Whenever I counsel clients before, during, and after a divorce, one of the soundest pieces of advice I can give them is to begin working on themselves. By that, I mean for them to start rebuilding – from the inside out because, as much as we might not want to admit it, both matter.
The trouble is that too many people start working on their appearance, neglecting first to strengthen their foundation, which is key to building a new life post-divorce. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with sprucing up your appearance, especially if you are making your way back into the dating pool after a long while. But how much is too much?
A growing trend among the newly divorced or about to divorce demographic is facelifts. It is not just the ladies who are getting them, either. Radar reported back in December that Brad Pitt is showing evidence of having one himself, and unveiled what onlookers are saying as a more youthful appearance at the 74th Golden Globe Awards last January. And, according to another account, his family is not taking the changes well I speculate because undergoing a facelift is such an invasive procedure that, like all surgery, comes with risks. Not to mention his possible motives for having a facelift which, judging by its timing so close to his split from Angelina Jolie, are suspect.
Of course, I am not knocking anyone’s personal decision to improve upon his or her looks, although I remain skeptical about how much improvement Brad Pitt needs. But I digress. In any event, there exist many other procedures, including Thermi, cool sculpting, and BOTOX injections among many others that can be used to freshen up one’s appearance. The trick is to find a reputable and board certified dermatologist who will give you an honest opinion about your looks and how you can have a non-invasive divorce facelift that fits within your budget.
Without a doubt, divorce is a perfect time to reflect on what went wrong in your married life so that you don’t make the same mistakes again, whether on dates, in your next relationship or series of relationships, or eventually in another marriage. To do this “work,” however, I am a firm believer you need to look inward first.
In my book, The Pre-Marital Planner: Your Complete Guide to a Perfect Marriage, I talk about how couples don’t always learn from their mistakes and are unable to change behaviors, even if they are preparing to walk down the aisle again. That is why the rate of breakups for second and third marriages increases rather than decreases over time. It is the rebound syndrome or cycle and comes about because it is often too painful to look in the mirror and take inventory, openly and honestly.
The temptation may be to “fake it until we make it,” beginning by changing our outward appearance instead of fixing what needs to be fixed internally. The degree to which we work on ourselves, whether by going under the knife or simply by buying a new lipstick, is consequently only a symptom of how inadequate we may be feeling inside. If we are not conscious of the reasons underlying why we are working on ourselves and how, we risk opening old wounds that may not have been properly healed, derailing all of our progress thus far and setting us back on our road to recovery.
I commend those who strive to look better after their divorce, even Brad Pitt. I encourage it, especially if someone is getting ready to date again. But just as it is important to look good, it is also important to feel good. And as anyone who has ever gone through a divorce, including me, knows, the most effective treatment for that is time.