being friends with your ex

Being Friends With Your EX: 7 Reasons It Doesn’t Work

being friends with your ex

 

While it’s normal to want to undo the past, being friends with your ex usually doesn’t work out. It’s a noble endeavor to want to be a friend to a former spouse but it can fuel your child’s reconciliation fantasies and prevent both adults from healing and moving on with their lives.

It’s especially problematic for the person who was left – or the dumpee – because having regular contact with the person who rejected them can make a person feel confused or give them a sense of false hope. On the other hand, the dumper would probably admit to feeling guilty upon seeing their ex regularly or worry that they are sending the wrong message.

When my marriage ended, I had the misconception that two good people (myself and my ex) should be able to stay friends after our divorce. In my case, I was looking for closure – but soon realized that letting go of the reasons why our marriage dissolved was a healthier decision. I also came to terms with the fact that I didn’t need to have all of the answers to why my marriage failed in order to move on.

There are many reasons why people strive to be friends with their ex after a breakup or divorce. Certainly one of the main reasons is that they have unfinished business that they hope to resolve. Our they may want to keep the non-intimate part of the relationship going because they have caring feelings toward their former spouse.

Erin, a 40-something teacher confides, “I couldn’t understand why two civilized adults couldn’t visit with our kids and hang out like friends. But Jason told me it hurt him too badly because I broke it off and he was reminded of his pain every time we got together.” This experience is a common one for the dumpee who might feel  –especially hurt if their ex has a new partner and they don’t. It can add salt to an open wound that has not had sufficient time to heal.

Guilt Can Drive You Towards Being Friends with Your Ex

Another reason why people want to stay in close contact with a former partner after a breakup is guilt. Sometimes the person who is the dumper feels guilty about leaving the relationship, especially if they were unfaithful, and they want to remain friendly with the dumpee to help to ease their guilt. In this case, counseling with a qualified therapist is a more effective way to deal with these leftover emotions.

Further, some individuals keep their relationship alive because they hope for reconciliation but they don’t necessarily acknowledge it. According to Susan J. Elliott, author of Getting Past Your Breakup, “Examining your quest for contact and being honest about your real intentions will help you stop making excuses to make contact.”

Conner, 48, reflects, “I did all I could to keep in touch with Karen with the hope that we could fix things and one day get back together – even though I knew she was in love with someone else.”

7 Reasons Being Friends with Your Ex Doesn’t Work:

  1. Most of the time, a post-breakup friendship is a setup for further heartbreak, especially for the person who was left and probably feels rejected.
  2. It does not give you or your ex time to grieve the loss of the relationship or marriage. Like all losses, the breakup of a long-term relationship or marriage causes people to go through various stages of grief. In order to heal and move through anger, denial, it’s essential that individuals have the emotional and physical space to do this. Trying to maintain a friendship may extend the healing process.
  3. You need to forge a new identity: After a breakup, it’s essential to lose your identity as a couple and to return to who you were as an individual, rather than half of a couple.
  4. It can cause confusion for your children. It’s normal for most children to experience reconciliation fantasies and seeing their parents spend time together (social events, holidays, etc.) can cause them to long for their intact family. Children benefit from parents who are collaborative but not necessarily friends post-breakup.
  5. You might not have been true friends and it’s problematic to start now. Sometimes, especially when there are children involved, a person may feel pressured to preserve a friendship that never existed or that disappeared during your marriage. So just say “no” and remain cordial to each other.
  6. You need energy to “take care of yourself” and to form new relationships. Maintaining a close friendship with an ex (especially if it’s emotionally or physically intimate) can delay this process.
  7. Acceptance is the final stage of grieving the loss of a loved one, according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and a post-breakup friendship doesn’t facilitate this process.

At some point, it’s important to accept the breakup of your marriage and come to a place of “it is what it is.” These anecdotes from bloggers help to explain how acceptance and setting boundaries with your ex can facilitate creating a new chapter in your life.

Katie, a 30-something high school counselor reflects, “When I broke it off with husband Kyle, he took it very hard. I thought that if we stayed in touch and hung out sometimes, it would help him adjust but it only made things worse. I let my guilt and his feelings of rejection be the driving force rather than common sense. It took him years to get over our breakup and I was left feeling even more guilty because of the pain I caused him.”

Justin, a 40-year old accountant shares, “It just didn’t work for Heather and me to remain friends. It got complicated without three kids and they felt more confused when we tried to get together. Then when I started dating Susie, they didn’t like her and kept talking about wanting their mom and me to get back together. It wasn’t fair to them and I didn’t want to give them false hope.”

Truth be told, it’s a great idea to be civil and cooperative with your former spouse – especially when you have children. Being allies with your ex can help children adjust and thrive post-divorce. That said, maintaining a friendship with your former spouse probably won’t allow you both to move on with your life after a divorce. Giving yourself time and space to regain independence and a sense of identity will serve you and your children well in the long run.

This article first appeared on DivorceMag.com

The post Being Friends With Your EX: 7 Reasons It Doesn’t Work appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

lessons daughters learn from divorce

12 Lessons Daughters Learn from Their Parents’ Divorce

lessons daughters learn from divorce

 

Women, and especially daughters of divorce, can put undue pressure on themselves to find the right partner, marry, and develop a happy home life. But if they possess this goal, it can present many problems. For the most part, women from divorced homes don’t have a healthy template to follow when it comes to nurturing and sustaining a committed relationship, making it difficult for them to know where to start.

The following lessons were derived from my own experience and conversations with over 300 women I interviewed for my book Daughters of Divorce.

12 Lessons Daughters Learn from Divorce:

1. Revisiting the past as an adult can help you heal. In order to overcome the legacy of your parents’ breakup, it’s essential for you to get a more balanced, realistic view of your parents’ divorce. Many women in my study discovered that a lot of their assumptions about the cause of their parents’ split were false after they examined it from an adult perspective.

As a result of gaining accurate information, many were better able to move forward with their lives (and in some cases forgive one or both of their parents).

