It will probably come as no surprise, to find out that divorce rates are set to go sky high now that we are coming out of a loooooong lockdown.
Now listen, I'm not going to lie, I got a bit sooky there for a while about being stuck in lockdown as a singleton who lives on her own. Yep, waking up to an empty bed, with a long stretch of day got real "groundhog day" there for a second.
However, I'm thankful that I wasn't in a marriage that was already slightly on the rocks, with home schooling and no distractions of office banter, after-work drinks, or a catch-up with friends to look forward to, so I reckon it's safe to say that others had it a little tougher than me.
So, when it came time to pick a guest for this week's Kinda Sorta Dating podcast, I thought who better to call upon than a woman who actively makes her living as a "peaceful divorce lawyer".
Anne Marie is also the founder of Divorce Right, an online mediation and divorce coaching platform that aims to empower couples to reach a peaceful, amicable separation outside the family court.
As a child of divorce, I can safely say my parents ticked ALL THE BOXES on what not to do when getting a divorce. It was messy, grim, and should have happened years before it did.
Yes, when I hear couples saying, "Oh we're just staying together until the kids are out of high school" I get a weird spasm, and my left eye starts doing that awkward twitchy thing. Why? Because that is a terrible idea!
Growing up in a household that was often a constant war zone, or involved one parent packing their bags and choofing off for a few weeks, was not an enjoyable experience.
Kids pick up on bad energy, and when two parents have fallen out of love, it's obvious. While other kids were planning their dream weddings and looking forward to settling down – I was like, "Oh, heck no!"
I had a front-row seat to an unhappy marriage, and I would have traded it in for a rough year of separation/divorce antics and then eventual normality – in a heartbeat. Even if their intentions to "keep the family together" seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Anyway, praise be for therapy and all that jazz, I can happily say my stance has changed. So, when Anne Marie made the bold statement that divorce can actually be amicable – I was intrigued to hear what she had to say.
She said she finds with most divorces there's usually the "initiator" and the "reactor". Meaning the marriage usually hasn't been good for a while, but one has acknowledged that they are no longer in love sooner and made the big call. Many times leaving the other person in shock.
Often, the initiator will jump the gun and call in their divorce lawyer right from the start. This can leave the reactor feeling the blow far more heavily and get everyone's bristles up for a fight.
Anne Marie believes before you get the lawyers in, you should first turn to a mediator. This ensures that everyone plays fair, helps take the strong emotions out of the dealings, and gets the ball rolling for healthy communication.
Anne Marie also advised against getting friends and family involved in negotiations. It's hard to not be biased, whereas someone from a professional mediation background can assess things from an aspect that is fair.
Now that all makes a lot of sense, but what about our health? I know it seems like a ridiculous question when you're busy stressing about a divorce, but Anne Marie made a good point.
She said when we're feeling strong emotions, we can often stop looking after our health. Whether that be drinking more to numb some of that pain, or losing the will to exercise, or simply giving up for a little while.
But what happens when you're hungover, or chowing down junk food every night? It affects your mental clarity and often results in poor decision making. You want to have access to ALL your brain cells when making the big decisions that come with a divorce, so make sure you also take time to get some exercise, fresh air, and healthy food.
Anne Marie shared plenty more advice on the podcast, including the amazing app you can use to get proceedings off to a flying start when you and your former partner just aren't seeing eye-to-eye, so make sure you check it out.
In the meantime, look after yourself and perhaps stay off the dating apps for a while … it's a jungle out there!
• Jana Hocking is a podcaster and collector of kind-of-boyfriends