One of the more common reasons for wanting a divorce, yet the most filled with shame is, "We just don't act like we're married. It's like we're just roommates." There's no abuse. There's just NOTHING.
No passion. No conversation. No intimacy. No empathy. No excitement. No arguing.
The cycle usually happens like this:
A couple gets married and although things aren't perfect, they're not terrible. They take the next steps to have children. All of the little annoyances suddenly become BIG annoyances. But they get shoved under the rug. Ignored. Or if they are brought up, changes never happen. Sure, there might be promises and attempts for a brief period of time, but nothing sticks.
One partner asks the other to go to marriage counseling. There's either a flat-out refusal or a half-hearted attempt which is usually abandoned after that partner feels attacked or like everything is resolved. So, it feels easier to go back to the usual rhythms of 'nothing.'
The unhappy(iest) partner festers. He or she decides to stick it out until the kids have graduated. They learn how to put on a good facade in public but at home they barely speak.
When divorce finally is brought up, the other partner appears shocked. Despite not putting in any effort or attention, they put all blame for the divorce on the partner who suggests it. A fresh cycle of shame and guilt begins again.
I say all of this because often when someone calls me and shares a similar story they feel so much shame and embarrassment. They think they're the only ones to ever experience this story. They don't think they have a valid reason to divorce. After all, there hasn't been abuse or an affair. But it's FAR more common than most people realize.
If you've tried counseling and tried to work with your partner and nothing has changed, there's very little point in waiting. If divorce feel inevitable, the longer you stay together, the more your finances will become enmeshed. The less time you'll have to start fresh.
Send a message to me to schedule a free consultation to see if 1:1 coaching is right for you. Or check out my online course, available immediately HERE
2023 started with a lot of excitement, although not in the good sense. We were sitting at home, relaxing after what felt like weeks of celebrating. Our son Finn’s birthday is New Year’s Eve so the partying doesn’t stop at our house for a while! We finally had the time to rest though. My husband was practicing his guitar and I was scrolling my phone when a text came through: “Aimee’s apartment is on fire.” Then another, “We’re all evacuating, there are four firetrucks here.” As we waited not so patiently for the phone call from the fire chief asking us to come to the property, I had a surprising sense of calm. This was our second fire in less than two years. I knew what to do. I knew who to call when the time was right. I knew it would all work out.
As I sat in this emotional space, I noticed that I had some of the same empowered feelings as I do when I help a client navigate their divorce process. I thought a lot about how much I love being that sense of calm for my clients as their marriages are figuratively burning. When I finish a consult and someone texts me a little while later thanking me, telling me that they feel like a huge weight has been lifted from their chest, I know they are starting to see how their lives can and will be rebuilt. That this crazy sense of stress, changes and unknowns won’t be like this forever.
Just like checking your smoke detectors and keeping a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, you can do some things NOW to prevent major damage to your life if you do end up divorcing.
-Know where all of the money is (keep a list of financial institutions with account numbers and updated balances)
-Have an emergency fund (preferable) or credit card that is enough to cover the start of the divorce process ($3-7k)
If you think you’re ready to start the process and you need clarity on what that will look like, contact me to schedule a free consultation. I can help guide you through the next right steps to take and empower you to know what is real.
2022 was a busy year but I still found time to read! Even if it's just a few minutes before bed at night, I love how it helps me unwind. I read a few fiction books but mostly I enjoy growth minded books or autobiographies. My favorite book was one I just finished: "Heartbreak" by Florence Williams. She deep dives into the post-divorce grieving process from a scientific but relatable perspective. She talks about how heartbreak truly affects our health and well-being and what we can do to heal ourselves. I loved her relationship with nature. If you've been with me for long enough, you know how much I support and encourage getting out into nature, specifically the woods. It's what helps re-center me when I feel overwhelm or sadness, like after my grandmother passed away.
I decided to compile a list of my favorite books for people who are navigating the divorce process, including kids. I've broken the list down by age group so it's easy to pick what you need. I hope to add more books for teenagers in the future, and would welcome recommendations.
I hope you like this list! If you choose to purchase from my links, I will receive a small portion of the sales for the Amazon referral which helps to keep my costs as low as possible for my clients. Thank you for your support!