2. Reevaluate your view of relationships and adjust your expectations. The reality is that with time people grow and change. This doesn’t mean love has failed. Simply because love doesn’t last forever doesn’t mean there was something wrong with it. If you are hard on yourself or your parents, you may need to adjust your standards.

3. Learning to love yourself is an inner journey that involves examining your past from a fresh perspective. Take the time to investigate any carry-over from past relationships that might impact current ones. As a daughter of divorce, you can be your own saboteur. Write a positive intention to accomplish each day; boost your confidence by setting a goal and achieving it.

4. Self-compassion is a life-long journey. You may believe that you’re being selfish when you take care of yourself, or you may be left feeling you don’t deserve to be loved or have to earn someone’s love. But these feelings are based on low self-esteem and not based in reality. Change negative self-talk into positive statements such as “I am getting stronger every day.” You deserve to be loved and cared for.

5. Establishing a healthy level of trust in a relationship is possible but takes time. When your first reaction is to act out of a place of mistrust, this shows a lack of confidence in yourself and your partner. Trust is a skill that’s built over time by observing consistency between your partner’s words and actions.

Learn to trust your intuition and instincts and extend trust to someone who demonstrates trustworthiness. Consider how much your mistrust is a remnant of the past or as a result of your partner’s present behavior. Listen to his or her side of the story before making accusations or issuing an ultimatum.

6. Practice being vulnerable in small steps. Being vulnerable and expressing your thoughts and feelings to your partner will allow you to build trust and feel more connected to them. Does your fear of intimacy translate into testing a relationship by picking a partner who is wrong for you or picking fights to get your partner to prove their love? Setting a goal of being more vulnerable and accepting of nurturing and support from your partner is crucial to enjoying a happy long-lasting relationship.

7. Emotional dependency isn’t love. If your relationship causes you to feel anxious or to question your sense of self, it may not be the best relationship for you. Ask yourself this question if you’re in a relationship: Is there something about the way my partner treats me that makes me a better person? If the answer is no, you may be settling for less than you deserve due to a fear of abandonment or of being alone. These are the two most common reasons women stay in relationships that aren’t meeting their needs.

8. It’s OK not to rush into a commitment. In fact, getting to know a partner over time is wise and can help you to gain confidence in your judgment. It’s important for you to feel relatively safe and secure before you make a commitment.

9. You expect a lot from your partner but you’re also a giver. Sometimes giving too much can cause you emotional pain but being a giver is something you take pride in. However, it’s key not to morph into someone else when you’re in a relationship with a taker who looks to you as their source of happiness and fun (and may have trouble being alone). If you’re a giver, be careful not to allow a taker to zap you of your time and energy.

10. Counseling, reading, and blogging are helpful supports and can help you cope. As you experiment with new ways of relating to others, giving and receiving feedback is essential to your personal growth.

11. Relationships are your teachers. As a child of divorce, you know the sting of loss and are fine-tuned to the signs of rejection and abandonment. However, whether they last three months or three decades, relationships can provide their participants with the love, understanding, and intimacy they need at the time. Often, the courage to end a relationship that is no longer meeting both partners’ needs shows the greatest strength.

12. Both chemistry and compatibility are essential aspects of a successful long-term relationship and it’s possible to have both. Keep in mind that you can determine what kind of relationship works for you. Love is a leap of faith and there are no guarantees. This is true for all people, whether or not they are a child of divorce.

As a daughter of divorce, intimate relationships and marriage may present many challenges to you, but you must also realize that you are also armed with your own strength to face and embrace them. Truth be told, all relationships end: through breakup, death, or divorce. Why waste time being preoccupied with the fear of your relationship ending?

The concept of a wedding, or even a successful marriage, may seem alien to you but commitment and possibly marriage can be a source of stability in an uncertain world and bring you happiness.

According to researcher Nicholas H. Wolfinger, marriage is still the preferred state for most people. In Understanding The Divorce Cycle, he writes: “Doubtless, many people who remain single throughout their lives are happy to do so, but marriage remains the normative experience for most of us: about 90% of Americans will wed at some point in their lives.”

In closing, the best relationships are ones born out of trust and vulnerability. In positive relationships, each partner approaches one another as an equal. The relationship doesn’t drain its participants; instead, it nourishes. A successful romantic relationship is where you feel at your best.

It is possible to be vulnerable with others without losing parts of yourself. By doing this, you’ll be able to restore your faith in love, trust, and intimacy.

Follow Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com where you can purchase her book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship. Her new book “The Remarriage Manual” will be published in the spring of 2020 by Sounds True Publishers.

The post 12 Lessons Daughters Learn from Their Parents’ Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.



Read More –>

divorce doesn

Divorce Does Not Need To Be Devastating, There Is a Better Way

divorce doesn't have to be devastating

 

I envision a world where peace and love are part of every encounter. And I get it, that seems like a pipe dream at this point. If you look at the state of our country and the world, some would say we’re moving backward. But what I’ve learned over the past two years is that peace and love are possible in any situation, even if it seems impossible or if it’s never been done before.

When I realized in the summer of 2017 that my marriage of almost ten years was likely going to end in divorce, I was prepared to go through the worst experience imaginable. Not because we had extensive problems or because I thought we couldn’t work through it; I knew it would eventually be ok, but I thought it would take years to move through the muck and sadness to get to the happy ending. I truly didn’t know it was possible to maintain peace, love, and well-being throughout the whole process, because I was so attached to the stigma of divorce.

Our society views divorce as a failure, something wrong, something horrible, a disaster.

It took a long time for me to realize that it doesn’t have to mean any of those things. Thankfully, I had an amazing spiritual mentor to open me up to new possibilities and an amazing partner who was also willing to walk the peaceful and loving path.

Over the course of 6 months, my husband and I were able to process the grief and sadness that divorce brings and move through the process of dividing our life to build a new future for our family as friends and co-parents, all done with peace, love, and faith.

There were obviously many sad moments and lots of emotions to process, but I was astonished at how easeful the process was and how non-disastrous it was.

Divorce Does Not Need to be Devastating:

Our divorce was not a tragedy.  

It was not the worst time of our lives.  It was not something that I wish I could forget. In fact, looking back at what we were able to do, I wanted to shout from the rooftops what was possible. I wanted people to realize what I now know, that peace and love really are possible in any situation. It’s how you show up that matters.

