people choose to get even

Why Do People Choose To Get Even Instead Of Get Over It?

people choose to get even

 

My ex is going through a second divorce. When it comes to creating a high conflict divorce situation my ex is quite talented. From what I’ve heard this new divorce is chock full of conflict, anger, and dismissal of other people’s feelings.

His soon to be ex can’t fight the divorce; she can’t keep the marriage together, so she has decided to get even with him. She is doing so via her Facebook page with snide comments and threats to shoot the “SOB.”

I’m not surprised at how either one is behaving throughout this process. Heck, I’m not surprised there is a divorce. I saw that coming from a mile away. You would think that people who have experienced divorce would learn to divorce without shredding each other emotionally and financially.

I hear from people weekly who are hell-bent on getting even with a spouse who has hurt them. They think getting over it and getting on with their life is dependent upon whether or not they are able to get even.

For instance, I heard from a woman who had been married for 27 years to an alcoholic. He, the alcoholic had filed for a divorce and was attempting to “clean her out” legally. She was appalled that a man who had been such a terrible, abusive husband could not take time to consider and honor their 27-year long marriage during the divorce process.

In retaliation to his lack of honor toward the marriage, she was asking the courts for lifetime alimony, the marital home and most of his retirement pension. Plus, she was sharing with anyone who would listen what a horrid husband he had been.

And she was STUCK!

These two people were in the middle of a divorce and playing the same game with each other they had for 27 years. He was disrespecting her; she was playing the martyr and expecting something from him that he had never been able to give her. They might as well have stayed married!

Why Do People Choose to Get Even?

Because habitual behavior is hard to break. Folks who spend a lot of time thinking they should get even with someone who has hurt them are a special breed. They have high expectations of how others should treat them. They view an affront by someone else as a personal injustice and due to that, it is their right to exact justice.

Instead of focusing on what they should do to productively deal with the problem, they focus on evening the score.

It is normal to feel resentment toward someone who hurts us, it isn’t normal to hold on to that resentment and allow it to rule your life. Most of us work through our resentment and in time move on with our lives.

Some though, never get over a divorce due to their inability to let go of the need to exact revenge. And in the long-run, their need to get even hurts them, not the other person. It takes over their life and has negative consequences to their health, spirituality and emotional growth. And, if they use the family court system to exact their revenge it costs them financially.

Letting Go of The Need to “Get Even:”

Some say that letting go of hurt and pain begins with forgiveness. I don’t believe that forgiveness is always the answer. In my opinion, forgetting by focusing on setting goals and moving forward can be more valuable than forgiving.

Let’s face it, if someone leaves you financially destitute or causes your children emotional harm, forgiving can be a lot to ask. Plus, you can’t forgive someone who has not asked for forgiveness so, instead of worrying over forgiving someone it is in your best interest to spend time thinking about moving forward in life instead of focusing on getting even.

Tips For Getting Over The Desire to “Get Even:”

  • Set goals and focus on doing what you need to do to attain those goals.
  • Replace thoughts of revenge with positive affirmations.
  • Create a life that is satisfying and rewarding. It really is the best revenge!
  • Take responsibility for your role in the relationship problems that led to divorce.
  • Focus on who and what you love, not on things that interfere with giving and receiving love.

Bottom line, folks who are intent on getting even are hard to love or, even like. Why rob yourself of the joy others can bring to your life by focusing all your attention on the pain caused by someone incapable of giving you what you deserve…friendship, support, and love.

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wife cope with infidelity and divorce

How Does a Wife Cope With Infidelity And Divorce? Here’s How I Did

wife cope with infidelity and divorce

 

The morning after our divorce negotiations began one of the horses on our farm became trapped in wire. The mare was starting to panic and the more she moved, the harder the wire cut into her flesh.

Fence fixing, indeed most tasks mechanical, had been my husband’s job.  But he was gone.  Broken boards swung from rusty nails and wobbly fence posts surrendered to buffeting winds.

The small section of high tensile wire in the back pasture had collapsed under the weight of a fallen tree where our herd of horses grazed. The mare had stumbled onto it and her hind legs were ensnared.  I called my husband’s cell once, twice, three times.

No answer.

I asked my teenaged daughter, Isabelle, to get wire cutters.  More than 20 agonizing minutes later she brought back three wrenches. We’re on our own, I thought. Then I stopped thinking and let my hands move.  I lifted each trapped hoof, talking quietly to the horse in what I hoped were soothing tones.  When the last loop of wire came off and she was freed the mare ran back to the barn.

Living on my own on a farm in rural Maryland wasn’t in the cards.  But that is what happened after my husband fell in love with another woman and moved away with her. My daughter and I remain in the marital home as tenants with an absent landlord, fixing what we can, living with what we can’t.

When our courtship began 25 years ago, my husband drove me to the farm for the first time.  I surveyed the herd of horses grazing in paddocks of billowing orchard grass, the green scape of wooded foothills cresting the Appalachian Trail.  My decision was not how I would live there, but when. With him.

I ignored the red flags that should have stopped me at the wedding altar; bounced checks, a quick temper, alcoholism.  He eventually chose sobriety, which fixed many problems, but not all.

Our marital history was writ large with financial lapses – unpaid bills, debts, and secrecy. We always managed to soldier on after each expensive hiccup.  Then I found out about the tax bill.  We had amassed $40,000 in debt because he didn’t file our tax returns for several years and never told anyone.

When the notification from the Internal Revenue Service arrived via certified mail my response was to unleash a fury of rage and hateful words.   After a few days of silence I attempted to repair the damage.  I said what I hoped were the right words – that I was sorry for what I said; we’d dig ourselves out, come up with a plan somehow.

He said, “This marriage is no longer a priority for me.”

He spoke as if he had practiced each word in front of a mirror to achieve a certain tonal quality of indifference.  My initial response was confusion:  why he was addressing me as if I was a house guest who overstayed her welcome?

This was the same husband with the sunlit hair who reached for me and spoke in a singsong voice when he was happy; who painted clouds on our ceiling and built a giant bug out of plaster for our daughter to take to school for “Show and Tell.”

I reasoned that with work and patience we would find our cadence as a couple again.   I was wrong.

His affair partner was an acquaintance I had invited to Thanksgiving dinner in a charitable impulse.  I first noted her as a middle-aged jovial divorcee who stood in the sunlight at an equestrian event talking to my husband.

I thought to myself how unfortunate it was that the sun’s glare revealed pocks in her pale skin.  I remember walking over and interrupting their conversation to tell my husband it was time to go home.

She inspired nothing in me beyond a sense of sympathy as a matronly woman trying to look young, someone who seemed alone and in need of friends.  The ensuing months she sat at our family dinner table numerous times, stayed in our home during a snowstorm and rode our ponies across our hill in the spring.

I sensed her envy, that grinding emotion of being on the sidelines of something joyful.  I enjoyed her company because my husband was happy when she was there.  When he was happy, our family was happy.

In looking back I feel a tug of empathy for the person I was – a wife so comfortable in the bonds of marriage that betrayal was unthinkable.

I laughed it off when neighbors and friends suggested there seemed to be more to her friendship with our family.  I even jokingly called her “the other wife.”   Then I found the emails, the texts and gift receipts.

Chronology became important. 

When was the exact moment they became a secret?

When did she decide to become both my friend and lover to my husband?

Friends later observed they saw it all along – the stolen glances exchanged, the smoldering conversations on the sidelines of social events.

Where had I been while my marriage unraveled?

My sleuthing, a typical response to infidelity trauma, turned up a trove of besotted emails, photos and dinner dates.  A cell phone bill revealed the repeated calls to the same number – hers.

There were on average 20 calls a day to each other, sometimes even after the other woman and I had lunch or tea together.  Even on Christmas Day, at 8:05 in the morning before we got up to open our presents, he sneaked away to call her.

After the divorce papers were filed, anger became my drug of choice.

I specialized in rage texting at 2 am, morphing into a high octane Dorothy Parker, hurling insults and unflattering remarks about the other woman, picking apart her choice of haircut, her unfortunate hips, and tight-fitting dresses.

My response to the abandonment of love was to become unlovable. 

My husband, on the other hand, was audaciously remade as if he had been through an episode of “Queer Eye.”

The man who never shaved and wore only muck boots suddenly shifted into metrosexual country squire —   skinny jeans, a vast collection of Fedora hats, Italian leather shoes, and enough tweed jackets to attire an entire tea party at Downton Abbey.

“His soul is hijacked,” I observed to my friend, Melissa.  “Maybe what you had in those early years was the best of him, and now it’s all spent,” she said.   That was some consolation; that I was loved by a man who tried to be good until his resources ran out.

Or perhaps he saw an opportunity to rewrite himself, sanitize the mistakes of the past.  The other woman was not me, the one who bore witness to his flaws, mistakes, the private vanities, habits, and quirks that reveal themselves over time.

The unwitting matchmaker, I laid before him the opportunity to turn away from the wife who held all his broken pieces and tried to love him anyway.

How does a wife cope with infidelity and divorce?

I searched for a manual, then devised my own plan.

First, find your people. Some friends and family may not possess the emotional skillset to provide ample emotional support during a divorce. No one knocked on my door with a casserole or offered to mow my lawn as one might a widow who lost their spouse to a heart attack or car accident.

My divorce was an awkward circumstance for friends and colleagues to navigate.  Most condemned my ex privately and one friend, whom I will never forget, banned my ex’s affair partner from attending an event he hosted.

This was the hardest habit for me to kick post-infidelity; that is, the craving to foster outrage by reciting my increasingly tiresome narrative of loss and betrayal until a therapist suggested my anger was becoming toxic.

My arc of healing also ascended from unlikely sources:  online forums with strangers; the seduction of an old boyfriend; a trip to Seattle where I found a quiet Airbnb to read and think; from my sister who was recovering from the betrayal of her partner.

Second, keep moving and eventually, the weird stuff feels manageable. I developed a playlist. Music, in my case hard rock from the 1990s, helped rewire my anxiety during divorce negotiations. Raucous electric guitars, percussive anthems all helped focus my brain beyond the spiral of emotions that were overwhelming at times.  I also joined a gym and lost 30 pounds.

Third, get out of your comfort zone.  I tried a new hairstyle and started online dating.  Initially, it was an awkward phase, dwelling between marital death and single life. I treated it as an adventure, commuting from my rural valley to the evening cacophony of the city where I met a date for drinks or dinner, sometimes more.

I watched the dawn fold over the rooftops of the urban landscape, thinking that just 45 miles away my horses were waiting for breakfast, the dogs needed to be let out for a pee, the barn cats waited for their kibble.  Yet here I lay next to a man with nothing in his refrigerator but Red Bull and mayonnaise.

Look for context. It helps to know infidelity is not about you. The data and information about who cheats and why bear this out.  My ex’s decision to have an affair and abandon the marriage was about him, not me.

Yet most articles about infidelity typically dwell on the question of repair and reconciliation within the marriage.

Sometimes there is no fix.

One can wake up and find themselves married to a stranger who starts dating and there’s no reasonable explanation for it.  My ex never admitted to any affair, not in divorce court papers, or even as people tagged him and the affair partner in Facebook photos.

Perhaps his silence came from a place of shame. My ex hated cheaters until he became one.

Eventually, the affair partner doesn’t matter. Trust me on this. I came to realize my anger throughout divorce fueled their love triangle.  A therapist observed that my ex and the other woman loved the noise of my fury.

The vengeful ex-wife specter offered a convenient “victim status” to claim and provided a distraction as they transitioned from an illicit affair to a committed relationship in which realities such as finances, family, friends come into play.

In the initial phase of my grief, it was hard to follow the often expressed advice that the best revenge is living a good life.

And then I came to realize I was enjoying life without my spouse around; that I could travel unencumbered, parent my daughter the way I wanted and own my financial future.

Use free legal resources that may be available at your local courthouse. 

I saved myself thousands of dollars filing for my own divorce after getting a marital settlement agreement which took the better part of a year to negotiate.  Use the money you save to spend on self-care, which is also essential to healing.

Time and patience are your warriors. 

Healing from betrayal also forces one to acknowledge that grief is a process and one never reaches the end of it.

It also requires a mindful commitment to dismantle the broken self and make room for the new one that emerges, cracked open and yet not quite whole.  I am no longer that woman who sat down in the grass and decided to marry a man for all the wrong reasons.  I am someone else, someone still becoming.

Love again. 

I worry about choosing a wrong partner again, someone who will bring about another circumstance of abandonment.  Yet being vulnerable to the possibility of love is our reckoning as humans.  Rarely are we wired to accept any other choice but to love and be loved again at our own peril.

I write as if divorce and infidelity are in the rearview mirror.  It is not.

My ex-husband and I pass each other in the paddocks or the barn during the course of any day on the farm, courteous as old enemies after the peace treaty is signed.

We meet for co-parenting counseling. We exchange texts about farm chores and our daughter’s schedule. The anger ebbed, I am at the place where I thought I’d never arrive – acceptance.

Sometimes the entrenched intimacies of our old marriage seem as if they could be summoned forth if only the right words or opportunity presented itself.

I often pass my hand over a scar on my thigh where several years before a mare kicked me backwards into the dirt, tearing open the muscle. The skin is now puckered and drawn, shaped like the mouth of an old warrior.  I am proud flesh closing over a healed wound.

I am looking for a new place to live.  My task is to turn from all that has been familiar — the fiery red maples that light up in autumn now jeweled with leaf buds.

My soul is scattered on the farm where I spent my married life. It is caught in the sudden flight of sparrows, swooping from the ground in a motion like silvery fish snared in the net; among wild ducks that argue among themselves as they float in aimless patterns on the pond.

The ancient bank barn braced against mountain.  Another broken board strays from the paddock fence line and horses within it forage for grass.

Everything constantly changes and yet remains fixed in place as the seasons pass.  My former father in law died over the summer and we spread his ashes on the farm.  We said goodbye to the past and each other.

I do not consider the future beyond what is in front of me — our child, a dead love, a divorce.

I cannot outrun this fate, nor abandon it.  I can only retreat to the barn at dusk, where I find my favorite pony and throw a saddle on his back.

We hack toward a band of distant horizon, a cloud cluster the color of fire.  So long as we are moving the destination no longer matters.

When the sky gets dark, I turn my gelding back to the farm, that hollow place where something was and no longer is.

The post How Does a Wife Cope With Infidelity And Divorce? Here’s How I Did appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Women, Divorce, and Depression: Are You Ignoring The Signs?

Women, Divorce, and Depression: Are You Ignoring The Signs?

Depressed Woman2.jpg

   

We all rush to the doctor when we come down with a physical ailment. For some reason, though we make excuses or ignore signs that point to something being off-kilter mentally.

The stigma attached to “mental illness,” results in unneeded suffering. We can admit when we have a physical illness but share the fact we are suffering from depression? No way!

Women, Divorce, and Depression

Below are a few facts about depression:

Depression is a serious medical illness; it’s not something that you make up in your head. It’s more than just feeling “down in the dumps” or “blue” for a few days. The symptoms of depression are much more severe and debilitating.

Depression is characterized by feeling “down” and “low” and “hopeless” for weeks at a time. Many factors can contribute to the onset of depression, including the presence of other physical disorders, stress, poor nutrition, physical illness, personal loss, and divorce.

Depression isn’t always easy to detect, and people with depressive conditions do not all experience the same symptoms. It may be expressed through lack of appetite or overeating; insomnia or an unnatural desire to sleep; the abuse of drugs and alcohol; sexual promiscuity; or hostile, aggressive, or risk-taking behavior.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression:

• Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings.
• Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism.
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness.
• Irritability, restlessness.
• Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex.
• Fatigue and decreased energy.
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions.
• Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping.
• Overeating, or appetite loss.
• Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts.
• Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.

If you are in thinking about a divorce or have gone through a divorce you’ve suffered a personal loss. If that loss is causing persistent sadness or anxiety, if you are feeling hopelessness, fatigue or physical symptoms that are uncommon there is a possibility that you are suffering from depression.

Denying what may be going on or not seeking help due to shame keeps you stuck. Changing the way you view depression, letting go of denial and shame can mean changing your life.

I encourage any woman struggling with the symptoms above to talk to her doctor. It is about quality of life and we all deserve a good quality of life. And, seeking better health both physically and mentally is nothing to be ashamed of.

When I was 24 I began to have panic attacks. I was diagnosed with depression and started seeing a therapist and taking medication. Within a few months, I was no longer having panic attacks and the depression had lifted. I had whipped the ass out of the mental illness that was keeping me from living a full, rich life.

What I found hardest to recover from was the shame I felt over being diagnosed with depression. My family reacted to my diagnosis as if my character was somehow flawed. Their reaction caused me more pain than the depression I had suffered.

I felt less worthy in their eyes. As rational as I am I bought into their idea that mental illness was an indication that I had less value as a person. It took me a few months to work through and cure my depression. It took me far longer to overcome the shame I felt due to other’s opinions of my diagnosis.

I work with clients as a Divorce Consultant. I’m always surprised by the negative reactions when I tell a client I feel they need to talk to their doctor about the possibility of depression. Or they need to seek therapy with a professional who can help them work through their issues.

It has been 30 years since my diagnosis. There is more awareness about mental illness but, the stigma remains. People’s minds have not changed but, if you are suffering and feel you need help, it is only one mind that needs to change. Make that mind, your mind.

When it comes to depression ignorance is not bliss. Hell, there is no bliss at all. I urge you to seek help if you are suffering any of the symptoms above. There is no shame in being pro-active and doing whatever needs to be done so you can live life to the fullest.

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time to trust again

When Is It Time To Trust Again?

time to trust again

 

Have you ever gone to the animal shelter and felt a connection with the animals waiting to get adopted?

My daughter wanted a dog so bad and had literally been asking me for years. My usual answer was, “I can barely feed two children, what makes you think I can afford feeding a dog too?”

But after many years of pleading, the time had come, and I was ready to say yes. As we walked through the little concrete cubicles that housed dogs of all shapes and sizes, each one looked up at us with a longing in their eyes that said, “Hey pick me, I’ll be loyal!” Or, “Hey pick me, I will love you forever! I promise!”

What were their stories and why were they there?

Were they too old? Too fat?

Too crazy or too sick?

Or just too much?

Why would a family, give them away as if they never mattered? And how was it okay that they are relegated to leave their safe beds at home only to now sit in a cold concrete cubicle?  How would they ever trust again?

I soon realized as I walked throughout the complex that I was filled with emotions. Perhaps, I had felt a kind of kinship to them. I knew what it felt like to expire your usage to someone you once trusted your life with. I too was discarded by a husband who no longer needed me. He literally said that to me.

So now the impetus of getting a dog had changed. Their plights resonated with me and I wanted to save them all. How would they ever trust again? I understood the looks in their eyes. I too asked, “How will I ever trust again?”

Whether you have experienced a tough divorce or an amicable one, it doesn’t really matter. Your trust has been shaken to its core and it can be tough to find your way back.

When Is It Time To Trust Again?

Starting the journey on the road to trust

How do I trust myself .and my choices? That is the first thing I said to myself when I started to think about dating again. I had obviously chosen very badly to have spent so many years with a man that never really wanted what I wanted. It wasn’t until we were all in and married for a few years that I started to see this.

He said all the right things and outwardly did all the right things. But inside I doubt that he wanted any part of it and I don’t think he ever wanted to be married to me. I honestly do not understand why he did. My gosh, I was young, cute and a new college graduate and I had plenty of options out there.

But for some reason, he couldn’t tell me. All along he just fooled himself and made me believe his lie. He had no intention of giving up his dating life and who better to marry than a stable, sweet girl who comes from a solid family and has a good soul. Oh, and did I mention, was kind of naive too?

The best way to cheat on your spouse is to marry someone who is naive. When he cheated on me the first time and my son was 2 years old, I forgave him and felt virtuous in saving my family. When he cheated on me the second time when our second child was only 4 weeks old, I felt like the Village Idiot. So onward I go to find the road back to trust.

The first man I dated was wonderful. He was tall and handsome and was a family man. He had four kids of his own and I saw every day what an amazing father he was. But he too was broken. He didn’t want his divorce either and so two broken people were attracted to each other with a common denominator that wasn’t solid. So, as the relationship started and stopped and started again over a period of 5 years, we both realized that as much as we cared for each other we were not, “the one”.

It was nice to be treated well in the start periods, but it didn’t feel so good in the stop periods. We were both veiled in insecurities that were planted and cultivated by our ex-spouses. When the day came that we finally parted our ways, we both had grown up in our divorced status and in that growth, we grew apart as well. He ended up marrying someone quite different than me, so I guess that confirmed my belief that we were not a good fit. He was a man for that time that it took me to a new knowing of myself. And I am grateful for that experience.

So, how do I trust another man?

The second man I dated, was also tall and handsome. He was fun too. But he too had stuff that needed to get worked out. We are all such broken toys after divorce, but this one had been through divorce twice already. I don’t know how anyone does it more than once.

For me, once was quite enough. He was sweet but had loads of insecurities that manifested itself in always needing to be validated by women. For example, he took me to a Christmas party. As soon as I walked in with him, he made a hasty left and next thing I know he is in the middle of a harem of women. He loved their adulation and it was a turn off to me  I tend to be more intellectual, so I sought out the people who wanted to talk to me.

That was the ebb and flow of our relationship for a while. I kept stepping away and he kept drawing me back in. The reason I got drawn back in was because outside of his womanizing insecurities, he really was fun, he was romantic, and we would get into these deep conversations about life and it sort of fed my need for intellectual stimulation too. The experience brought me to the next step on my path and still a deeper connection to what I was looking for. But alas, he was not. “the one” either.

Third time is the charm?

The next man I dated was far more mature than both men put together. He was a smart C Suite Executive who had reached a place in his life that he wanted to feel joy which he said he hadn’t felt in forever. He was married for about 20 years and his sons were both finishing college. He was a class act. He knew he needed to step away from his marriage because he was not happy, but he didn’t do it with cruelty.

He supported his wife and sons and never made them move out of their home. He never asked her to pay for their tuition. He never treated her with disrespect and have his sons watch that from afar only to have that be part of their blueprints. No, he was a man of dignity, intelligence, and integrity. But he too was not, “the one”. It wasn’t that I thought we couldn’t make a go of it. I think we could have at some point. But he was too new into his separation and was not even officially divorced.

