For many people, going through a divorce will be amongst the most stressful experiences of their lives. A divorce is a loss and you will need to grieve while also facing the day to day challenges of the divorce process. Navigating the process can feel overwhelming and unmanageable at times. It can help to lean on family and friends. But what do you do when your family and friends do not understand what you are going through because they have never been divorced?
You should be able to find organized support groups in your community. Community centers such as JCCs and YMCAs often host groups that are run by divorce professionals, such as lawyers or social workers. You may also find divorce groups at churches, synagogues or mosques that are facilitated by clergy or laypeople. Speak to your therapist about divorce as well. He or she may know of divorce groups in your area as well.
The benefit of an organized support group is that everyone there will understand what you are going through to some extent. Some will have faced the same practical issues you are dealing with. Others may be further along in the divorce process and may be able to give real world tips on surviving whatever is coming next. You may make friends you can call the night before a court date to talk you through your fears. You may even meet people who already finished their divorces and can show you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, giving you much needed hope to make it through.
It may seem daunting to share your personal story of divorce with a group of strangers. Feel free to go and listen until you get comfortable. Most support groups are “drop-in” so there is no commitment to return if you are uncomfortable. Even if you feel a little queasy at first, we suggest giving it a try. The people you meet may become those you lean on most.
A new custody and divorce support group is starting this spring at the JCC Manhattan on the Upper West Side. Elysa Greenblatt, Esq. will moderate the drop-in group, which starts in February. Come connect with others who are there to listen and lend support. If you are interested in “Families in Transition: Custody & Divorce Support” at the JCC, learn more about it by clicking here.