Dr. Sharon Ufberg and her three children offer advice about family, love and life. Send your questions to email@example.com.
I am currently going through a divorce — a very civil and mutually amicable one. My husband and I were having problems for a while and, having been married for only two years, we decided it was time to move on. I am really and truly OK with our decision. However, many of my friends and family seem to think either I shouldn’t be happy or that I’m not being completely honest when I say I’m at peace with the divorce. In truth, I am actually relieved (no, overjoyed) to wake up and not fight over why the trash isn’t taken out, or why his friends and game six of the playoffs are more important than dinner with my parents. My most critical issue is my parents: How can I get them to be happy for me now that I have a chance to start over? A.P., Albany
Alexis: Good for you for making a decision that feels right for you. Every day you get a choice about how you want to live your life, and I commend you for taking control of your happiness. Now is the time you should be capturing the excitement and possibility of what’s to come, not drowning in the angst and anxiety of your parents and friends. Firmly tell these seemingly well-intentioned people that unless they have something supportive or positive to say, they should keep their mouths shut. While it’s kind that they’re worried about your transition (you may find yourself mourning the loss of the relationship at some point, whether it was good or bad), your parents’ worry is not productive. Better to face your future with hopeful optimism, right?
Saul: Communicate with your friends and family about your feelings regarding the divorce. The more they understand your position, the more they will be able to accept your decision. You should always make decisions that make you happy regardless of what others may think. Assume they are looking out for your best interest and hold on to your confidence that you made the right choice.
Sharon: Let’s face it. For the majority of people, divorce is a very painful and stressful event. Your amicable split is a rare occurrence so it is easy to see how loved ones would jump to the assumption that you are in a great deal of pain on some level. If the divorce is as easy as you report, then they will all witness the smooth transition and be able to hop on the bandwagon of your happiness soon enough. In the meantime, reassure them that your life is moving exactly where you want it to go and they should join you in celebrating the journey.
Jessica: Congratulations for having the courage to walk away from the status quo in the hope of a better future. It is fair for your parents to worry about you, but they need to hear you when you say that you’re OK. Change affects people in different ways, and until the change occurs, it is hard for people to see how life will be after the shift. I’m sure once your parents see how fantastic you are without the stress of your ex, they will realize it was the best decision for you. Until then, you will just have to let them think what they want, and prove them wrong!
Dr. Sharon Ufberg is a Napa-based radio host, journalist, consultant and integrative health practitioner. Her daughters live in San Francisco: Lawyer-turned-writer Alexis Sclamberg, 28 and married; and hair colorist Jessica Sclamberg, 26 and single. Saul Sclamberg, 24 and single, studies chiropractic in Los Angeles. Read more at http://r-2-cents.com.