11/24/2013 05:55 pm ET Updated Jan 24, 2014

It's OK to Feel Bad About Being Divorced at Thanksgiving or About Thanksgiving While Getting Divorced

You do not have to pretend to be OK.

Even if you're the one who initiated the divorce, or you're feeling better about life and yourself now that the decision has been made.

Even if you're getting your feet back under you again.

Even if you thought last year was going to be the worst year and everything's been going so well and you will not cry, dammit.

It is 100 percent normal and 100 percent OK to dread it. Even if you like turkey and watching the dog show, and have the day off and can sit around in your socks all day.

And it's 100 percent normal and 100 percent OK to still be looking forward to it, even if it's not as good as it usually is.

Take care of yourself. Let yourself feel sad. If you have kids, let them feel sad, and talk about feeling sad, if they need to. Let yourself be happy, and let your kids be happy and talk about being happy if they need to.

You are doing this.

If part of your dread is about seeing family who won't be kind to you about the split, maybe this isn't the year to see them. This is a year for kindness, not cruelty. Treat yourself like you'd treat your best friend, and tell them you can't come this year. And then do something that makes you feel good, instead.

If you won't be with your kids this year because of the divorce, let yourself feel whatever you feel about it. It's OK to feel sad. It's OK to feel happy about not having to monitor anyone else's gravy intake. You know they're yours, and they know you're theirs. One day doesn't make or break anything. You're allowed to feel whatever you feel.

Next year, this will be better. No matter where you are in the process, next year will be better.

So be kind to yourself.

Magda Pecsenye loves Thanksgiving, whether her kids are with her or not. (This year they'll be with their dad, who is doing very well post-heart attack.) If you're looking for help processing some of the tough thoughts around the holiday season, check out her Christmas workbooks for people with kids and for childfree people. And for support about divorce through the holidays, tune in to the Twitter-based Divorce Chat she runs once a month with Deesha Philyaw, at hashtag #divchat. The next #divchat is December 17 at 10 pm EST. To join, follow Magda at @AskMoxie and Deesha at @DeeshaPhilyaw and search #divchat (If you don't have a Twitter account you can still read but just not post by following that last link.)