Dealing With the Holiday Season

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So, are you getting ready for the Holidays?

If this is your first one since your Divorce Over 50, chances are good you’re at least somewhat anxious about it. Your world has changed — what used to be the most wonderful time of the year could be anything but. There may be Holiday traditions you’ve practiced for three decades… but won’t be doing this year. It’s easy, as a newly Divorced person, to dread the upcoming Holiday Season.

But, with a little preparation, and by getting ahead of the situation, you should be able to not only survive the Holidays, but also find plenty of joy during them.  

Guidance For the Adult Children of Divorce

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A Divorce Over 50 not only impacts the couple, it also affects their adult children. We’ve addressed the Adult Children of Divorce (ACOD) a few times before (for example, here and here), always from the point of the view of the parent. Those takeaways include:

  • Never assume it’s easy on adult children because they’re older — they may not have “little kid” issues with your Divorce, but it can still cause tremendous disruption for them.
  • You can set an important example for your children by moving through your DO50 and finding a brighter future. They’ll see that unwanted, unexpected  things can happen in life, but it’s possible to overcome them and get to a better place.

Writing for Divorce Magazine, therapist Terry Gaspard offers a piece aimed at those adult children, “8 Ways to Move on From Your Parents’ Grey Divorce.” Though tailored for your kids, it’s well worth reading to better understand what may be going on with them, and to help avoid potential problems. Moreover, I’d encourage you to forward them either this post, or the article itself.

Here’s a summary of the eight points Gaspard makes to the ACOD’s:

  1. Set and maintain healthy boundaries.
  2. Resist playing mediator, parent, or friend.
  3. Express your feelings honestly and calmly.
  4. Share enjoyable experiences with your parents.
  5. Maintain bonds with both extended families.
  6. Face your fear of intimacy and commitment if it exists.
  7. Take your time dating someone.
  8. Respect your grief.

Gaspard does point out a silver lining: ACOD’s may be more careful about their own choice of a spouse, as they understand the fragility of love. Along those same lines, please check our post from August of 2016, “5 Pre-Marital Tips From a Divorced Parent.”  If you find it worthy, perhaps you’ll forward it to your kids, as well.

Table For One

To me, one of the hardest parts about being divorced is spending so much time alone.  I know some people
love it; they don’t have to deal with anyone else, they can sit around in their underwear, they can unleash their bodily functions as the need strikes…

An easy solution, of course, is to get out of the house and do something.  But a lot of people choose not to go by themselves, whether to a movie, a museum, out to eat, etc. They believe the activity won’t be as much fun if done solo, and also fear being seen by others as loners with few friends.

What About the Friends?

When a couple I knew got divorced, the wife basically told their friends, “It’s him or me.  Make a choice.” Not surprisingly, as no one likes an ultimatum, most of the friends went with him.

Christine Gallagher, writing for Huffington Post, offers Seven Tips on How to Share Friends After a Divorce. Most require very open communication with your ex, and I’m not sure how likely that is.  More below the jump…