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The fear of the unknown is what causes the divorce jitters. Once you're familiar with what you can expect, you'll likely be able to handle the dynamics more confidently. In Washington and elsewhere, the things to expect in a divorce, along with some tips on how to relate to them, are fairly universal principles. These ideas were written by a female divorce coach, but they can be helpful to both men and women.

If you have younger children, that may likely be your primary worry. You may see your kids unhappy, angry and frustrated. Talk to them regularly, without emotionalism and with adult understanding. Don't stoop to name-calling or ridicule of the other parent. Tell them that you understand their feelings, and remind them always that it's not their fault.

Expect to be embraced and supported by some friends and abandoned by others. Don't take it personally; the laws of human nature demand diversified reactions. Just take it as another lesson in life, and cherish the friendships that you retain. You'll be making new friends as you go forward.

Once you're officially separated, release all guilt feelings and give yourself a pass to feel relieved from the past pressures. Don't get into a rut pitying yourself. Any sense of loneliness will be replaced with new interests, romances and enjoyable activities soon enough. Be a little patient and remember that virtually all divorced persons get new love interests and new pursuits in life.

Likewise, don't be shocked when your ex has a new love interest. This is natural and must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Concentrate on your own activities and interests. Don't let the cloudy days get you down; there's a sunny day right around the corner. It always gets better as time passes and new routines and interests become established.

If you're a resident of Washington who's starting a divorce or expecting one, these are some things to expect. To get an even better foundation for what to expect, have a preliminary consultation with divorce counsel so that you can learn the legal and financial facts that you'll want to know. Going forward with a full head of knowledge is a great self-confidence booster.