When we started sharing the news of our divorce, many people actually didn’t believe the “real story”. They were convinced that it must have been horrible and were viewing it as most people do, a tragic event. This made me realize how much unnecessary pain surrounds divorce and I felt called to share our story and what is possible. I also realized that there is so much involved in divorce, from emotional to logistical to financial issues, no wonder it’s often so difficult and so painful.

The amount of work that goes into this process is staggering. From simple things like who will take the couch, to complex issues like splitting retirement savings, creating a co-parenting plan and figuring out where everyone will live, the choices and questions seem almost endless. When you add in the emotional aspect, it becomes almost overwhelming. I realized in early 2018, that not only do I feel called to share with people what is possible, but I am also uniquely positioned to help others navigate all these issues.

With more than a decade of experience in the financial industry, I have helped people with everything from retirement planning to everyday budgeting, in addition to splitting assets. I also have the unusual combination of being able to help people with the emotional and spiritual side, as when I was pregnant with my daughter in 2015 I began to focus more on my spiritual journey and have spent the past several years studying meditation, spirit, unity consciousness and love activism. I received my designation as a Spiritual Teacher in late 2015 and have led a Spirit-led life focusing on peace, love, and oneness since that time.

I have also spent the past several years as a foster parent to many children, working through the complexities of scheduling visits, differing parenting styles, creating dual homes and the logistics of co-parenting.

All of these things have prepared me for my calling, to bring peace, love, and light into the process of divorce and to help women create a new life after divorce.

To further my financial knowledge, I received my designation as a CDFA® (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®), which allows me to help people work through the complexities of the financial aspects of divorce like dividing assets, tax implications and transitioning into a new financial situation.

I now couple this with logistical and emotional support to provide holistic guidance through this often-difficult process. As a Divorce Consultant, I help individuals, couples and families find a peaceful path to their new life and help women thrive after divorce.

Divorce does not need to be devastating. There is a better way. Hope starts here.

The post Divorce Does Not Need To Be Devastating, There Is a Better Way appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

child custody & vacation

Child Custody & Vacation: How Can Travel Plans Affect Your Custody Agreement?

child custody & vacation

 

Traveling as a family isn’t very complicated. As a duo, you were able to decide on the best location, dates, budget, meals, and packing strategy. In a divorce, traveling with children is a whole new ballgame. Suddenly your plans require extra steps and the law can get involved.

Traveling plans affect custody agreements in a variety of ways. Depending on traveling plans, custody agreements are subject to modification. If you have concerns about your custody agreement and are in search of a divorce lawyer, please refer to your local directory and get the answers you need regarding child custody.

Local lawyers will fight for you and your child’s best interest and will provide you with unique and individualized attention. While there are little-to-no ways of avoiding traveling issues between you and your ex, there are steps that can be taken to ease the process.

Please consider the following step by step maneuvers when dealing with child custody and vacation:

Have a Written Agreement

Needless to say, upon divorce there must be a written document in place that addresses child custody arrangements. There are no defined rules for custody and you and your partner are allowed to modify pre-established agreements. Within this agreement, should be a section designated to special occasion custody circumstances. When undergoing a divorce, it is critical to have in writing, under what circumstances one parent is allowed to travel with the child.

Can the child and parent leave the country? Will they be unsupervised? Is the other parent allowed contact with the child during the vacation? All these concerns and more must be addressed in writing to avoid disputes and serious legal complications.

What is a Controlling Document?

Specific conditions related to travel should be included in a controlling document. There are basic provisions that should be clarified within the document, such as whether the parent must be notified if the parent is taking the child out-of-state.

More specific issues should be clarified as well. If one parent has pre-decided custody for a certain holiday, but the other parent wishes to take the child on vacation during the same holiday, the protocol for those circumstances must be made clear.

Who is allowed to travel with the child and parent and who is not? This should also be included in the document. Who will provide proper travel gear for the children and who will store this equipment? Is the child allowed to miss school days for vacation time? All of which must be addressed in advance. An important issue that must be decided upon divorce is which parent will store travel papers and official documents and how soon must they provide the other parent with that information.

Travel Rules

If your ex successfully takes the children on vacation and then begins violating your previous agreements, you are allowed to sue them for breach of contract. If your ex does not allow you to speak to the children on vacation, you can file a motion with the court and have your former spouse held in contempt of a court order. This notifies your ex that if they continue to breach the agreement, you will take legal action – just because they are not physically reachable, they will face consequences.

Don’t Wait, Contact A Divorce Lawyer Who Can Provide Assistance

There is no way to completely prepare for every possible scenario that may occur upon traveling. The more issues you and your ex are able to address and reach consensus on prior, the better. If you are in search of a qualified divorce lawyer and want legal guidance on custody issues, contact a legal team to schedule a meeting with a passionate professional today and ease your custody concerns.

The post Child Custody & Vacation: How Can Travel Plans Affect Your Custody Agreement? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

planning your dream divorce

Planning Your Dream Divorce

planning your dream divorce

 

Brides will spend months, even years, planning their “dream wedding”. Vacationers will spend months planning their “dream vacation”. Yet a couple rarely gives much thought to planning their “dream divorce”. While a divorce is far from dreamy, planning your divorce is smart.

Planning can save you thousands of dollars, cut significant time off the divorce process, and help you build confidence around your decision.

Planning your dream divorce is an effective strategy for gaining your freedom.

What is Divorce Planning?

Divorce Planning (a/k/a Pre-Divorce Planning) is a process in which you build a roadmap of how you plan to exit the marriage. Planning for a divorce involves clarifying your goals, educating yourself about your rights, gathering information, exploring your options, and working with your legal and divorce team to customize a strategy that is best for you.

Divorce planning can address questions like:

  • Where will I live during the divorce?
  • How will I pay for things during the divorce?
  • How will I serve my spouse?
  • How much time will I get with the kids?
  • How can we minimize the conflict?
  • How do I time everything?
  • How will I tell my children, family, and friends about the divorce?
  • What is the plan to settle this?

