Getting divorced after decades of marriage can be heartbreaking, but having your personal life displayed on the news might even be worse. Yet I couldn't help noticing that Maria Shriver has given us quite a few positive lessons in how to handle things. While we'll never know what's going on behind the scenes with her and soon-to-be ex Arnold Schwarzenegger, here are some observations that can help any midlifer going through a divorce.
Don't Blame the Other Woman
This goes against the natural reaction when you find out your husband cheats. Generally, you get mad at him and her. Now, it doesn't mean you have to invite the other woman over for tea, but it does mean that your husband is the one that decided to break the vow of your marriage and your anger should be with him. Directing your anger in the proper place will actually help you get over the situation a little bit faster than if you sprinkle your anger elsewhere.
Child Out Of Wedlock
There is something especially hurtful about finding out your husband was not only having an affair, but is now the father of another woman's child. One thing that amazed me about Shriver was that she reportedly cried with Mildred Baena (the former housekeeper for the Schwarzenegger's), which showed an incredible amount of empathy. As hard as it is, realize that the affair was not the child's fault, so refrain from directing any negative feelings his or her way.
Hold Your Head Up High
The Kennedy's are known for keeping their head up high when tragedy comes their way. Their large family no doubt helps when it comes to getting support and carrying on. This has influenced Shriver, who seems to be holding her own and continuing to live her life. When someone cheats on you it can bring a horrible feeling of shame, but don't let this take hold of you.
Maria Shriver reportedly flew to tape her friend Oprah's final farewell episode just a day after Schwarzenegger announced his affair. I admired this because as an introvert myself, I probably would have grabbed an afghan, hid under it, and cried. I think Shriver's determination to get dolled up and appear on a television show is a much better option.
Few of us have the schedule that Shriver has, but filling up your life with purpose and events isn't a bad idea when you're going through divorce. If you find yourself without many friends now, try taking a class or learning a new hobby. It will help you meet new people and also take your mind off of the negativity in your love life.
Don't Name Call
Who would have blamed Shriver if she had taken the name-calling route when it came to talking about her husband? But she didn't, probably in part because that doesn't seem like her style, and also because she has children. This is an important lesson for any of us, because even though you are angry and want to yell and scream, refrain from doing it publicly. It only makes you look bad. Handle the situation with as much grace as you can muster, because years down the road when you're past all this, you'll be glad you did.
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