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What I Wish I’d Known Before Getting a Divorce

Making the decision to get a divorce is never an easy one. While these men and women don't regret ending their marriages, these are the valuable lessons they learned.

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Treat it like a business deal

“Take your heart out of the process,” says Karen L. “Remember, your lawyer is not your friend; he is your legal counsel. Period.”

After 21 years of marriage, I helped my husband come out as gay.

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Try to have a good relationship with your ex

“Keep in mind that your kids are not involved in the demise of the relationship, they are always the mother and fathers’ children no matter what,” says Stephanie M. “Keeping the children out of the parents’ relationship is an effort that needs to be both parents’ priority. This is something that should be addressed before the children are told about the change that’s about to happen in their lives.”

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Your actions will impact your children

“I wish I had known how much my resentments and the hurts that I had not dealt with and let go of impacted my daughter’s life after the divorce,” says Phil R. “Life was, and sometimes is still, hard but we have all grown through the pain.”

If you’re looking to let go of resentment, check out these 18 quotes about forgiveness.

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Don’t be afraid to do it

“Staying in a marriage for 22 years was such a waste of precious years,” says Liz B. “I was fearful of leaving because my ex threatened that if I did I would lose my daughter. Knowing now what I know about child custody, that would not have happened. My daughter deserved a better, calmer and less chaotic home.”

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There will still be co-parenting differences

“Our biggest challenge with marriage has been over the differences in parenting styles,” says Randy U. “We fought about everything from respecting the privacy of the master bedroom to being accountable for chores.” And those arguments don’t stop just because you’re now divorced.

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Keep financial records

“I wish I would have had in-depth knowledge of financial assets and debts including insurance policies, business worth, and stock accounts,” says Lisa H.

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Listen to your instincts

“I got divorced because my ex was drinking early morning through the night. Then he would pick a fight when he’d had too many,” says Gilly H. “I didn’t want my young children growing up with that.” But whatever the reason, listen to your instincts, she says. “Make plans to work and support yourself and your kids. Be self-sufficient, but get family and local support too if you can. Work hard and your kids will love and respect you, even if you are a single parent.”

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There’s love after divorce

“It doesn’t matter your age or number of children, there are lots of good, single people out there,” says Erin O. “Women especially are told that once we become a certain age, we are no longer ‘marriage material,’ whatever that is. Don’t buy into that. If what you want is marriage again, then you will find it!”

Next, check out these seven common marriage myths—busted!

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest