Your Personal Safety During Divorce

Personal Safety During Divorce
Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

It’s no secret that the initial stages of divorce prove to be the most dangerous time in a woman’s life. Yet, we tend to remain positively naive. That makes sense of course, because we’re going through so much for the first time and we are unaware of the hidden or subtle vulnerabilities.

Whether we remain in the marital home, buy a new, smaller home or rent an apartment, we must remain vigilant when it comes to personal safety.

It may be that you and your ex, who have recently separated are getting along swimmingly. If so, what’s your secret? I’ve yet to meet such a couple.

You divorced for a reason and it wasn’t because you are good friends. Typically, there are not so hidden resentments, anger built-up for many years.

For example, I read a perfect quote about marriage the other day;

“And when you choose a life partner, you’re choosing a lot of things, including your parenting partner and someone who will deeply influence our children, your eating companion for about 20,000 meals, your travel companion for about 100 vacations, your primary leisure time and retirement friend, your career therapist, and someone whose day you’ll hear about 18,000 times.” -Tim Urban, Wait But Why-How to Pick Your Life Partner

I found the above gem of a quote on Tumblr. I believe it’s an excerpt from a book. It took my breath away. How many of us thought of all this when we decided to get married? I know I didn’t.

Considering the weight of these words (20,000 meals) you can understand how, when things aren’t going well, and it turns out this person isn’t really our best friend, alot of pent-up resentment can accumulate.

Which brings me back to my point, the importance of personal safety during divorce. Divorce is the final eruption of those unfulfilled dreams, those 20,000 sloppy joes, those 18,000 bad days. Someone may just blow up. A person who has absolutely no criminal history or an ounce of violence in their nature…well, divorce can change all that.

So, what do we do? Be aware! Use all of your senses. If he seems extraordinarily angry, he is. You’re not imaging it.

Here’s 5 things to do now;

  1. Ensure locks are changed or added to your house or apartment.
  2. Update your will. This means change your executor and beneficiary. Often our husbands are both and once we’re separated this has to be amended pronto.
  3. Write down any unusual events, occurrences or statement made by your ex or your children. Small things mean very little until you add them all together and they paint a picture. You’ll need some tangible evidence to back up your concerns
  4. Talk to friends, family and neighbors about your concerns. Staying silent because you think you’re over-reacting will only make it easier for someone to stalk, verbally abuse or worse, assault you.
  5. Be prepared. This means have something at the ready for self protection, have road side assistance, have your cell phone fully charged always, be aware of your surroundings. Anticipate a ‘what if’ situation so that if you’re faced with it, you can think more clearly.
  6. *Make Your Safety Exit Plan-If your marriage is/was wrought with abuse, please take extra precautions. Click here for more.

I don’t write this to scare you or make you paranoid but realistically, we must be vigilant in self protection. This theory can apply to many scenarios, too, not only divorce. The fact is, being naive and thinking no one could ever hurt you is the worst thing you could do. Take these five tips (or even 3) and put them into action now. You’ll sleep better at night. Instead of worrying, you’ll sleep knowing you’re safe.

*If you are leaving a marriage that involved domestic violence, please report any threats made on your life to the police. Know the domestic violence prevention hot line, and above all, speak out about your abuser to friends, family, co-workers, and therapists. Lastly, make a plan before leaving the marital home. Here is a checklist to assist in making your safety exit.

Hotlines;

U.S.  1-800-799-7233

Canada  1-866-863-0511

U.K.  0808-2000-247

What would you add to this list? Please do share in the comments.

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34 Replies to “Your Personal Safety During Divorce”

  1. All great suggestions. We had a friend go through this recently and the locks is huge, her ex-husband used to just let himself in when she was at work during the day.

    1. Yes, the thing about the marital home is the ex sometimes feels the right to continue entering like it’s still theirs. It becomes an invasion of privacy at the very least.

  2. I love you for sharing this, and you’re right. There are too many stories out there for us to hold on to the notion that “these things just don’t happen.” Until they do. Why not take some extra steps to be a bit more vigilant, before the “what if’s”?

    I feel like the dissolution of marriage brings out a lot of emotions in people that you would never see under any other circumstance. I know that I have done and said things under duress and a fragile and completely broken heart that were so uncharacteristic for me, too. Anyway, always love the light you shed on such important topics, and also I want to hear all about your trip!! XOXO
    Charlotte recently posted…Ramblin’ womanMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Charlotte. I agree that divorce brings out the worst in everyone. It’s an emotional time…that said, best to stay on our toes and not take anything for granted when it comes to personal safety. Things can heat up pretty quickly.

    1. Exactly true, Lauren. No history of violence doesn’t mean a person can’t become that way in an instant when there’s so much at stake. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. Awesome post, Lisa. <3
    FWIW–number 3 was helpful to me in my divorce. I kept a journal in order to deal with the crazy things that were happening, and it helped in my proceedings when my ex said i was a liar that I had documented the acts of violence. 🙁
    Jane Thrive recently posted…Happy HolidaysMy Profile

  4. That gave me the chills about the husband letting himself in. Freaky..
    When I was dating Cassidy, his ex snuck into his house and read all his emails to me. That was horrible.

  5. Lisa,

    How true! I was naive. I thought my ex and I could remain cordial throughout the process. However, quickly found out, that was so wrong. As long as it was HIS way, he was cordial. As soon as I pushed back or had my own idea, he got angry and became a mad man. Yes, we divorce for a reason and usually a very good one. Safety is one that I am concerned about, however, being licensed to carry firearms and have them at my fingertips makes me feel a lot safe. He knows I’m a great shot and would be an idiot to push my buttons, ya know.

    Safety first. Love ourselves. Protect ourselves.

    Thanks for sharing!

    B
    Bren Lee recently posted…My Love for Animals will always be Stronger than for HumansMy Profile

    1. I was the same, Bren. I had this whole vision of how I wanted us to be during the process but that was far from reality. You’re a sharp shooter to boot! He better be cautious. Plus, you have your furbabies that would alert you and likely protect you. YES, safety first.

    1. That’s wonderful, Shantala. Everyone should be in a happy marriage! I didn’t either. If someone had told me that I probably would have scoffed and said they were raining on my parade. I think we don’t want to hear certain things when we’re making this huge commitment.

    1. Hi Chris, I think it’s unexpected. We think things will roll along smoothly but we don’t count on the anger. It can get out of hand pretty quickly so always best to anticipate the possibility.

  6. That is a good quote. So many jump into marriage, especially young, not really realizing or thinking of the long term…forever is more than a word you promise. It’s real. I wish the two women in my life who I love dearly had thought it all through. All 20,000 meals. But I know it is tough knowing what could happen. Things do change.

    This post is a great warning. To those heading into marriage and those leaving it.

    1. Yes…guilty. I think we’re caught up in imagining the perfect life/family but we don’t really have a concept of the reality. Luckily, there’s a way out of unhappiness and a way to reclaim happiness. I’m sure your mom and sis did consider carefully but there are no guarantees. Thanks, Chrys!

  7. I remember my best friend asking me if I had a gun, and I was like, “What do you think? I don’t even know how to shoot one.” So she want and got me some pepper spray. Not that I ever had to use it, but when your ex goes off the deep end and disappears, any sense of safety with a person who never, ever seemed dangerous goes out the window. The worst for me was when he came back to town for a few days, and I refused to see him. I didn’t leave my house for three days.

    1. We don’t have (carry) guns here in Canada (mostly). I’ve finally held one and taken a practice shot—not a bad skill to develop. Pepper spray is effective and maybe better than a gun in that no one gets killed only temporarily maimed. Your situation was pretty unsettling and you were right to be cautious. I hope you’re more settled and feeling safe and secure these days.

  8. Hi Lisa, I haven’t come across that wonderful quote of Tim Urban you have shared! I am sure this is true, nobody thinks in terms of ‘choosing a lot of things,’ while choosing a partner.

    I appreciate your tips for taking care of personal safety…anger could lead to bitterness and unimaginable consequences. Though emotional hurts are worse but It is better to anticipate ‘what if’ than be physically hurt by those who could react out of frustration.
    I hope this post would help many. Stay blessed!
    Balroop Singh recently posted…Sunrise – At The Top Of Burj KhalifaMy Profile

    1. Hi Balroop, yes that quote is quite the eye-opener although I’m sure many would ignore it when they’re falling in love 😉 We can only appreciate the weight of his words in hindsight.

      Exactly true, Balroop. We’re better to be prepared to a certain extent than feel ‘nothing could happen to me’. Nice to see you!
      lisa recently posted…Happy 6th Blog Birthday!My Profile

  9. This is needed Lisa. We don’t think about this at first. We want to believe that everything will go smoothly. It doesn’t most of the time.
    I remember I had packed all my papers and important items, in case. I did not know I would leave a couple of days later.
    I started talking and saying things. This way people could help.
    Silence is a killer.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. You are helping people facing a very difficult situation.

    Love from Paris

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