I had time to test the waters. He hadn’t, and I knew he needed to do this for himself. If we were going to ever be together it would have to be after he had the chance to sew his wild oats. But he wasn’t going to do it on my watch!

So, now I venture on to my quest to meet someone who I feel I can trust. I realize that the first person I need to trust though, is myself. I know that I am not willing to give up my integrity and self-worth to any man again. I also know that it’s time to let go of the fear and take a chance on someone.

He may be a bit broken too by virtue of the journey he has experienced and that’s okay. I have become reacquainted with my former self before marriage. I was cheerful and confident. I didn’t rage on worries year after year. I looked at life from a positive…anything is possible set of eyes. All of which were lost in my marriage. I see it now.

I may not be the new college graduate any longer, but the woman I am today has been shaped by the sum of all the experiences of the past. I am still the woman who deserves to trust and to be trusted.

I am still the woman who wants to have joy in her life and longs to share it with someone that is easy to be with and who can also challenge me.

And I am still the woman; naive as I still may be, accepts herself, flaws and all and deserves to be loved 100%! There are no rules for timing. It must happen when your own stars align. For me, it has taken many years to be ready. I may have dated, but in that time, I never really invited anyone into my life and into my family. I was too exhausted raising a family alone to really give it all of me.

And these men I dated didn’t jump up and down with their hands raised, telling me they were committed to me and ultimately to my children too. Because if you date me, you date the whole package. Maybe by not letting them all the way in, it precluded them from fully committing. I am okay with my decisions though. I was not ready. I am now.  As the Nora Ephron line goes in, “When Harry Met Sally”…..”Somewhere out there is the man you are supposed to marry. And if you don’t get him first, somebody else will. And you’ll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that somebody else is married to your husband.”

So when the time is right, take the leap of faith and flex your trust muscles again and go for it!

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not healing from your divorce

4 Reasons You’re NOT Healing From Your Divorce

not healing from your divorce

 

We all know that the pain that follows a divorce is horrible, and can probably be multiplied by a very large number if the divorce was sudden and/or unexpected. When we’re in the midst of heartache it can truly feel as though our broken parts will never heal, and that we will never feel whole or normal again.

Yet healing is a very natural process. We can all heal. Some of us may be stuck in a loop of grief, not knowing how to help ourselves move through and past the pain. We may be unknowingly committed to outdated beliefs and stories – beliefs that are holding us back from creating a new life and story for ourselves.

I’m a firm believer that TIME is one of our best friends when it comes to moving forward and healing from heartbreak. Yet all the time in the world will NOT help if you’re not giving it a bit of a helping hand. When people say that time heals nothing, I say yes and no. Time DOES heal – but not time alone.

Sitting around waiting to feel better will probably not be enough to make you feel better. If you feel that something is missing – that you’re not moving forward and healing from your divorce, it may be time for a few life and mindset adjustments.

Here are 4 reasons you may not be healing from your divorce:

1. You’re stuck in RESISTANCE mode

When ‘bad’ things happen to us, it is a very normal thing to struggle and resist against what is happening. Yet here’s the thing: hard as it may be to come to terms with, accepting the change to your circumstances, rather than resisting it, is extremely important in helping you navigate what is happening. If the decision to divorce is final – whether it was your choice or not – stop wishing it otherwise.

You will only prolong the pain, and delay your progress in moving through the grief if you spend time and energy wishing and hoping for things to be different.

I have learned that nothing is truly permanent in life – good or bad. Once you accept that situations and people naturally evolve, you’ll find that change becomes a lot less daunting. A huge obstacle for a lot of us after divorce is learning how to get over our preconceived notions of how things ‘should’ be. Yet all of us can learn to change our thought processes, and as a result, let go of outdated beliefs and stories.

It is normal and healthy to grieve. Allow the grief, and allow it to pass when it’s time. Learn about the grieving process – know where you are at in the process. And know that with allowance, it WILL pass.

2. You’re still stalking/speaking to/spending time with your EX

It is a very noble idea to want to ‘stay friends’ with the ex. Sometimes, its best left at that – an idea. Why? Because in order to move on and heal from our divorce, we simply must learn to emotionally detach from him.

Some context: when we have spent a good portion of our time with another person in an intimate relationship, emotional bonds, and ties will have formed – this is a normal and natural process. During a break-up, those bonds are ties must be severed, and this naturally hurts.

We don’t like the hurt, so we fight it. We often do everything we can to hold on – to our partner and to our memories – and this is where our troubles begin. We simply don’t know how to let go, or emotionally detach. The good news is that with a little time and a little effort, we will get through the hurt and begin to feel better.

Accepting that the relationship is over and allowing the grieving process are important first steps to getting your ex out of your headspace.

The next focus needs to be on maintaining separate lives and ending the reliance on him. RESIST the urge to know what he is up to, who he’s seeing, where he’s going. DON’T stalk him or her on social media, and don’t ask others (especially your children) what he is up to. If you do need to be in contact – focus on keeping it simple and business-like.

This is truly the best way to emotionally detach and most importantly, HEAL.

3. You’re not spending ample time LOVING yourself

Most of us lose a part of ourselves whilst in a long-term relationship or marriage. I lost a BIG part of myself during my seventeen-year marriage. I married young and over the years somehow managed to forget that I was somebody outside of the marriage at all.

Needless to say, when my husband left I had quite the task both rediscovering and learning how to love ME. I had to re-learn a lot of self-care, and a lot of self-love. And so it may be for you now.

Truth is, most of us struggle with self-love. And the struggle is never more real than in times of change and upheaval – when we are pushed WAY out of our comfort zones, dealing with a broken heart, and naturally feeling our crappiest and lowest.

Yet the time just after a divorce is the perfect time to start learning how to truly love yourself. It is the perfect time to go deep within yourself and find out what it is that makes you tick – what fires you up, what gives you comfort, what it is that you need to do to fix your broken parts for GOOD.

Do your best not to spend all of your time thinking, obsessing or worrying about your ex – or when your next relationship will be. Learn to use this time alone wisely. SPEND time alone. Learn to love being alone. Learn to love and care for yourself – TRULY love and care for yourself.

4. You’re not setting GOALS for the future

During a significant life shift such as divorce, there is a definite healing power to be found in intention or goal setting. After having just completed one chapter of your life, it makes sense to lay some plans for how you would like the next chapter to be.

Your goals may change over time as your psyche slowly adjusts to your new life and reality, but that’s OK. Even if you don’t achieve a particular goal, or it changes significantly to accommodate your changing feelings and circumstances, there is still power in letting yourself envision some concrete plans for your future, doing what you need to do to make them reality, then letting go and allowing the universe to take care of the rest.

Use your newfound knowledge of yourself – who you really are and what you really want in life – to start setting some goals – big or small. And remember at all times to have FUN with it. Good luck.

The post 4 Reasons You’re NOT Healing From Your Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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retirement after divorce

Retirement After Divorce: I’m 60, Still Single And Made BIG Mistakes

retirement after divorce

I wrote an article earlier about being a single mom 20 years later and how one can survive, called “15 Insights from a Veteran Single Mom” that was posted on this site in January.

I wrote it because I wasn’t seeing that kind of perspective and wanted to share with others that are new to the journey, with a message that you can indeed survive.

You can even thrive as well.

But it may cost you as it has me.

My article was mostly from an emotional perspective. But what about the business of “your life” after divorce and the kids are grown? What does the other side look like from a financial perspective?

I have seen some good articles related to financial advice on “new single mothers”. But, I have yet to find anything that speaks to single mothers who have given it all to raising a family alone and who now find themselves in a very precarious position financially; 20 years down the road.

