Divorce can feel like quite a shock to the system. Everything you thought you knew has changed. It may cause many to reevaluate their relationships with friends, family, and themselves. You may also reevaluate your relationship with money.
Because of the financial strain of divorce, and the division of assets, it may become apparent that you have strong emotions around money. In fact, finances could be the reason for the strain in your marriage.
What is your relationship with money? If you change your thoughts, you may change your situation.
Did your parents fight over money? Did you earn an allowance or work your first job early in life? Your relationship with money begins early in childhood. If you witnessed your mother or father stressed over finances, you may also feel some anxiety over money and financial issues. You may be unconsciously thinking “there’s never enough” or “money is evil”. If any emotional challenges were met with gifts or presents, you could find yourself looking at “retail therapy” whenever you’re struggling with life. Understand the money messages you received from your family origin. Are they serving you? What education did you get about money growing up?
If you and your spouse had spats about money, it may also reinforce the idea that money is the root of all evil. Both you and your partner brought your own thoughts about money into the relationship. Were you a saver but your partner was a spender? If your spouse was secretly spending money, had hidden accounts, or was otherwise reckless with finances, you may find that being divorced affords some control that you didn’t have before. Did you and your partner have open conversations about money during the dating phase of your relationship? Were finances uncomfortable to talk about because you were swept up in the romance of being married? Did you know what to expect financially and what your partner’s expectations were? You and your partner’s relationship with money could contribute to challenges in the marriage and ultimately, divorce.
If your soon-to-be ex-spouse handled the finances during your marriage, your first fear after the divorce is what you don’t know.
While it may seem stressful to imagine tackling the finances on your own, it absolutely is possible. You have to start with knowing what you don’t know. There are great programs to help get you in control of the money you earn so that you feel like you’re taking a step towards independence.
To change your relationship with money, you must reevaluate the conversations you are having with yourself about money and how your family and spouse affected you. Do you feel that you’re not very good with it, that you’ll never earn enough, that you just don’t understand it? Chances are those conversations are holding you back and/or concealing the truth.
Once you recognize how your own thoughts about money may be holding you back, you can change those conversations, determine your own financial goals, and begin to feel in control as you step out into your life on your own.
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