Myths about Divorce

Divorce Planning can also help you overcome common myths and misconceptions that may be holding you back.

Myth #1 – If I see an attorney, that means I have to file for a divorce right away.

By seeing an attorney, you do not have to file for a divorce right away. In fact, seeing an attorney about divorce does not mean you have to file for divorce at all. You can begin planning your marriage exit strategy first and then file for divorce when you’re ready. By pulling in an experienced family law attorney to brainstorm your options, you are building the foundation of a team that will support you and guides you into the next chapter of your life.

Myth #2 – Divorce planning will make my divorce cost more.

Divorce planning is strategic and smart, and it can save you thousands of dollars. Think about a trip to the grocery store. If you go in with a list and coupons, your experience is efficient, and you save money by staying focused on getting the things you want and need. If you go in without planning and just a loose idea of things you might need, you end up wasting a lot of time and money on things you may not need, get distracted with “shiny objects”, and likely forget something along the way. Similarly, divorce planning can help you stay focused on what you need and avoid getting distracted by the things that will cost you in the long run.

Myth #3 – If I plan my divorce, it means I’m a bad person.

Divorce guilt is not truth. It takes courage to make the decision to leave a marriage that has been dead for years. Your children do not have to watch the two of you continue to suffer or learn that what they see is what they should aspire to. By leaving a bad marriage, you are not only freeing yourself, but you are also freeing your husband and your children. By planning your divorce, you are being proactive in protecting yourself and your children’s futures. That first brave step is the ultimate expression of love.

Six Steps to Take Action on Right Now

Divorce Planning can empower you to take control of your life. If you’re thinking about divorce and want to start planning, below are six steps you can take right now.

1. Don’t agree to anything yet!

The divorce process takes time. Your husband may threaten to take things away if you don’t agree. Or you may want to make an offer now and “strike while the iron is hot”. But resist the temptation. Talk to an attorney right away to find out your rights and options. Do not rush into an agreement that you will regret later.

2. Obtain a copy of your credit report.

If you don’t already have a credit monitoring service that provides one, you can download a copy of your credit report for free. You don’t need the score, just the report. Review the report to make sure there aren’t any surprises and to discuss how to handle debts in your name.

3. Set aside a “Rainy Day” fund.

Protect your money! You may need to open a new bank account or credit card before you file for divorce. You may need to move some money around (legally!) to protect you and your children from being financially strangled. Setting aside money to cover anticipated living expenses, medical expenses, and attorney’s fees is smart and limits the financial control your husband may try to use against you. If you’re not sure where to begin, speak with an attorney.

4. Consider a safety plan.

In situations where domestic or family violence is involved, plan smart and stay safe. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (www.thehotline.org/) has a safety plan you can download for free. Be sure to share it with someone you trust and get the support you need.

5. Reassure your children that they are loved and safe.

Your children will take their cues from you. Tell them that it is not their fault, even if they tell you they know that. They may put on a brave face, but if you’re feeling afraid, lonely, and devastated, chances are they are too. And if your husband tells the kids about the divorce without you, don’t freak out. It’s a jerk move, but it happens. Avoid pulling the children in the middle of things or blaming the other person. It may be hard to do, but it pays off in the long run.

6. Do not sign anything without an attorney looking at it!!

If you are presented with anything, do not sign it!! An unassuming Waiver of Citation can end up waiving your rights to your children, property, and right to a trial. An Informal Settlement Agreement that is poorly drafted or omits certain rights can bind you to an unfair agreement and have a ripple effect on the rest of your life. And if you’ve drafted something you want your spouse to sign, beware of potential errors in legal drafting. You may think to be agreeable or taking short cuts will make things easier, but you could be giving up valuable rights, making things more complex and expensive later on.

Not every divorce lawyer implements divorce planning in their practice. In fact, most don’t. But if you are apprehensive about divorce and looking for guidance, look for experienced family law attorneys who are open to discussing your options and empowering you with information. With the right guidance, you can feel more confident about realizing your dreams of freedom.

The post Planning Your Dream Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

a message of hope on mother

Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms

a message of hope on mother's day

Courtesy of Brooke Kelly Photography

We have all the odds against us, but we are going to beat those odds.

 

“Four years ago, my life fell apart. I was married with a 3-year-old little girl, and we lived in an adorable gated neighborhood in the suburbs, just 4 miles inland from Jacksonville Beach, Florida. I could cross highway A1A at work and eat lunch on the beach. My Jeep always had sand and seashells in it.

I felt so fortunate to have this opportunity in life after working my way through nursing school, and eventually finishing grad school with a newborn. I finally had my dream job as a pediatric nurse practitioner. My career took me to Nashville, Kansas City, and that’s where we ended up on the beach. Sounds like an amazing adventure, right? Well, little did I know, my husband was living a double life and my world was going to come crashing down on me very soon.

I was on my way home from work on a Monday afternoon, just 2 days after my daughter’s luau birthday party, and I found out we had been evicted. All of our belongings were thrown out like trash, even her new birthday presents. I wasn’t allowed back in our home, and I was told the locks had been changed.

I felt sick and like I had no control, like I had been stabbed over and over and I was moving too slow to stop the bleeding. After questioning my husband and our landlord, I discovered that we were 3 months behind on rent and other bills, despite the fact that I was shelling out money to him for our living expenses. He couldn’t answer where the money was going, but all of a sudden, things made sense. His erratic sleep habits, weight loss, running errands all the time. He always had somewhere to go and never wanted us to tag along.

I did some digging and found empty pill bottles and many empty beer cans in his car. The car that drove my child to daycare. The car that always parked in the guest parking spaces in our neighborhood instead of the driveway. I also found several years worth of MY mail in his trunk. He had been keeping random letters from collection agencies, bills, and birthday cards from me for YEARS. Why did he keep all these secrets from me?

Confused, hurt, and angry were my only emotions for the next few days.

I was running on fumes and couldn’t eat or sleep. I felt so stupid for not seeing the signs. I had been so busy with raising a child and building my practice at work. I was married to a drug addict who abandoned us in a Target parking lot 4 miles from the beach.