An article on guilt would have served me well in the early days and throughout my single motherhood.

I felt guilty for being the reason my husband left. Or so I thought I was anyway.

I felt that it was my job to make sure that my children never felt left out. Never went without and always felt like all the other kids in school whose parents were together.

I live in a community where there really are very few single parents. My kids pointed that out a lot to me.

My ex-husband gave me $328.00 per child each month. That was the court allotted amount. I had a 4-week-old infant when I started this journey, and I have to say that $328 didn’t go very far towards formula and diapers alone.

So, in order to keep up with “Mr.” and “Mrs.” Jones, I sacrificed a lot financially. I sacrificed as I tried to keep up with everyone and everything which living in Southern California expected of me.

I sacrificed myself, literally. I wouldn’t realize it until many years later.

There have been many times on this journey that I vowed to change my name back to my maiden name. I hated having the same last name as the woman my ex-husband cheated with and then married. I was not proud to have that name anyway.

But my kids were really against me doing it. They didn’t want to have a different last name than me. When the time came that they were old enough and no longer cared, I started to research the process.

I was required to show my decree of divorce. My brother who is a Superior Court Judge advised me as well. Because when the divorce became final, I was in the thick of raising an 18-month-old and a 6-year-old, I was kind of busy. I couldn’t find my documents anywhere.

My brother was able to help me. In the documents package that I received from him was an additional paper that stated that I had signed off on my ex-husband’s retirement.

I almost fainted dead away when I read it. I didn’t remember ever doing this. When we sold our home and we were in the final escrow, I received a call from the escrow officer. She said that my husband would not sign the escrow papers and ran out of the office.

Panic consumed me.

I was buying a house and selling a house and escrow was scheduled to close for both properties on the same day. This was going to cause a domino effect. I called him and he said he wanted the retirement accounts.

He would not sign the escrow documents unless I signed them over.

At the time, I thought he meant the IRA’s. I said, “If I agree to this will you get out of my life forever?” He said yes. My naivete would cost me more than I could ever have imagined now that I am 60 years old.

So here I am now. Twenty years later. In reading the articles on this site, I realized how much I would have loved to have known about DivorceMoms.com much sooner into my divorce.

So, here is what I have to say to you all as I literally sit here learning in real-time.

Retirement After Divorce: How To Get Ready

Credit Cards!

I hate them and you will too! Don’t use them unless it’s an emergency. Keep two and that’s it. They are your emergency fund and should only be used as such.

Your heartstrings will tug at you and your Catholic guilt will get the best of you, so leave them home when you are at Target with the kids!

You will be a hostage to yourself! All the toys and stuff you bought them will end up at Goodwill! I promise you!

Budget, Budget, Budget!

And stick to it! Again, I found that the guilt I had made me do stupid things and spend money foolishly on toys, dinners out, and things they and I didn’t need. All done in the name of guilt and keeping up with The Jones.

You want to feel normal. You want to feel like you are in the club of intact complete families. So, you push your budget to fit in.

I’m here to tell you that you will regret it if you don’t stay inside your own lines. Who cares what everyone else is doing? They really don’t. It’s all on you and your guilt issues! So, Stop!

Get Rid of the Cape!

Get rid of your Super Woman Cape altogether. It may fit you now, but it’s when you are 60, it’s too darn tight! So, chuck it now! You are a Super Woman on your own merit by the mere fact that you are raising a family solo.

You are your own Caped Crusader and you most definitely are your kids! They love you and need you and want you all without your trying to be everything to everyone.

Just be their everything! Give the cape to the Salvation Army and don’t look back!

If I was speaking to my younger, confused self I would tell that poor girl to calm down. I would assure her that she was good enough and didn’t have to spend money on stuff that will eventually end up on the curb for pick up.

I would tell her to stop all that. I would tell her that if people really loved her, they didn’t need her to “keep up” with them. And if they did expect that, they never really did care in the first place.

And lastly, I would tell her to love herself so much by saving money, any money and put it into her retirement and teach her children that the real value in life isn’t by having things. It is by loving each other. Period.

But as I speak to myself today, I just start each day as I step further into a time of traditional retirement age and say “Breath. Just Breath.”

The post Retirement After Divorce: I’m 60, Still Single And Made BIG Mistakes appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Why Do Friends Abandon Us During Divorce? Here Are 3 Reasons Why

Why Do Friends Abandon Us During Divorce? Here Are 3 Reasons Why

A while back, I attended a “Divorced Members Only” party. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a DMO party, but the invite came from a charming friend of a friend and I was thrilled to be included.

I entered the hip and modern backyard where I was greeted by the lovely hostess who is happily married to the lovely host who had each gone through a divorce prior to meeting, They guided me to the bar where I was handed the signature drink aptly named the 50/50 split and I made my way into the crowd.

Despite my vision of walking in to see 50 women feverishly nodding and smiling to compete for the attention of 5 single men, my 50/50 split and I walked into a welcoming, judgment-free zone to discuss the battle scars and silver linings of divorce. I met beautiful, successful women and men who asked the usual questions divorced people ask when we meet each other.

“Who is your attorney”?

“What is your custody schedule”?

“Do you get along with your ex”?

Did he (or she) cheat”?

From my more lengthy conversations that evening the subject of married friends came up repeatedly from this divorced contingent – both the ones who abandoned them and the ones who stuck by them. Many spoke of the anguish caused by the first group, and the sometimes lack of understanding from the latter.

We discussed many other fabulous non-divorce topics as well, but I left with an overwhelming sense of comfort in knowing that I am not the only one who pondered and struggled with one of the fallouts of divorce that causes more pain and confusion than expected.

So I did a little online research to get more perspective. I didn’t gain much, but I did find a few of the theories entertaining.

After reading self-help articles, and perusing group chats there were three scenarios that kept popping up about the “deserters”.

Why Do Friends Abandon Us During Divorce?

They side with your ex.

They may have a business relationship, or a longer history, or they just like him better. OK. Fine, I suppose he is allowed to have friends too.

They are worried divorce may be transmittable.

The thought here is that friends with marriages on shaky ground are afraid that socializing with divorced women may be infectious and lead their marriage down the same path. There are many great things about being divorced but I doubt 4 out of 5 divorcees recommend it, nor should we be considered contagious for going through one of the most stressful and depilating life events.

They feel threatened.

As in, threatened that their divorced friends are now eligible and may take their husbands!? I hardly ever use’ LOL’, but it applies so well. Do these same friends remember all the stories they shared about said husbands when we were friends? Drunken behavior, idiosyncrasies, intimate details? I may have been friendly with their husbands for many years, enjoyed family dinners and vacations, but wanted them for myself? Thank you, but no. I jest a bit here because I have friends with some pretty fantastic husbands. I root for their marriages. They are setting great examples for their kids, and mine too.

If you haven’t been divorcing or divorced long enough to know this yet, I can promise you that the “deserters” aren’t the married friends you need. The married friends you need are still HERE – in your ‘Favorites’ list on your iPhone, and on the emergency contact forms for your kids. And in a society where married people are considered “the norm” and divorced people are not, they have kept you in their ‘Favorites’ list as well.

The best news I can share with you after being 5 years divorced is that you will stop caring about the friends who deserted you in your greatest time of need. You will stop wondering why you didn’t get an invite to their Christmas party, or their 40th, or their kids’ birthdays. You will eventually get to a point where you run into them on the street, or are seated right next to them at a restaurant, have a brief, friendly exchange and then barely give it another thought.

