Post-divorce life is all about adjustment. Tensions run high and stress runs even higher. Both parties will be figuring out custody, visitations, and vacation management and scheduling. How do you begin to factor in celebration days after divorce? These occasions – birthdays, holidays, family reunions, etc. – are emotionally-charged and can even end up being a point of contention or a battleground to feud over.
Life Post Divorce
Divorces can be handled in much the same way as dealing with other types of loss. There are natural coping mechanisms that are triggered that will help the recovery process and transition period. During the marriage, families deal with their own ways of celebrating holidays. There are compromises and different schedules and traditions from both sides. Now, it’s time to do it all over again. When it comes to special moments and family traditions, parents and children alike are worried about how they will handle these celebration days after divorce. Life was one way before, it’s another way now. This is made even more difficult when there are children involved. Handling specials days and occasions is a very delicate and careful process.
Celebration Days After Divorce (Involving Children)
- Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are considered easy – unless of course you plan on switching the tradition just to spite your ex. We recommended staying pragmatic and practical to ease the transition.
- Christmas time is a time for family, but with children it’s usually a tradition centered around them (and gifts). Set up realistic sharing schedules because dragging them from family party to family party is not what this holiday is about. Start simple and aim to spend more time with them. Establish boundaries and then add time spent with other family members later.
- Birthdays are tough. We recommend staying open and inclusive – you do, after all, share offspring. Do your best to organize a party or jointly organize a gathering that includes both parties.
Sometimes, distance is an issue, being creative with the help of today’s technology is really simple. Use video chat technology (FaceTime, Skype, etc.), texting, phone calls, anyway you can substitute for physically being there. Be creative when adjusting to the new situation. Keep an open mind and remember where your priorities lie – your children’s happiness. Find ways to adopt and create new traditions. Alternating between holidays and years seems to be a popular method and is a logical way of sharing celebration days after divorce. Set time aside to sit down, put your feelings aside, and set up a yearly schedule that takes keeps everyone involved.
Celebration Days (Without Children)
After the marriage is over, for the first couple of years when the emotions are still pretty raw, do not forget that in many cases, one or both of the spouses are left heartbroken. Tender celebrations and holidays like weddings, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day will be difficult. Memorable days will still invoke strong feelings, at least for a little while. It takes strength not to dwell and wallow on these days, so find somewhere to go, something to do to put the memories in the back of your mind and try to treat that day as a normal day. Or you can choose to face your post-divorce emotions head on and own your pain. Watch the wedding video, flip through your wedding album, reminisce about days past. Learning to cope and overcome these feelings are important for moving on. Acknowledge that you have these emotions inside of you and choose to move forward from them.
If you have children or common friends in the shared social circles, you are bound to bump into each other. Things will get awkward, there is no way around it. In both cases, having a sociable and courteous relationship with your ex, will diffuse some lingering resentment or fears, justified or not.
Not everyone is capable of turning what could be a negative situation into a positive situation, we all do not have the same coping responses. Reaching out to others in similar situations can offer some insight and support. Do not hesitate to contact a divorce coach, a therapist, a family coach, someone to help you organize, manage and live through these holidays and celebration days after divorce as best as possible.
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