Watching strong women made vulnerable through family breakdown took me back to my childhood but knowing a ‘good divorce’ was possible, I realised it was time to offer a better path.
I’d been a child of divorce, had ended my own marriage in my late 20s and observed family and friends break up with mixed results. While most experiences seemed bitter, there were glimmers on the horizon that told me a ‘good divorce’ was possible. And not only was it possible, I set out to help people discover their own path to a positive outcome.
An early introduction
My first experience of family breakdown came when I was just seven years old. My parents divorced and my childhood-self had immensely conflicted feelings – part of me was glad that what was happening in our home was no more and I looked forward to happier times. The reality was that what came afterwards was anything but positive. We were left with very little money because my dad didn’t contribute financially through child support and our family unit never recovered.
Trailblazing with a difference
Some time later I watched as a family member went through their divorce, setting aside their issues for the sake of their children. They navigated it in such a unique way – especially for the times and circumstances around their break up. There were tongues wagging and heads shaking, but it was the best thing for the kids in that family and the unheard of was achieved. I was amazed. If they could have a positive experience of a relationship breakdown, surely others could too?
Then came my divorce…
When my own marriage ended, I vowed to use the lessons of those who had walked this path before me to carve out a different divorce for my little family. Determined to overcome pain and frustration, I prioritised the needs of my children. This process required more regular contact with my ex than either of us desired which wasn’t easy, but I maintained focus on the bigger picture. I made the best decisions I could with what I had at the time and achieved my goal.
Still work to be done
A few years down the track – just as I was completing my counselling studies – dear friends of mine began their separation journeys. At the mercy of their former partners, both women were now financially constrained and had the full-time care of their children. They not only had to manage their emotions in response to their life changes and shock of the situation, but that of everyone else’s – along with prioritising practical steps to secure each of their futures.
Towards a new way
My friends’ experiences highlighted that there was still a huge support gap for people who wanted to have a ‘divorce done differently’. Having walked the path myself – the turmoil, reinvention of self and navigating co-parenting – I knew it was possible to divorce with dignity and self confidence in tact. I now offer strength, support and strategy for families and individuals undergoing major life change, helping them towards a positive new way to start over again.