Now as we love our married friends who have remained in our lives, things can get a little tense at times. DMOs have been married. We understand the constant state of acquiescence and negotiation in which married people live. We can remember that the way a spouse chews a meal or leaves dental floss on the counter can ruin an otherwise perfectly good day. If not from divorced parents what do our married friends know about being divorced?

Have the DMOs taken the time to look up from sobbing about their trip to family court, or a rant about their ex to explain how everything actually feels? I have not. I have been a bit selfish in expecting them to instinctively understand why I get so prickly about staying home with my boys in lieu of attending a GNO because I only see them 50% of the time. Or how sending them to another home can feel like losing a limb.

Or the isolation we feel when friends are out for a couple’s dinner and we are forgotten. It stings. And it stinks, but have we eloquently communicated that? Have we gracefully told them that we are ok with being the 3rd or 5th or 7th wheel?

It could relieve some tension to acknowledge these differences with the friends who have remained present. Reinforce that you love LOVE and that you want the best for their marriage. Embrace their spouses and their families. Bring your kids over to their homes so they can see married couples living in unison. Lean on them regardless of if they will understand your battles and let them lean on you as well – it will undoubtedly reinforce the fact that they made the right decision in keeping you on their “Favorites’ list.

The post Why Do Friends Abandon Us During Divorce? Here Are 3 Reasons Why appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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how to fit in after divorce

Friendships, Family, Work: How To Fit In After Divorce

how to fit in after divorce

 

I wish Elizabeth Barrett Browning had been around long enough to advise us all after the depth and breadth and height our souls had once reached in love and tell us in her grand poetic prose how to fit in after a divorce had forced it all to plummet to the hard-rocky ground!

There are many times I have felt that I should go reside on the island of Misfit Toys since my divorce, in order to feel like I belonged. I am a Baby Boomer and like all Boomers, we come from an idealistic model of relationships.

Our parents had us after World War II and we were a product of those referred to as the Greatest Generation. We straddle between the world of party lines and actual dial telephones to modern techie cell phones and social media communications.

We live with one foot in the world of real people greeting each other directly and shaking hands to the world of visiting your friends and relatives through the lens of social media and sending them a hand waving emoji.

So, why did I feel that I didn’t quite fit in since my divorce?

How has my “fit” changed from married person to divorced person?

Well, let me count the ways. And maybe some of you have experienced this too.

“As your life changes, so will your circle.”

Yunus Chhapra 

How To Fit In After Divorce

Friendships

I found that soon after my divorce, my friends changed. My friendships changed. When you are a couple you usually have those “couple friends” … you know, those people that you always go to dinner with, go to concerts with and the movies with.

Those who help you out with your kids because they too have kids the same age.

Those that loan you a tool if you need it.

Those that help you move furniture up a flight of stairs. Or, help to install a new window.

Those “go to” people who were always in your couples’ orbit.

I found out shortly after my divorce that I was soon looked at as the awkward friend. My ex-husband left the orbit altogether. So, I was left to explain why my husband left. In the beginning, they all wanted to know the juicy details.

I didn’t give out the gory particulars, but what I did share was consumed and it served to feed not only their morbid curiosity, it also fed their need for drama at no risk to themselves. I was left to try to tell the story and I was looked at differently from that point forward.

We were the couple that everyone thought had it all. We were the couple that many wanted to be. Once a split happens with “that couple”, you know…the one people look up to, well it makes them question their very own relationships.

Especially if the model husband in their eyes, left you for another woman. I had one person tell me that if it could happen to us it could happen to anyone. It could happen to them.

I also started getting some side eyes from my female friends. I guess now that I was a single woman, I might be a threat. I have had many other women in the time since my divorce tell me that they too experienced this with their friends.

The result is that you migrate away. You don’t get invited anymore. You have children to care for anyway, but you soon realize that you are alone. It felt like I was a rowboat tied to pier and someone came and just quietly untied the rope from the pier, and I drifted away ever so quietly.

When this happened, I came to the knowing that I needed to find my own orbit. My own people. If you are new to being officially defined as “divorced” on your current identifications, do not despair.

What you will find is that the people who are about to enter your new solar system, are deeper and more compassionate. Because that is who you are now, and you will be drawn to those who may have experienced something similar.

Their care and wisdom are much needed as you embrace new friendships that are 100% yours. Those that you have left behind in the wreckage of your marriage hold little value to you.

And those that stayed the course with you and loved you through the whole horrible experience, are golden. Find your own people and celebrate!

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”

British Novelist Jane Howard

Family

If you have gotten a divorce and you are now a single parent, that of course changes a family. It changes the very foundation that you built your family on. If you are lucky, the family that built you, is what gets you through it.

And you find that you rely and lean on your family like never before. But what I also found out through my journey after divorce, is that I had changed. I was no longer that same family member that they once knew.

How could I be?

I had been through such a brutal life experience and as a result, the person I once was no longer existed. I was now a myriad of people.

I was fragile as well as tough.

I was compassionate as well as short tempered.

I was now responsible for an entire family. And they had no idea what that felt like.

Even in imagination, they dare not go there.

So how do you slide back into that role inside your family when you don’t know what that role is?

And even still, how can your family recognize you now and find a common denominator beyond shared parents?

Well, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t happen overnight and its not easy. But it can happen and, on your terms, too.

I had once written that I felt the most alone when I am with my family at the holidays, get-togethers, weddings, etc. All the family congregations that resembled the model household.

Married couples with their kids who even have kids of their own now. And so, it goes. It is where I come from. It is all that I knew, until the day I was forced to unlearn it.

I think many people feel as I do when they come together. Everyone was completely well meaning and really had no idea how I was feeling. I am good at masking it to “fit in” and make others feel more comfortable than me.

But the truth be told, as I mentioned in the article before, it’s hard to feel whole when you are reminded by all the real wholeness that surrounds you.

It takes courage to speak up and introduce this new you. To represent the person, you are now and expect nothing less than their full support and respect. It’s not your job to keep up a persona that you no longer own.

You are a whole person in your own right, and you have earned the respect of everyone.

So, introduce your new whole self to the family that you know. To the woman, you are both just getting to know. Give them a chance and enjoy the relationship.

And if you determine that you have changed too much, and they can’t accept your new improved version of yourself, then choose your friendships as family.

Because at the end of the day, everyone needs a family, a clan or a tribe they can call their own.

“Being a working mother and a working single parent instills in you a sense of determination.”

Felicity Jones

Work

There is no better reason to work then because you need the money. In some cases, it’s the only reason. After I was divorced, I told a friend that I just wanted to meet a man who would say three things to me.

She said, “Oh, I love you?”

I responded with, “No! You can quit!”

The juggling act of working a full-time job and raising a family alone is unnerving to say the least. There are days that you literally feel like a performer who is spinning plates.

As the plates keep getting added, you are sweating to keep them all going at once and terrified that one will fall, and the rest come tumbling down.

That’s what it can feel like when you are a single mom who is the breadwinner of the family. You handle things completely differently than you’re married counterparts at work.

To begin, you don’t have a significant other whom you can fall back on. I remember I called my ex-husband to help me when my daughter was ill. I had already taken a day off and was nervous to ask for another day.

He responded and said he couldn’t; he had to work. Like I wasn’t working and supporting an entire family?

Like I didn’t need to work more than Good Ole Diamond Jim himself?

This was in the day that most workplaces didn’t have laptops they could bring home. So, what do you do? You take the day off and pray that it won’t come back to haunt you.

You pray that you won’t be revisiting this when you have your performance review.

You pray that your boss leaves and you get a new one who has no idea that you ever took a day off in your life.