He had been lying to me for YEARS, and my credit was unfortunately ruined because of it. I had no idea how easy it was to open credit cards and take out personal loans in your spouse’s name. I thought I had stayed on top of my bills but had no idea he was secretly hiding things from me over the course of our 7-year marriage.

I later found out that he had another daughter! He lied about being in the Marine Corps, he lied about his education and his job. I had been living nothing but lies for almost a decade of my life! I thought to myself, ‘How could life be so cruel? How could I be so dumb?’

That first night living in a hotel, I made a Walmart run at 8 p.m. to get clothes and toiletries for us to survive the next few days while I planned my next move. I washed clothes in a hotel sink. My daughter and I tried to make the best of our ‘vacation’ as I called it, while I cried over the things we had lost, wondering how in the world I would sort through this mess. My sweet baby girl lost everything, and we had no support there.

Our closest family was in Tennessee, about 10 hours away, and my soon-to-be-ex-husband left us alone to fend for ourselves without showing any remorse. At night, I would just think of all the things we had lost. I cried silently at night, in the shower or while I was driving. I missed my belongings, and I missed the part of my heart that was stolen. I could never get those things back.

I cried for my daughter because she didn’t deserve this as part of her story. I worked so hard to get where I was, career-wise, and everything was just ripped away. Why couldn’t I just go back and change things sooner? He was a con artist, and I got duped.

I tried to smile through the pain and be strong for my daughter.

I tucked my tail, hung my head, and began my journey home. At 32 years old, I moved back into my old bedroom with a 3-year-old. I was so ashamed of myself. I left the beach and moved back to crummy ole Tennessee. To make things worse, it was SNOWING when we moved back. It was March and snowing in Tennessee. How could this situation get ANY worse?!

My daughter, on the other hand, was thrilled to make snow angels and ride in a makeshift sled with grandma and grandpa. My parents were ecstatic to let us come home. My daughter had her own playroom and slept with mama every night. (Fortunately, my parents keep EVERYTHING. Her playroom was like taking a peek back into my childhood. We’re talking original Cabbage Patch dolls, a Little Tykes kitchen from 1985, y’all. It was glorious!)

Since I had to work diligently on getting my nursing licenses in order, I wasn’t able to apply for any nursing jobs for the next few weeks. My plan was to take an assignment as a travel nurse to save up some money and pay off these old bills that I recently discovered. In the meantime, my daughter and I were going to the gym and the park almost daily.

My heart was bruised, and I needed to slowly put my life back together. I needed to show my daughter that this was our new normal and that living with grandma and grandpa would be a fun adventure. I was trying to convince myself of this too.

A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms

I desperately needed to find some friends, but I had no idea where to even start.

I finally texted an old guy friend from high school (actually, I think I went down my Facebook list and sent messages to everyone in town. I was THAT desperate for adult interaction). I jokingly asked if he knew any hot single dads. This wasn’t even relevant in our conversation, just a random thought that popped in my head. To my surprise, he said yes and immediately gave me a name.

Good heavens, was I ready for this? I was SO newly divorced, but hey, I needed friends and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to get out of my parents’ house to meet people. My Facebook detective brain got to work. This single dad had a daughter, who appeared to be the same age as mine. After showing my mom his Facebook picture with his daughter, she screamed, ‘I KNOW THAT LITTLE GIRL!’

Come to find out, his ex-wife’s sister does my mom’s hair, and my mom had seen pictures of this little blonde girl. We live in a big city, so this is a rare occurrence. My mom wanted some juicy gossip, so she pushed me to meet him. (If she thought meeting a stranger was OK, then surely it was fine, right?!) I sent this random guy a Facebook message, and he answered back. I gave him my number and HE. CALLED. ME. So, awkwardly, I answered the phone.

He said he wanted to talk. Like, with his voice. What in the 1990s was going on?! We talked all night just like teenagers. I think it was 2 am when we finally hung up. Maybe it was sleep deprivation, but I felt like one tiny piece of my heart was placed back.

Two days later, we met for lunch. I was a little rusty on appropriate first date clothing, and I was raiding my mom’s closet for most of my attire since I was just starting to rebuild my life and wardrobe. I happened to have a job interview that day, so I wore some comfortable black flats and a pair of my mom’s black dress slacks. Yup, slacks. With pleats down the front. I also wore this shirt I lovingly call ‘the curtain shirt’. This was my 1st first date since I met my ex-husband, 10 years earlier.

He was on his lunch break, so he showed up wearing police gear and a gun on his hip. I was intimidated at first because he is a big dude with a beard and a lot of tattoos, and again, this was my first date in a decade. I am a nurse practitioner and I had never had any type of personal interaction with a police officer in my whole entire life. Now I was on a date with one!

He insisted we take a selfie that day to send to Brian, the guy that introduced us.

We went to the Bayou and sat on the patio. I don’t remember one thing we said during the entire date because I was nervous and trying not to make a mess. I ordered a shrimp po’boy (I couldn’t have ordered something messier, right?) and I don’t even remember if I ate half of it.

I just remember looking at him and getting butterflies. He had the prettiest hazel eyes and I had never dated anyone with a beard, so I’m sure I stared at it. When we were done eating, he walked me to my Jeep and gave me a hug.

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

After lunch, I was on cloud nine. I had the biggest grin all day, and I was smitten. I could not stop thinking about him! Was I ready for this? I thought, ‘There was no way he could be interested.’ After all, I was just damaged goods. With my awful credit and all the baggage I had, surely this guy would just move on and there was no reason to get my hopes up. I just couldn’t stop thinking about him, but I definitely wasn’t ready to jump into a relationship.

To my surprise, he called me that night. (What is up with this guy? Why can’t he just text?) We had our second date on Friday night, and our first kiss. I knew at that time this was something special. However, I wasn’t quite ready to trust him, and I certainly didn’t want my tender heart to be yanked out of my chest again.

I saw him again on Sunday, which happened to be Easter. We decided to let our girls meet each other that afternoon. My daughter needed some friends too, and they became instant best friends. We looked at them playing, and then looked at each other. Huh, these girls could be twins. I could feel my heart slowly starting to grow back together.