2-6 Years Old
Dinosaurs Divorce: https://amzn.to/3Y5xqzt
Two Homes: https://amzn.to/3UK32Yp
When I Miss You: https://amzn.to/3VGvoV0
4-10 Years Old
I have Two Homes: https://amzn.to/3utnKRX
We Will Always Love You: https://amzn.to/3UCXvD5
My Parents Still Love Me Even Though They’re Getting a Divorce: https://amzn.to/3XZuuod
8-12 Years Old
Mom and Dad Love Me the Same: https://amzn.to/3uvyhvE
Divorce Is Not The End of the World: https://amzn.to/3P6jktD
Mum, Dad, Can You Hear Me? https://amzn.to/3W2sDNB
Atlas of the Heart: https://amzn.to/3iP2nHW
I Just Want This Done: https://amzn.to/3PblE2w
Every day the sun comes up is a day you can
take that first step to a better life.
Is what/whom you woke up to today what/whom you want to be waking up to in 5 years?
20 years? 30 years? At the end of this year? I know I woke up today to my amazing, sweet husband and two hilarious kids!
I know I would never have experienced this amazing life had I not taken the first step in my divorce 16 years ago.
If you've tried therapy, marriage counseling, and new boundaries has your relationship gotten better? Or is it stagnant? Maybe even worse because of what those things have brought to the surface? Do you look at other couples with envy for their happiness and contentment? Are you suffering from emotional, financial or physical abuse?
Stalling just prolongs the inevitable and often makes it worse as kids get busier, finances get more enmeshed and friendships co-mingle longer.
Today is as good as tomorrow which is as good as next week or next month or next year to take that first step. I'll help guide you along, confidentially and judgement free. There are a lot of unknowns in the divorce process. I help bring clarity and confidence to the decision making. I take that first step with you so it's not nearly so scary.
Don't let the fear of the unknown stop you. I would bet a lot that the unknown is better and more magnificent than you can even imagine!
Contact me today to schedule a free 30 minute consult to determine if working together through your separation and divorce is a good fit! Use the link below or call/text 309-840-0881!
Hello Friends! Thank you for being part of the Focused Forward Community!
Although it’s still summer, I just finished a book called “Wintering” by Katherine May. Personally I love winter and while I fell right into her cozy imagery of blankets, candles and hot toddies, that wasn’t the purpose of the book.
Katherine writes about Wintering as an analogy for how we handle the hard times in our lives. The job losses, the illnesses, the parenting struggles and other dark periods of life. Her story takes us through her own Wintering. As I read it I thought of my own darker times as well as what my clients and future clients are navigating right now. I only wish I had had the chance to read this book two decades ago!
Divorce tends to be a different type of grief. A grief that is suffered alone, often in shame. Tucked away so it doesn’t offend others. Rather than face this grief head on and accept the Winter as it is (as Katherine builds out beautifully in her book) we especially hide this grief out of embarrassment of feeling like a failure for disrupting a pillar of society.
And so we suffer silently, alone at home. Maybe in a new house that doesn’t quite feel like home yet. Maybe we don’t feel accepted in the communities we are in. Maybe our church doesn’t support divorces. Maybe our friends have gone dark because they “don’t like drama” (more on that another time…)
I’m excited to help my clients through their Winter. Maybe the snowflakes are just starting to fall and preparations are needed. Maybe it’s full on Dark-at-4pm. Maybe your Winter is at the point where the snow crocuses are starting to peek through but it’s still bitterly cold.
How can we make our Winters work FOR us? How can we EMBRACE our Winter so we care for ourselves properly? How can we find the RIGHT community to Winter with?
If you are in a stage like this, I’ll leave you with this: Embrace it. Winter does not last forever. Allow yourself to feel the grief and care for yourself gently. Know that Divorce involves a grieving process not unlike the death of someone you love. Too often the shame of divorce overpowers the realization of the need to grieve. Allow yourself to grieve.
I always appreciate referrals! If you know someone who might benefit from my service, please send them my way! They can text or call me at 309-840-0881 or visit my website www.katievandenberg.com to learn more!
We’ve all heard this: "Divorce is so hard on children; parents should stick it out for the kids!"
Yes. It is.
But so is living in a home with fights, tension, jealousy and unmet needs. A home where the kids find themselves tip-toeing around their parents. A home where the kids learn to manipulate the fighting parents to get what they want. A home where healthy relationships are impossible to model.
I won't sugar coat this. Divorce IS hard on children. This is a huge reason why I do this: To help my clients be the best versions of themselves as they navigate their divorces so they can be the best versions of themselves for their children.