And you pray that if none of that occurs, your work ethic as a woman who carries a globe on her shoulders every day of the week and twice on Sunday will receive the respect she deserves. And she does.

Over time, you communicate very little to anyone at work regarding your family and the responsibilities you carry. It takes one person who wants your job, who lets it slip that you left early to pick up your child, or you left early to go to the drugstore to get a prescription for your child, or you came back late from your lunch because you had to go home and pick up a book that your child left at home and they needed for class.

It takes one person to characterize you as less then committed to your job. And it usually comes from someone who has never been married, let alone had children.

If you are wise, you trust only a few. And again, those that you do trust are golden and you need them to lean on every once in a while.

Because the last thing you will be able to cope with, is a job loss.

And guess what?

I eventually did lose my job. So, no matter how old your kids are. As long as you are a single working mom, be cautious with you job. We live in a much better workspace now and employers are much more forgiving and flexible. But, there are no guarantees and you need to always be smart.

You may not feel a complete fit because of the lengths you feel that you have to go to protect yourself, but at the end of the day you do fit because you are doing an amazing job and most people in your work environment would never know what a true Rock Star you really are. But you do!

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths,”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

So, who are you now?

You have created a new you through the eyes of your friends, your family, your work colleagues.

Who is this new you?

Well, only you know the answer to that. And it may be a work in progress for a while. But, what I am certain of is that this, “NEW YOU” that you have become and embraced and introduced to the world is someone who will be amazing at all you endeavor.

And you are someone who is full of compassion, humility, and excitement as you venture into this new chapter of YOU. And always remember:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Dr. Seuss

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DivorcedMoms Top 10 Articles From 2019

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Articles From 2019

 

We’ve rounded up DivorcedMoms top 10 divorce articles from the year, with expert advice on narcissism, psychological abuse, divorce and teens, the family court system and more.

What kind of divorce resources are you interested in? If we’ve not covered it here, leave a comment and let us know.

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019

1. What can you expect from a narcissist during a relationship?

A lot of heartache! In other words, if it ‘s respect, consideration for your feelings and needs you desire, it’s best to keep your expectations low.

“While you may not be physically hit or physically abused in a relationship with a narcissist, your heart will be broken 10,000 times. Even if you think you are a “strong” person and can handle it; your strength is not really strength, but rather, denial.

“The following list is not exhaustive, but it is informative. If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist you’ll recognize them all. If you’re presently in a relationship with a narcissist, buckle up because you’ll eventually experience them all.”

Read the full article here and dive deeper into our resources on narcissism and personality disorders here.

2. Teens often refuse to visit a father during visitation, what should you do?

There are many teens who have difficult relationships with a father. There are also teens who have friends, an active social life and better things to do than hang with parents. If you’re faced with a teen who doesn’t want to spend time with their father, what you do would be based on the situation.

“Michael and Jennifer have been amicably divorced for six years. They have three children ages 6-14. As outlined in their final decree of divorce they split custody of the children on a 60/40 basis. The children are with Jennifer 60% of the time, with Michael, 40% of the time.

“Until recently this arrangement worked well for both the parents and children. Jennifer worked weekends as a Registered Nurse and felt secure knowing her children were with their father and well cared for.

“Michael traveled with his job during the week and worried less about his children knowing they were safe and sound with their mother. The children benefited from the quantity and quality of time with both parents.

“Problems started when their oldest child became a teenager. Craig turned 14 and became less and less interested in spending Friday through Sunday night with his father.”

Read the full article here and the rest of our resources on teens and divorce here.

3. Family courts are ill equipped to protect women during and after a high conflict divorce.

Not only women but women’s children. Women deal with lawyers, judges, therapists, and court-appointed experts who are less than knowledgeable when it comes to the damage an ex with a personality disorder can cause.

“My divorce was tame compared to some. There were no domestic abuse issues, no custody battle issues; we went our separate ways with no physical harm done. I can’t say the same about emotional harm but, as I learned the Family Court System is ill-equipped to handle the conflict created when a man has a personality disorder or is hell-bent on using the system to punish their ex.

“As a matter of fact, it is my opinion the Family Court System is ill-equipped to protect anyone whose divorce is high conflict. Judges, Attorneys, Psychologists, and other court-appointed personnel EXPECT divorce to be one size fits all and when it isn’t lack the skills to support civility. What you get are platitudes and an attitude that if you are engaged with an ex who creates conflict you must be playing a role in the conflict also.”

Read the full article here and check out our resources on high conflict divorce here.

4. If you’re divorcing a narcissist, you’ll want to get ready for the reality of co-parenting with a narcissist.

Narcissists don’t’ co-parent, they counter-parent. Even if it’s in the best interest of their children, they will thwart your desires every step of the way.

“Co-parenting with a narcissist is like being the tin man from the wizard of oz, having motion sickness, on the downward spiral of a roller coaster, with a loose harness, after eating ice cream and 5 corn dogs – doing the tango with a peg leg and an eye patch all the while sewing back together and re-stuffing down feathered pillows your dog chewed up and scattered throughout the back forty – it’s freaking difficult!!”

Read the full article here and other resources about children and co-parenting here.

5. Fathers have a right to equal parenting time. The problem is most don’t follow through with their desire for equal parenting time.

We all hear about how the courts are biased against fathers when it comes to child custody. Men, especially hear such nonsense from men’s rights groups. When you go into court believing the deck is stacked against you, you’re less likely to fight for what you want.

“Before and during the divorce process each parent has the same legal right to custody of a child. Mothers and fathers are on legal standing until one or the other gives up or is denied full custody rights.

“What does this mean? It is complicated! Even more complicated if you don’t know your state’s child custody laws. Bottom line, until you have signed a custody agreement or a judge has handed down a custody opinion, each parent has the same legal rights when it comes to where a child lives, who the child lives with and anything regarding the child.

“I’ve found that most fathers do not have a clear understanding of their legal divorce rights where the children are involved. “

Read the full article here and check out our resources on child custody here.

6. What does more damage to relationships than codependency? Not much. Here’s our tongue-in-cheek look at codependency.

I’m codependent no more! You’re codependent no more! Oh wait, I see some drama over there that requires my attention.

“According to Melody Beattie, author of Codependent No More, “As professionals began to understand codependency better, more groups of people seem to have it. Adult children of alcoholics, people in relationships with emotionally disturbed people, people in relationships with irresponsible people and people in relationships with abusive people.”

“Basically, a codependent is a person who gives more in a relationship than they get and holds onto the hope that their partner will change. Codependents enable, make excuses and make the relationship problems worse due to their inability to care more for themselves than they do their relationship partner or, the relationship.”

Read the full article here and take a look at our other resources on codependency here.

7. Defiance of court orders by men; it happens often but what’s done about it?

My ex defied every aspect of our final divorce decree. EVERY ASPECT. It’s common practice for some men to be defiant and not believe orders handed down by the court apply to them. So, what happens to them? In my case, nothing. He got away with it over and over again.

“Over the years, I’ve spoken to many women whose ex-husbands were defying divorce court orders to pay child support. What most of them have learned when they take their ex back to court for contempt is that judges rarely throw a deadbeat in jail. They threaten to do so, but in my opinion, it isn’t often that a judge will follow through on a threat.

“Not enforcing a court order undermines a woman’s ability to care for her children. For some reason though, a judge seems more concerned with how being jailed will negatively affect a deadbeat father. It isn’t only child support orders that aren’t enforced — in the Family Court System, it’s any order.”

Read the full article here and our resources on divorce and an irrational ex here.

8. Narcissists are emotional and psychologically abusive. If married and divorced one, you’ll spend time wondering why.

Why do they do the damaging things they do? That’s what I wondered and spent time researching when my ex and I went through a divorce. All we want is understanding but, does understanding help?

