South Florida Parenting recently ran an article by Melissa L. Tichauer, who was coming to grips with her separation and divorce. Her feelings — of humiliation, of being an outcast in a community known for its “family lifestyle — left Tichauer wondering if she was unique or different. As divorce and family law attorneys, we also advise what she did next: With the help of family therapists, Tichauer realized she was not unique or alone. Divorce is a path of change in a constantly changing world. Below is her story…
“I’ll never forget the exact moment I realized my marriage was officially over. It was a Tuesday morning in January — the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I remember the sentence I uttered to my sister that morning on the telephone: “I’m not going to work today; I think I’m getting a divorce.” That evening, while my son and I were at a friend’s house, my husband moved out of our home.
“I was ashamed and humiliated and felt like an outcast and a failure immediately following my separation. In the family-oriented community I lived in, I might as well have been wearing a scarlet letter. It was as if I was no longer part of the norm. But licensed marriage and family therapists Dr. Debbie Swayman, DMFT, LMFT, and Karen Kaplan, MS. Ed., LMFT, of Family Therapy Associates, P.A., said what I was feeling was normal.
“You have to recognize that life is going to change,” said Swayman, who with Kaplan co-authored the court-mandated Proactive Parenting and Divorce class for parents of minor children involved in a divorce. “It’s about finding a new normal. There’s no right or wrong. It’s what’s right for you or your child.”