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

On Mother’s Day, he told me he loved me.

I knew I was falling hard and fast. When you know, you know. But, I wasn’t quite ready to let my guard down. He gave me a key to his house and told me to ‘snoop away’ while he was at work. And…I did just that. I went through every piece of paper in that house, and I couldn’t find anything. He always left his phone unlocked, his email pulled up on his laptop, he was an open book. He did not have a thing to hide.

He showed me his credit score, his bank account, and his up-to-date mortgage payments. He was a genuine, honest, open, loving person. I was damaged goods with a credit score of 300 and a deadbeat ex-husband. But, for some reason, this guy loved me and adored my daughter. I was slowly letting him into my heart and he was helping me rebuild, piece by piece. I certainly didn’t need to be saved by anyone, but he swooped in and saved me.

We discussed moving in together, but I just wasn’t sure. Things were still new to me, and I just had to protect myself and my child. I couldn’t move her again if things weren’t going to work out with us. And plus, staying in Tennessee wasn’t part of our plan. This was supposed to be just a pause in our story. Or so I thought.

He asked me to be his forever wife.

We were sitting on the couch one morning in June before he went to work, and he pulled out the biggest sapphire ring I had ever seen. He asked me to be his forever wife, while my daughter watched E.T. and clapped for us. At that moment, I knew my intent to move out of Tennessee just wasn’t part of the plan right now. Something brought me back home and love was going to keep me there.

My daughter and I moved into his 3-bedroom, 2-bath bachelor pad, which he insisted that we call OUR house. He had almost no furniture and nothing on the walls, so he told me to ‘go nuts’ with it. I had so much fun starting over from scratch. Losing all of my belongings had been so terribly painful, and I got a lump in my throat when I thought about my things just being tossed out like trash.

I shed millions of tears over the things I would never get back. However, it ended up being a blessing in disguise. I had a blank slate so that we could start OUR home. Funny how life works out sometimes.

We talked about getting married just to make things official, and I started researching courthouse weddings. I knew we needed a photographer to capture our special day, so I emailed a husband/wife team to check their availability. Well, they had 1 available date for a wedding. August 15. Wow. This was less than 2 months away and my heart skipped a beat knowing this was actually happening. I called Steven and asked him what he was doing on Saturday, August 15. He said, ‘Marrying you.’ That was all I needed to hear in order to make this happen.

We decided to elope on August 15, 2015, which was about 4 months after our first date.

I could not believe how my life had changed in those few months. I survived a failed marriage to a con-artist, moved back in with my parents as a single mom, and was now planning my wedding.

The plan was to keep our marriage a secret until our Halloween Party, and then surprise everyone by dressing as a bride and groom and showing off our wedding pictures. However, Steven refused to take off his wedding band and we just couldn’t keep it a secret longer than 2 weeks.

We got ready for our special day in a hotel room at the Peabody and walked to Court Square Park where a family friend performed the ceremony. Our little blonde girls were the flower girls and the bridesmaids. My new husband and I danced to our song playing on his phone in his shirt pocket. ‘Fall Into You’ by Brantley Gilbert. Yes, it’s cliché that we live in Tennessee and danced to a country song, but have you heard it?!

Courtesy The Kennys Photography

The girls went home with my new mother-in-law for a slumber party so we could spend our first night as a married couple, kid-free. We had an amazing dinner, laughed over drinks in the Peabody lobby, and I could not wipe the smile off my face. This was not a dream, but my real life. The entire day was perfect.

We eventually bought a bigger house with a pool, and then right after my 35th birthday in 2017, we found out that we would be adding an ‘ours’ to the mix. We had our 3rd daughter, Junebug, and completed our family. We had our little blonde bookends, and this brown-eyed baby girl is the perfect caboose.

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

Some people will tell you that our marriage is doomed. We both have extremely stressful jobs (his more than mine). We are both divorced and got married 4 months after our first date. We both have ex-spouse drama and are currently involved in a custody battle (I am winning). We have all the odds against us, but we are going to beat those odds.

People are always curious to hear our story, so we just look at each other and smile. Usually, our story goes, ‘We met on a blind date and got married 4 months later.’ In the end, love wins.”

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

The post Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

mother

3 Mother’s Day Tips For The Freshly Divorced

mother's day tips for the freshly divorced

 

Spring is a time for growth, re-birth, renewal and the blossoming of new beauty. I would like to personally offer my best wishes for a happy, love-filled Mother’s Day to all the moms who are embarking upon their new journey as a single mother.

Is this a scary and overwhelming time?

Absolutely but not today; today we focus on the beauty. The beauty of possibility, change, motherhood and most importantly, the beauty of you!

The first Mother’s Day following your divorce or separation is likely met with some mixed emotions; most of them probably not all that positive. Mine certainly were. I found myself missing our old traditions, and I had taken for granted that my husband had historically planned the day for me.

Now, like everything else in my life, I had to take matters into my own hands and figure it out.  From my personal experience and some trial and error, I offer you, moms, the following tips to help make your Mother’s Day special.

Mother’s Day Tips for the Freshly Divorced

1. Buy yourself a gift!

You deserve it! How liberating that this year, you don’t have to drop not-so-subtle hints for weeks in preparation, to only wonder whether you were not-so-subtle enough. Now, you get to buy exactly what you want and you know that the gift is coming from someone who truly appreciates all that you are. Have it gift wrapped if you’re the kind of girl who loves ripping off the paper. In fact, even if you’re not, get it wrapped anyways. You would be surprised how good it feels to rip that paper!!

2. Ask your kids how they would like to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Even if your kids are young, this is a great way to get them involved in the planning and it can really help to make both you and your kids feel special. You may have other family obligations on this day, but really do carve out a little time for just you and your kids to do something all your own, that you plan together. It could be as simple as taking a walk or participating in an activity that you love to do together. This is YOUR special time and it’s meant to be cherished and enjoyed.

