was important, what I needed to be for a successful life. How can I be the best person I could be? 

I spent a lot of time thinking about that. And it made me get through the loneliness. The truth is, it was a tough time. I even lost about eight kilos in three or four weeks over Christmas Day. 

I would put my chains on, and I would just walk. And I remember walking up to 40 kilometres. I’d put the chains on, I’d put happy songs on, I would go for a walk and I’d be walking two hours at a time. One day I walked for six hours.

Then I learned what it was that I wanted and needed for my life. When the loneliness came,  I got the awareness that I needed to find out truly who I was. Hopefully, that might help you a little bit because loneliness is something that is going to be very, very vivid at this time he for you.

[12:45] Another issue that was coming up was all around new partners. One person had said my biggest issue is my husband’s new girlfriend. Another lady said my cheating ex-husband moving his girlfriend in. 

If your ex is introducing your children to a new partner, you need to be aware that you’re on the same page. Hopefully, you are on talking terms and you’ve had a conversation around the new partner, meaning the kids. 

It can’t be that out of nowhere your children are introduced to someone new, it needs to be a phased approach. But being jealous of your ex’s new partner is not going to get you anyway. Jealousy is the lowest form of energy that we can have and it gets us nowhere.

Being jealous is going to cause you more pain and hurt. There’s nothing you can do about your ex-partner moving on. They don’t know how you feel, they don’t know you’re feeling jealous, they don’t know you’re angry, because they are happy, I’m assuming.

[14:30] They’ve introduced the kids to the new partner. And they’ve done that because they think that this new person is the person that they want to be with for a while. May I not go so much further with partners, ex-partners and relationships after divorce, which I might do a podcast on that one day. 

[15:00] You should not be worried about what’s happening with your ex and what they are doing, other than how it affects your children. Being jealous because your ex is moving on, is not going to get you anywhere. It will eat you up inside. So listen to me when I tell you don’t spend your time worrying about that.

How you feel on the inside is what you are portraying on the outside and you don’t want to be that person on the outside. 

[15:30] The last topic I want to discuss is the ex is family with a family too. We feel like we’re losing part of ourselves by separating. Whether it was a sister or a brother in law, a mother in law that was kind and special to you. Now you feel like you’re missing out a tradition or something that you regularly did that brought you happiness and joy. 

You can make new traditions, you need to make new traditions. That new tradition doesn’t mean that that sister or brother in law, or whoever the family member was that meant so much to you, you can’t catch up with them.

Because you no longer with their family member does not mean that you are still not family, that you are still not important to them. You need to make a new tradition. It doesn’t mean that it’s all over, it means it is going to start something new. Starting something new can be a good thing. 

Closing this podcast I want to say that the first year of separation is by far the hardest at a time like this. By far. All I can tell you is year after year, it will get easier. Please don’t sit around, feeling sorry for yourself, make a new tradition.

[17:55] Do something that’s going to inspire you. Go down to the homeless shelter, feed some people that are less fortunate than you.

Do something to pay back to your community. Because karma will always come back and pay you in some other way. 

Do something completely new and different for you so that you can make sure that you are going to be okay. 

I remember the day that my stepfather passed away. My mother was in a world of hurt. I can’t tell you how she was when it comes to Christmas. She said I don’t want to do Christmas this year. I can’t deal with it. I don’t want to do it.

She didn’t tell us and to my surprise, she got up that morning and she went to a homeless shelter. She fed some less fortunate people. 

[18:50] I said to her later on, why did you do that? And she said the reason was I needed to feel like not only my life worth. I wanted to make someone else know that I cared about them. And it’s stuck with me for a very long period because she was by far the worst I’ve ever seen her in my lifetime. And yet she was still able to get up and go out and help someone else. 

I wish you a Merry Christmas, next year is going to be so amazing for you. I promise. It’s all-around how you think and what you think you’re going to achieve and be capable of. 

[19:35] Please look into the future to think about what that can be. But from my family to yours, I wish you the biggest and happiest Christmas. And I want you to know that your future can be anything that you want it to. Just look at me as an example. Your life can be amazing. So have an amazing rest of this Christmas week. Make sure that you have some joy and fun in your life.  Okay, Merry Christmas, everyone.

Bye

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