If you or someone you know is going through a divorce with younger children, here are two books I recommend to my clients! I picked these up at our local library but they also can be found on Amazon.
I always appreciate referrals! If you know someone who might benefit from my service, please send them my way! They can text or call me at 309-840-0881.
Hello! It has been a busy summer at our house! Between the kids being home, selling another small business, the constant cycle of work on our rentals and of course, helping my clients, I haven't had time to share this yet!
About a month ago, Andy Dahn from WBBM Chicago messaged me. He wanted to interview me about my divorce coaching practice. Click the link to listen!
Nearly two years ago I had a revelation.
I learned a friend was going through a divorce. While she had a good attorney, she was so emotionally drained she couldn't understand the process. She didn't have the energy to even know what to ask. The legal lingo was confusing. The options overwhelming.
I asked her if she would be willing to meet with me. Through her tears we talked about her situation. She was thrilled when I was able to join her at her attorney's office the next week.
The meeting went flawlessly. We paved the path for better communication, cleared the way for expectations and created a follow-up plan. Because I was not emotionally invested I could re-focus if we got too far into the Story of her divorce so we could make massive strides in the Business of her divorce.
My friend finally could get to focus on healing her heart. She was able to call and text me when she was confused about the legal process rather than rack up $$$ in attorney fees for re-explanations. She was able to trust the process and know her attorney truly was working for her.
It was then I knew I wanted to become certified as a Divorce coach. The situation my friend found herself in is sadly far too common. Sadness, anger, envy and revenge get in the way of the divorce process and often sabotage the results.
And....my friend ended up with a far better settlement than she ever expected!
If you are searching for divorce support at ANY stage of the process (even if the process seems like it won’t start for awhile OR you’re done and still need help moving forward!) please call or text me at 309-840-0881.
I’d love to invite you on a journey.
We’ll start by talking about where you want to go. I might make a few suggestions but ultimately, YOU get to decide. Once the destination is determined, I’ll share with you some resources to make the journey easier. Some ways to cut costs. Financial strategies to make sure you are prepared once the journey is over. I’ll connect you with well-vetted professionals who take care of people on this same journey all the time. We’ll talk often after you begin to be sure you’re still on the right path to get to your ultimate destination.
I know you probably feel nervous. Maybe you’re angry and didn’t even make the choice to go. Perhaps you’re feeling embarrassed about having to go on this journey. Maybe you’re nervous you’ll be lonely.
We can work through all of that.
I’ll be with you every step of the way. Think of me as your trail guide. This is YOUR journey, but it's a path I've walked personally and with my clients.
I point out the blind spots.
I help you avoid the cliffs.
I have the first aid kit when you are wounded.
XO ~Katie | Focused Forward
You plan your days, weeks and goals. You plan your educational path and college choice. You plan for career goals. And of course, your relationship and marriage. From planning the type of people you date, your engagement to your wedding day to the rhythm of your marital home.
But what happens when your well thought out plans go awry? When your planning feels like it was for nothing? What happens when you fail?
Do you plan for potential failure? Do you plan how the divorce will proceed? Do you plan how your career will shift as a newly single parent? Do you plan for lonely nights? Do you consider these failures when planning the future?
If you find yourself in an unplanned failure, let's try reframing the failure as an obstacle to be overcome. As an unexpected challenge. As a creative opportunity. As a gift to revisit your goals and dreams that just maybe were buried with marriage, a career and children.
I "plan to fail" by having a folder titled "If Something Ever Happens to Me." I am the primary financial planner in our family. If I pass away or become incapacitated suddenly, I want one less thing for Ben to have to worry about. On the flip side, he handles all of our maintenance and repairs for our home and rentals. If something were to happen to him I have a file of whom to call to handle all of the duties as they arise.
I believe that planning to fail is equally as important as planning to succeed. Planning to fail allows us to fail without capsizing our entire life's proverbial ship. It allows massive failures to appear as small blips on our timeline. It allows us to recover and pivot faster to still succeed, albeit on a different course.
If planning to fail is overwhelming, send me a message to book a complimentary session to talk about where to start! I love helping people creatively explore their options for their lives.
About Katie VAndenBerg
Katie makes her life surrounded by river valleys and surprisingly beautiful cornfields. Her days are spent helping her divorce clients, working with her tenants, spending time on her pottery wheel and loving her family.