3. Throw out Expectations of your ex!

Go into this day with zero expectations. While perhaps easier said than done, toss out any nostalgia about how it used to be. Whether your ex acknowledges your special day or not, don’t hold on to any hope or thought that he will or should. This can lead to disappointment and hurt, which quite frankly, you have no room for on YOUR day. You don’t need anyone acknowledging all that you do (though admittedly it’s a very nice feeling). All we have to do is look at our children to be reassured that we’re doing a great job.

Some days we may come up short of doing our best, but we always try, and that’s what you should celebrate this Mother’s Day. Focus on your wins, no matter how small they may feel in the moment,  a win is a win!

So as you embark upon this fresh new road ahead and start to build your tracks, trail blaze into this Sunday with no road map, no history, and no expectations. See where the day takes you. Out of challenge comes strength and this Spring, embrace the blossoming new beauty that is you. Happy Mother’s Day!

The post 3 Mother’s Day Tips For The Freshly Divorced appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

children are caught in the middle during divorce

What Happens When Children Are Caught in the Middle During Divorce?

children are caught in the middle during divorce

 

If you’ve been through a divorce or, you are thinking about divorce one of your main concerns will be how your divorce will impact your children. Study after study relates to the ways in which divorce negatively impacts children. It’s no wonder parents worry about their children’s welfare based on common information about the subject of children and divorce.

Divorce can negatively impact children but there are ways to keep that from happening. You should know that the impact your divorce will have on your children dependents mainly on how you and your spouse choose to treat each other during and after divorce and, how you choose to parent.

Children who witness conflict between their parents during and after divorce or, feel as if they have been put in the middle of that conflict are negatively impacted by divorce. If you want your divorce to do little harm to your children, it’s your job to keep down the conflict and keep them out of the middle of problems between you and your ex.

You may feel that conflict during divorce is unavoidable or the fault of the other parent, regardless of what you feel, it is imperative that you take the steps needed to keep your children from witnessing conflict and feeling stuck in the middle of two angry parents.

Below are 4 ways children are caught in the middle during divorce:

  1. When parents use their children as a messenger or a means of finding out information about the other parent’s home, dating life, and social activities.
  2. Negative comments about the other parent made by you, friends or family members.
  3. Sharing adult details about the problems between the parents. Details such as information about infidelity, legal divorce proceedings or the reason for the divorce.
  4. Garnering the child’s favor in an attempt to use the child to punish the other parent.
  5. Talking to the child about money issues. A late child support check, a lack of money needed to pay the rent…adult financial problems that children have no control over.

Divorce brings an end to your marriage, it doesn’t bring an end to your duties as a parent. One of those duties is to put a concerted effort into positively co-parenting with your child’s other parent. Below are a few suggestions that will help.

Choosing the parenting style that fits well for you and your ex will keep your child out of the middle:

Parallel Parenting After Divorce

If there is a lot of conflict between you and your ex, parallel parenting is appropriate. Why? Parallel parenting allows each parent to remain a part of the child’s life while reducing the need for contact with each other. When parallel parenting, there is very little communication which, in turn, keeps down the conflict and protects the child from being impacted in a negative manner.

When parallel parenting, parents:

  1. Communicate through email, a third party or an app like Family Wizard to stay informed about issues involving the children. Discussions are strictly about the children and no personal issues between the parents. Use of a phone to communicate is only done in cases of an emergency.
  2. Schedules such as visitation, vacations and holidays are strictly kept. There is no negotiating for different days and times to keep down the likelihood of conflicts arising.
  3. There is a set residency agreed upon or ordered by the courts. When the children are in the care of one or the other parent in their residence neither parent interferes with social activities, routines or anything that takes place in the other parent’s residence.
  4. Neither parent has any influence over the other parent and how that parent chooses to spend time with their children. If one parent has an issue with the way the other parent is choosing to parent in their residence, the court is used to settle the issue.
  5. Parenting is treated as a business arrangement. Common courtesy is shown at all times and agreements are honored because the sole purpose of parallel parenting is to do what is best for your children.
  6. When communication or negotiation is necessary, parents can choose to have a third party involved to witness and if needed mediate and conflict that arises.
  7. Child support payments are filtered through the court or a child support collection bureau to keep down any possibility of late payment or conflicts of over payments.

Cooperative Parenting After Divorce

Cooperative parenting works best when there is low conflict between parents and the parents are able to work together for the sake of the children. With cooperative parenting, there is more flexibility when it comes to visitation schedules and residency issues.

When cooperative parenting, parents:

  1. Parents form a friendly business relationship that revolves around the needs of their children. A courteous and polite relationship is one that will go a long way toward making sure children have what they need from each parent.
  2. Parents are able to talk, face-to-face about parenting issues as they arise. They are able to stick to the topic at hand without becoming distracted by old relationship issues.
  3. They don’t expect praise or emotional support from each other. They realize that part of their relationship has ended. But, they are able to show empathy and to support each other during difficult parenting issues.
  4. Keep all discussions about parenting, visitation, schedules and such to themselves and don’t involve the children. They come to a firm decision, as parents, before involving the children in their decisions.
  5. Are able to, at all times, put their children’s needs above their needs and feelings. Their relationship with the other parent is strictly about what is best for their children.
  6. Are able to communicate via phone or in person without engaging in conflict.
  7. Child support checks are mailed directly to the parent receiving the support. Due to their business like relationship, they both understand the importance of meeting their financial obligations to their children.

Whether parallel parenting or cooperative parenting, it is important to remember that one method is not better than the other. Each method will result in lower conflict and, as a result, better parenting. And, that is your goal as parents, better parenting and keeping your child out of the middle of your divorce issues.

The post What Happens When Children Are Caught in the Middle During Divorce? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

mothers day gift guide

Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide

mothers day gift guide

 

Single Mom Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2018

No one is more deserving of a great gift this Mother’s Day than all the hardworking single moms out there. They are especially deserving of being remembered on their special day. So, if you know a single mom you love and care about, make sure she knows she is cared about and respected for the hard work she does daily.

Not sure what to get a single mama in your life? We’ve got you covered. From inspirational posters she can frame to pretty trinkets that show your appreciation, you’re sure to find something on our list for the superhero single mom you know.

1. Badass Single Mom Coffee Mug 

This mug is an homage to all the strong, do it all, badass single moms out there!

