Call it what you will: your divorce peeps, your posse, your gonna-get-you-through-this-come-hell-or-high-water crew. Here's how to choose them carefully, because they’re going to be super important in the coming weeks and months.
Every day at Divorce in Good Company we talk about being strong and tough and resilient. And girl, I know you’re all of those things. Most days you know it too, right? You’re as mighty as a lioness. Then there are those other days…. the ones when you feel about as fierce as a field mouse. Both are totally expected. But no matter how you’re feeling, you don’t have to go through this alone. It most definitely takes a village to get through divorce, and suffering - or strutting - in silence doesn’t make you stronger or fiercer, or more resilient. It just makes you, well, alone. And that’s no fun.
When we set out to create DIGC, we met with hundreds of women at all stages of divorce – from newly separated, to divorced for a decade - and asked them what they needed most to get them through. The overwhelming response? Connection. We heard from so many women that divorce was an incredibly lonely experience for them. Yes, even those gals with a strong supportive family and good friends told us they suffered through much of their divorce feeling isolated and alone. Well, at DIGC we believe it doesn’t have to be that way.
From our talks with so many of you, the idea for a D-Squad was hatched. Here’s how to get yours started.
1. Pick Your Peeps
Make a list of positive, reliable people you trust to help get you through this time. Your posse might include your best friends, your sister, your mother. Heck, your father and brother can join too, as can your best guy pal. But before you narrow down your choices, read #2 below, because it’s important that your D-Squad include the right people for this task. This isn’t just a cheerleading squad, though you are looking for people who’ll support you and help make life a little easier through this process. And remember we said to pick positive people. You’re not looking to host a pity party! Be careful to choose people who feed you and lift you up.
2. Assign Roles
There are a lot of ways your D-Squad can help you, and it’ll make a world of difference if they can take some of the tasks of divorce off your plate. Think of it as if you’re a company, and your D-Squad is your own personal board of directors. Of course, you can personalize this any way that feels right for you, but here are a few suggestions:
CLO (Chief Listening Officer): You know who she is and why she’s needed. This is your best pal, your confidant, your friend who’s willing to sit up with you till 2 a.m. to listen to every detail. At some point, though, even she is going to get exhausted, which is why I strongly advocate for you to also get a counselor. But there’s no doubt, you need your CLO.
Secretary: Do you have a friend who’s incredibly organized, writes everything down, and color-codes her calendar? Super! Ask her to accompany you to your first meeting with your divorce attorney to be your notetaker and task maker, because believe me, you’re going to be so overwhelmed in that meeting you’ll barely remember what was said. Having your personal secretary there will allow you to concentrate on talking and listening, rather than writing. A word of caution: some lawyers are against letting anyone else sit in the room when they meet with their client due to confidentiality. (I’m not one of those people – I think the pros outweigh the cons, but I do give a word of caution before the meeting.) So, ask in advance if you can bring someone to sit in with you.
Treasurer/Investment Advisor: Aside from emotion and custody, divorce is about money: how much you need, how much you have, how you’re going to divide it. Unless you’re really knowledgeable about your personal finances already, or just plain financially savvy, you’re gonna want some help here. Think about who in your close circle is a CPA, a financial advisor, a bookkeeper, or find a close friend who aced AP Calculus. Ask her if she’d be willing to take a look at your budget or help you analyze the asset division your spouse has proposed. Again, this probably won’t replace hiring a financial expert in your case, but I’ve known many women to benefit from some free advice from their financial friend. Just make sure to treat her to dinner once in a while.
DOF (Director of Fun): At some point, it has to happen: you need to wash your face, change out of your yoga pants, and go have some fun. You also need to find a reason to laugh as often as humanly possible. Choose the friend who cheers you up the most when you’re down and won’t let you cancel plans - and ask her to be your D of F. (And if you’re in need of some good tunes to start your night off right, click here for our fab gal playlist).
The “Plus One”: One of the new things you’ll have to deal with during divorce is getting used to attending events without your ex. It’s really nice to have someone ready to be your “date” for the school holiday pageant, office parties, weddings. Even if the event is something you could do alone – just because you can do something doesn’t mean you have to. So do yourself a favor and reach out to the squad for company.
3. Create a “D-Squad” text group in your phone contacts.
Name it something funny, so every time you see it you feel like smiling. Assign silly or empowering emojis next to the group name. Reach out to the group when you need advice, a shoulder, a smile, or just a distraction from what you’re going through.
4. Set Recurring Dates in your Calendar
In addition to connecting with your D-Squad sporadically, set up regular dates with them like coffee every Tuesday morning, happy hour on Fridays. Lock it into your ical now. If in- person meetings are tough to coordinate because of jobs and kids, do a regular skype date.
5. Widen your circle
Low on peeps? Ask your friends to introduce you to their other divorced friends. But remember, you’re only looking for positive and supportive interactions - you don’t need negative talk or bashing sessions.
6. Connect virtually with our Divorce in Good Company community and share your best ideas. I bet you’ll find a few awesome women to add to your own squad!
7. Pay It Forward
Right now you might be more of the givee, but one day soon you’ll be the giver. So remember how much you appreciated your D-Squad when your friend in need asks you to be part of hers.
Remember, we’re in this together.