It can be hard to manage life after a divorce. You are faced with issues you may not have had to consider before including how to rebuild your finances, determining an equitable division of assets, determining child custody, figuring out how to begin dating again, and so on. Seeking therapy after a divorce can help you learn how to deal with these issues and to cope with your new feelings of grief, loneliness, anger, and uncertainty. Support groups are a wonderful resource that can help you during this difficult time.
Some of the benefits of support groups for those who have gone through or are currently going through a divorce include:
Understanding from Those Who Have Been There
Friends and family may try to offer you advice and support for your divorce, but unless they have been through the same experience, they may not be able to really understand. Support groups offer you a place to talk to others who can truly empathize with your situation. You can vent your fears and frustrations without fear of judgment. And you can gain assurance from hearing from others who are experiencing the same things.
Exchange of Ideas and Solutions
In talking to others who have been through the same experience, you can also get valuable insight into how to deal with the new challenges you face. Unsure of your financial rights? Someone in your group can likely refer you to an attorney or other resources. Need a good source for childcare? Want to know the best way to meet someone new? People in your group can likely offer you good ideas. You can find out what has worked — or not worked — for others, and you won’t have to feel like you are figuring it all out on your own.
Motivation and Inspiration
Divorce can be a frustrating experience, and it can feel at times like the situation will never get better. You may feel like you will never find another person to love, or like there is no end in sight to agreeing on a fair divorce settlement. Attending a support group can show you that others have been through similar experiences and found a happy outcome. You can find hope in knowing that others have overcome even worse situations that you have. It may show you that you have more strength than you thought you did.
Finding a Support Group
Once you’re ready to look for a support group, consider several things:
- Size. How big is the group? Will you get enough individual attention, or will you feel lost in the crowd? On the other hand, is the group too intimate for your comfort level? Make sure you know before you go.
- Location. Since you will be attending group sessions regularly, the location of the meetings should be convenient for you and your schedule.
- Time commitment. Are you required to attend the group for a minimum number of sessions? Can you attend all the meetings required?
- Cost. Many support groups are an affordable alternative to individual counseling or coaching. Some are even free. However, make sure you know the fees up front and that you are able to pay them.
- Philosophy. Some support groups may have a religious mission or be affiliated with a group. Make sure you are comfortable with the philosophy of the group before you attend.
Many groups are likely available in your area. Ask for referrals from your attorney or friends who have been divorced. If you attend church, find out if your church offers such a group. Or, search online for support groups in your area and read about what they have to offer through their web site.
Have you attended a divorce support group, or are you still attending one? Tell us about your experience!
Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she’s written on online social work programs along with a piece on online graphic design programs. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, playing piano, and working with origami.