Get the badass coffee mug here.

2. A Selfie Stick

Why are Moms never in the picture? Because they’re the ones behind the camera taking the pictures. Give a Mom a selfie stick and the chance to show up in images with her kids.

Get that selfie stick here.

3. A Gift Card For Stitch Fix

Let’s face it: Personal style gets the short shrift when you have a busy single mom’s schedule. Remedy that with a gift card for Stitch Fix. Based on the style profile she creates, she’ll receive five hand-picked clothing items selected by the site’s team of professional stylists. She’ll get to keep what she likes and send back the rest.

Get the Stitch Fix card here.

4. Amazon Gift Card

Nothing says I love you like a gift card from Amazon.  Most single parents rely on Amazon so they can make their lives easier. Really, I don’t know one single mom that doesn’t use Amazon, and if they don’t, you will introduce to them the best invention yet.

Get her Amazon card here.

5. Single Mom Baby Bird Necklace

This necklace represents the single mom and her kids on a family tree branch.

Get the Single Mom necklace here.

6. You Can’t Scare Me Poster

You can’t scare me, I’m a single mom – a funny DIY card or poster in chalkboard-style

Get the poster here.

7. Shutterfly Photo Coasters

These adorable photo coasters are perfect for any mom to use around the house or on the go. Personalize with photos of kids, pets and more for a unique, individualized gift.

Get them here.

8. Maid for a Day

Life is stressful and so is keeping a clean home. A maid for a day could mean a few weeks less stress over a messy house for a single mom.

Get maid service here.

9. Socks, Socks and More Socks!

Like any good pick-me-up, funky socks will make her smile every time she puts them on.

Get her socks here?

The post Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

survive financially as a single mom

3 Ways Single Moms Can Survive Financially

survive financially as a single mom

In the end, there are really only two things to focus on if you want to survive financially as a single mom: decreasing expenses and increasing income. The more you do both of those things, the better off you’ll be.

 

Whether you’ve always managed the household checkbook or this is your first time, the financial struggles of being a single mom can feel overwhelming. Stop, breath, and start with these simple steps to getting your finances under control.

3 Tips For Surviving Financially As a Single Mom

1. Stop incurring new debt.  If you’re in the red hole, the first step is to simply stop digging deeper. It’s just not possible to get out of debt if you keep creating more. It might be easier for a while to just stop using credit cards in order to not incur any new debt. Every day that you don’t add to your debt is another day closer to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. If you find that you can’t get to the end of the month without incurring debt, Step 2 below will help.

2. Budget every dollar. I know, it’s a dirty word to many, but I turned my financial life around when I got serious about budgeting. One of the reasons we find ourselves out of control financially is because we don’t have clarity on what goes in and what goes out. Even if you think you know, you never really do until you track your income and expenses and account for every dollar. Mint is a free app that can help, but I find YNAB to be worth every penny (plus, you get a free month trial to then budget how to pay for the app).

If apps don’t appeal, there’s always pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or even a Word doc to get you started. You can round up to the nearest dollar, but you may be surprised on just where those dollars have been going! It will help you figure out where you really can cut back, and where you can’t. YNAB uses the zero-based budgeting method (this method can be used with or without the program) and the concept is, you can only budget the dollars you have. If you’ve been budgeting by assuming your income and expenses, it will take some adjustment to get used to this new method, but it will be well worth it to get you on a more solid financial footing.

3. Beware the Single Mom Guilt.  I have been there. I have felt so guilty about my marital status that I’ve spent more than I could afford, trying to overcompensate. But after using my tax refund to pay off credit card debt, and then building up debt, and then paying it off, and then doing it again, I finally had enough. And I realized that throwing money at the problem wasn’t really helping.

The more financially stable we became, the less stressed I was. The less stressed I was, the happier my girls were. The happier my girls were, the more we could simply enjoy being together and not have to spend so much money on cable, on outings, on activities they weren’t really enjoying. Instead, my oldest daughter helped out at the dance studio to get a break on tuition.

My youngest daughter shops at Goodwill when she needs new leggings. We come up with solutions together when we hit financial blocks. And if you feel bad for saying, I can’t afford it, try saying, “sorry, that’s not in our budget right now” instead. A small difference, sure, but it takes the focus off the negative part, and reminds both you and your child that you have financial goals.

Of course, personal finance is always personal, and you will have to make some difficult decisions, but try to remember, that’s true for most of us! Divorced or not, kids or not, we all can only work with what we actually have. And you may find that there simply isn’t enough. If things are that tight, you may need to look into increasing your income.

I ended up going back to school once it became clear to me that I was never going to make it on my salary as an Assistant. So I went back to school, got my Paralegal certificate, and got promoted. I took out some student loans and was able to get reimbursed through my employer’s educational assistance program for some of it. Thankfully, my interest rate on my student loan is low, but I am currently throwing any and all “extra” money into paying that off. So far, I’m paid a year ahead.

If going back to school is not an option, consider freelancing. Please do NOT pay for any “work from home” opportunities. But there are things like ride-sharing services, babysitting, and e-commerce sites. I have a friend who has done very well with her Etsy shop!

In the end, there are really only two things to focus on when it comes to managing your money: decreasing expenses and increasing income. The more you do both of those things, the better off you’ll be.

Our family has gone from surviving to thriving, and I can trace it back almost to the day that I was absolutely done with the paycheck-to-paycheck struggle. I am now a month ahead financially, and having that breathing room definitely, helps when we get hit with a new financial problem.

I am out of credit card debt completely, and we even went to New York this spring to see Hamilton, all completely paid for in cash. (I do use credit cards again, but only for the rewards, and I have auto pay set up to pay the balance in full every month so that I don’t pay any interest.)

It’s true that money doesn’t buy happiness. It’s also true that money can’t buy the previous, married, 2-parent household, either.

It’s also our job to teach our children about personal finance. As with everything else, they will learn these lessons by our actions, and not our words. If you want your children to have a healthy relationship with money, it’s time to have your own healthy relationship with it, too.

You’ve totally got this!

The post 3 Ways Single Moms Can Survive Financially appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>