Congratulations. Finalizing a separation agreement is a major achievement and usually comes at the end of a very stressful and emotional period in your life.
Signing a separation agreement will likely have a strong emotional impact on you. It is tangible evidence that your old life, the one you once had hopes and dreams for, is finally done. Signing your agreement can leave you feeling aimless as suddenly, the agreement, which has been your entire focus for your life in recent memory, is complete. But the separation agreement is not the end. It is the beginning of your new life post divorce.
The first thing you now need to do is stop.
You have been running hard and still have momentum from your old life driving you forward. You are on automatic pilot and are just trying to get through the days of your new reality.
But this is your new life and you get to design it the way you want.
One of the first things to do is give yourself some time to process the fact that you just signed your separation agreement. The day I signed, my lawyer said to me “Don’t underestimate the emotional impact that signing this agreement will have on you.” And even though she said this to me, I was still unprepared. I had big expectations that my life was suddenly going to be fine now that I no longer had to deal with my ex-spouse. Instead, feelings of sadness and failure took over. My current understanding that only one part of my life has failed, my relationship with my ex-spouse, came to me after allowing myself time to grieve. Giving myself time enabled me to more forward.
Time also helped me understand that I could design my life the way I wanted to. I did not have to try to cobble together the pieces of my old life as the only way forward. I had to take time to figure out what was important to me. For many newly separated people, this is a dramatic shift. Up until separation, you were leading a life based on shared values or even leading a life based on a spouse’s values. It is important to take the time to reassess what is important in your new life if you want to successfully move forward.