“If we’ve been hurt by someone we love it’s only natural to want to find understanding in what happened. We believe that if we can only understand our pain will lessen.

“So, whether you’re a therapist, researcher or victim, there is an interest in knowing why the narcissist emotionally and psychologically abuses.

“There are many theories. Probably as many theories about why the narcissist is narcissistic as there are people wondering why.”

Read the full article here and our resources on healing from narcissistic abuse here.

9. Psychologically abusive relationships rob you of your ability to trust in yourself to make proper choices and have faith in yourself.

Gaslighting, belittling, demeaning, undermining are just a few tactics used by a psychological abuser. When you’ve been on the receiving end of those tactics for years it only makes sense that you’ll lose faith in your ability to make choices that are in your best interest.

“Many assume it is simply the idea of breaking up a family that keeps us in the cycle of abuse. But I am here to say … no… that is not what made me stay.

“Forgive me as my ability to express myself in writing has never been my strong suit… but here goes.

“We stay because we have been controlled and manipulated to believe that we have no other viable options. There are often elements of financial control among a lot of other seemingly simple reasons that keep us in “it”. But they are not simple…not simple at all.

“I can only speak on my own behalf here, but I suspect that others will be able to relate on some level.”

Read the full article here and learn more from our resources on psychological and emotional abuse here.

10. Everyone’s story is different but when dealing with a narcissist, you can bet they all include damage done to children.

Narcissistic fathers discount the damage they do to their children during and after divorce. They view their children, not as an extension of themselves but as pawns to be used in their fight for control over a woman they feel stands in their way of having total control. If you’ve divorced a narcissist, you’re familiar with the damage they do to children.

“There is nothing more heart wrenching than having no recourse against someone who is doing grave emotional harm to your children. If a stranger had done what their father did, I would have had recourse. But, since it was their father, the family court system turned a blind eye to his behavior.

“It started from the beginning, the very beginning before I even knew there would be a divorce.

“I’m sharing this information in bullet points in order to keep my thoughts straight and not running together. We’ve been divorced for nearly 2 decades, there is no way I can share the entire story but, these are issues I remember as being the most damaging.”

Read the full article here and more about Maddie Grace here.

The post DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019 appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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adopt a pet after divorce

Here’s Why You Should Adopt a Pet After Divorce

adopt a pet after divorce

 

As we all know, getting a divorce is an incredibly draining and stressful process. It can literally feel as if the rug has been pulled out from under your feet.

Yet, when the dust settles, it likewise is a period of opportunity, an opportunity to attempt new things and put yourself first. When a marriage ends, you must rediscover who you are and what you want out of life now that you’re living a Plan B.

If you’re looking for a new love interest, one who will be forever loyal, love you no matter what and help you through those times of stress, loneliness and sadness after divorce, visit your local shelter. Rescue a dog or cat who will, in turn, rescue you from the dreaded negative side of post-divorce life.

Think about it this way, you can give a home to a being who has gone through something like you and are also looking for their “Plan B.”

If you are looking for genuine unconditional love and support, a rescue pet is the correct choice for you!

Here are 4 reasons you should adopt a pet after divorce.

  • The healing power of an animal’s love is phenomenal.
  • And your pet wouldn’t fret on the off chance that you eat an entire tub of frozen yogurt for lunch, or that you couldn’t be bothered with taking a shower on any given day.
  • A rescue pet will remain close by, loving you for precisely who you are. You never have to worry about not being enough, if you’ve got love to give, they’ll always return it.
  • A rescue pet will be relentless in his/her loyalty to you. They’ll follow you to the ends of the earth and, to the bathroom too!

Pets are a big responsibility but, you won’t regret it.

You may be thinking that the last thing you need after going through a divorce is to take on a new responsibility. Especially if you have kids. The last thing you may want to do is bring into the house, another being to take care of.

Yes, it’s a time-consuming responsibility but, I can tell you from personal experience that a new pet is worth the effort.

When I divorced, I adopted two Chihuahuas. The last breed of dog I ever thought I’d care about owning but, those dogs saved my life. They gave me something to worry over, fret over, love on and take into consideration other than the miserable turn my life had taken.

They were the silver lining behind the dark cloud I had been living under. Yes, there was Vet expenses and potting training and walking them daily but, the time I spent being showered with love by them and loving them made all that seem unimportant.

And pets are an excuse to have a bit of fun.

You can dress them up in T-Shirts and sweatshirts and, frilly dresses. You can put antlers on them for the holidays. I would take photos of them, even started an Instagram account in their names.

I would send photos off to CanvasPop and have art made from them. I have 2, 12×16 canvases hanging in my bedroom of my girls. Since they’ve been gone, those pet portraits keep me company and spur such wonderful memories of the 2 rescue pups that saved my life so many years ago.

Here are 7 other reasons to adopt a pet after divorce, according to the Humane Society.

1. Because you’ll save a life.

Each year, it’s estimated that more than one million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States, simply because too many pets come into shelters and too few people consider adoption when looking for a pet.

The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. When you adopt, you save a loving animal by making them part of your family and open up shelter space for another animal who might desperately need it.

2. Because you’ll get a great animal.

Animal shelters and rescue groups are brimming with happy, healthy pets just waiting for someone to take them home. Most shelter pets wound up there because of a human problem like a move or a divorce, not because the animals did anything wrong. Many are already house-trained and used to living with families.

3. Because it’ll cost you less.

Usually, when you adopt a pet, the cost of spay/neuter, first vaccinations (and sometimes even microchipping!) is included in the adoption price, which can save you some of the upfront costs of adding a new member to your family. Depending on the animal, you may also save on housebreaking and training expenses.

4. Because of bragging rights.

No one needs to see another selfie—unless it’s a selfie of you with the adorable pet you just adopted! Adopt a pet, post those pictures and let the well-earned likes roll in.

5. Because it’s one way to fight puppy mills.

If you buy a dog from a pet store, online seller or flea market, you’re almost certainly getting a dog from a puppy mill.

Animals from puppy mills are housed in shockingly poor conditions with improper medical care and are often very sick and behaviorally troubled as a result.

These puppy mills continue to stay in business through deceptive tactics — their customers are unsuspecting consumers who shop in pet stores, over the Internet or through classified ads. Puppy mills will continue to operate until people stop supporting them. By adopting a pet, you can be certain you aren’t giving them a dime.

6. Because your home will thank you.

Many of the pets from shelters and rescues are already house-trained, which means you’re not only saving a pet’s life, you may be saving your rug. Adopting a mature pet not only gives older animals a second chance, it often means introducing them to your family will be much easier.

7. Because all pets are good for your health, but adoptees offer an extra boost.

Not only do animals give you unconditional love, but they have been shown to be psychologically, emotionally and physically beneficial to their companions. Caring for a pet can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessen feelings of loneliness. And when you adopt, you can also feel proud about helping an animal in need!

Here’s the thing, my 2 adopted pups lived to be 18 and 19-years-old. During those years, we traveled together, supported each other and had very long one-sided conversations. They became an integral part of my children and my lives.

And not once did I have to worry about them leaving me, irritating me, neglecting me, or breaking my heart. They taught me that I was worthy of only the best when it came to love and that’s a lesson, I’ll owe them the rest of my life.

Think about it, don’t you want to experience that kind of love? Not only am I a fan of pet adoption, but I’m also a fan of CanvasPop. Over the years, I’ve not only been able to document life with my pets but with my daughters also.

The post Here’s Why You Should Adopt a Pet After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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