Sip and Artisan Cafe in Crown Point. | Jerry Davich~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 21, 2014 6:09AM
Should January be dubbed National Divorce Month?
Historically, couples across the country have called it quits during this month and, so far, this year is no different, experts say.
Call it a post-holidays reality check, a fresh start for unhappy mates, or a spousal New Year’s resolution — for whatever reason, this month marks the breakup of many marriages. I know two married couples currently going through this painful process. And both have a child in the mix, always making things more painful.
Attorneys are fielding calls from frustrated, miserable or (let’s be honest here) cheating spouses who are all about the timeless adage “out with the old, in with the new.” And many of them can’t wait to change their Facebook relationship status to “single,” essentially hanging out the shingle for new mates, new dates and a new life.
“January does seem to be the month where more spouses file for divorce,” said Amber Rodgers, who hosts divorce support groups through Divorcing Independent Very Able Survivors, or DIVAS.
It’s a program to help men and women transition before, during and after they get divorced from each other. In this country, someone gets divorced every 13 seconds, she noted.
“Even though the holidays are an exciting time, they also are filled with marital stress and reflection about relationships,” said Rodgers, who will soon be appearing on the “Steve Harvey Show” in Chicago. “For many couples who are already having troubles, it could be the last straw for them.”
Rodgers, who is divorced, said sometimes getting divorced can be “contagious,” according to several studies. Meaning, divorce may look more appealing if a friend, family member or coworker is also going through it.
“Divorce is a defining moment in your life,” states the DIVAS site, at www.divastogether.com.
“Take the time to reflect on what got you there, be thankful for the good times, learn from what you could have done better, and praise yourself for what you did right,” the site states. “When you allow yourself to do this, divorce will no longer define you; it will refine you.”
Rodgers said it is common for couples to point fingers at each other for what they feel is a relationship failure. (I don’t consider divorce a failure but more of an evolution. It’s a time to move on, leave behind the past and its baggage.)
You can either go through “divorce devastation” or “divorce with dignity,” Rodgers said.
Typically, after marital bliss fades away, a husband is suddenly accused of being “abusive” or a wife is labeled as “crazy.”
“They need to keep in mind that what they’re fighting about today will probably not matter a year from now,” Rodgers said.
She strongly encourages counseling for both spouses, but even on your own if your mate doesn’t want to attend sessions. She also recommends seeing a medical doctor and possibly a psychiatrist, if needed.
“Divorce is the number one reason for adult suicide,” the DIVAS site states.
For anyone going through a divorce, or a separation, here are a few tips to remember to stay as healthy as possible, according to Rodgers.
“Do not focus on what the other person did wrong. Focus on what you can do better. You cannot change what someone else has done or what they will do, but you can choose how you react and how you choose to move forward.”
“Take a time out! Do not start dating again right away. You do not want to bring anyone else into your drama.”
“Surround yourself with like-minded people. You need a support group. There are people who are willing and able to help you during this time. Do not be afraid to ask for help and get involved with a support group.”
“It is your job to know your finances. You need to know where you are financially before you even sit with an attorney. Find a financial planner to look at your current situation and to budget for the future.”
“Invest in you. If you do not value yourself enough to invest in your future who is going to do it for you?”
“Do not allow negative talk. You must stay positive.”
That last piece of advice is a tough one, I understand, but it reminds me of that old adage about drinking poison every day and expecting your ex-spouse to die.
‘Random Act of Coffee’
I finally found a Northwest Indiana coffee shop using the international “suspended coffee” program, which I wrote about last week.
Suspended coffee is the advance purchase of a cup of coffee for someone in need who can’t afford one. Think of it as a pay-it-forward, anonymous act of charity and kindness that allows coffee shops, cafes or restaurants the opportunity to serve as a needed middle-man between donors and recipients (www.suspendedcoffees.com).
Sip Coffee House and Artisan Café in downtown Crown Point now offers this program and I hope it picks up steam. The shop, at 11 N. Court St., serves coffees, lattes and espressos, as well as gourmet sandwiches, salads and soups.
“We have joined forces with Suspended Coffees in hopes of helping the less fortunate,” said owner Rhonda Bloch, who chatted with me on my radio show. “I hope to educate people on the need for help in the community and how a kind gesture goes a long way.”
For more info, call Bloch at 662-9165 or stop in for a coffee — and a suspended coffee for someone in need. As my radio show co-host, Karen Walker, cleverly quipped on Friday’s show, consider it a “Random Act of Coffee.”
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