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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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eaving a narcissist

Leaving a Narcissist? Here’s How

eaving a narcissist

 

Leaving a narcissist isn’t easy. You make up your mind, you’re going to do it this time and then bam, you find yourself vulnerable to his charms and manipulations. Unless he wants you to go, the narcissist isn’t going to allow you to go without a fight.

Both mentally and physically, he will try to remain in your life and this is why you need all the tricks and tips available to prevent him from working his way back into your life.

If you’re trying the leave a relationship or marriage with a narcissistic partner you need the information below.

Leaving a Narcissist? Here’s How

Understanding The Narcissist’s World

A narcissist truly believes that he is the center of the universe; that he comes first and is always right. Narcissists are somewhat emotionally barren and lack the empathy to even consider the impact their actions may have on those around them.

They are often deeply unhappy individuals (regardless of their exterior appearance) and they like nothing more than to project these ill feelings onto others in the hope of driving conflict – the veritable catnip for narcissists.

A narcissist is a master of fakery – he can turn on the charm at the drop of a hat and compound lie upon lie in a bid to get his own way and stroke his own ego. He seeks out a person’s emotional triggers early on and uses them against them once the honeymoon period is over.

A narcissist is a user – he gives very little in the way of genuine warmth to a partner but insists upon a constant stream of it flowing to him. He requires compliments and kind words on a regular basis and will seek to punish a partner if these are not forthcoming.

He sees relationships purely as sources of supply; a supply of attention and love even though he is incapable of returning the latter.

When the partner tries to break away from the narcissist, he doesn’t see them as a loss, per se, but rather their withholding of this supply. He is confronted with a wounded ego and anxiety as to how he will meet his supply requirements. This is one good reason why he is so likely to try and regain the lost relationship – not because he loves or cares for the partner, but because he cannot go without attention and affection.

Understanding The Role A Narcissist Plays In Separation

When you attempt to leave a narcissistic partner, you will face a barrage of mental manipulation, and unless you are able to recognize it for what it is, you will suffer greatly because of it.

A narcissist will attempt to lay all of the blame at your door; he will spin his own versions of past events and seek to convince you of them. He will deceive, trick, and argue in such a way as to not only convince himself that he is right but also make you doubt yourself and the circumstances of your separation.

You must remain mentally strong and maintain your grasp on reality at all times. Don’t let his lies paint a different picture to the one you actually experienced during your relationship.

A narcissist will seek to make you feel guilty and worthless in an attempt to make himself feel better. As hard is can be to resist these attempts, you should try to see through his eyes to understand why he is saying all of these hurtful things. This should help you to reduce their effects on you.

Set Firm, Meaningful Boundaries

When you want to leave a narcissistic partner behind, you will almost certainly find resistance on their part. As I said above, they see your actions as a threat to their ego and an end to the supply you provided them, and they will likely try to worm their way back into your life somehow.

They will turn on their act once again and this may make it appear as if they have truly changed, that they are repentant and that you have shown them the way. None of these things are true; the charm they put on and the pity they try to extract from you are just more mind games to mask what’s real and underneath.

To combat this, you need to set concrete boundaries that prevent the narcissist from being able to play these games in the first place.

You may still be in love with him, which makes it all the more difficult, but by putting some distance between you – even if metaphorically – you will give your mind time to regain clarity and see things as they truly are.

Ideally, you will not take his calls, see him, or have contact with him full stop, but if you feel in some way that you owe it to him (which you shouldn’t), or you have to maintain contact for other reasons (such as children), then do it on your terms. Set the time, place and length of the contact and tell him that it will end at the first sight of belittling behavior, raised voices, or derogatory remarks.

Better yet, if you have to see them for any reason (say you share custody of a child), then try using the Gray Rock Method to interact with them in a way that will reduce the risk of you getting hurt again.

Try To Build A Strong Support System

Escaping the clutches of a narcissist is never easy and there will be times when you feel like giving in and returning to him. This is why it is essential that you find people who can give you the strength you need to overcome the hard times.

Unfortunately, as part of his mind games, the narcissist may well have already contacted mutual friends and family to convince them of your wrongdoing and even if he has not, many people will struggle to identify with the person you describe – remember, he may well have put on the charm around others.

But wherever you find them – and it might be that you have to seek out people who have been in your situation and understand what you are going through – be sure to keep them at hand for the inevitable moments of self-doubt and surrender.

Let them know the boundaries you have set and tell them to call you out should you ever let these boundaries drift or fall down. You may find that you have altercations with your supporters, but let it be known to them in advance that you appreciate all that they are doing for you.

Recognize Your Own Limiting Beliefs

Having a narcissist for a partner can well and truly mess with your head and the result is likely to be a number of limiting beliefs that you have about yourself, them, and your relationship.

For instance, you might believe that:

  • they truly love you
  • your love for them can prevail given time
  • you are to blame for the ending of the relationship
  • they bring you happiness that you will not find elsewhere
  • things can go back to how they were in the beginning
  • they have seen the errors in their ways once and for all
  • you can fix them and that it is your duty to stay and help
  • they feel the same way that you do

Not one of these things is true. They are incapable of love, meaning your love can never prevail. You are not to blame and you can find greater happiness elsewhere. Things can never go back to how they were and stay that way because they have not seen any error in their ways. You cannot fix them and nor is it your responsibility, and they most certainly don’t feel the same way as you.

Practice Self Kindness And Understanding

An essential component of saying goodbye to the narcissist in your life is to be kind to yourself in the process.

During your time together, he will have broken you down repeatedly and left you doubting yourself, your beauty (inner and outer), and your ability to function without him.

Just know that you are deserving of more. You have a strength that has been hidden in the shadows and all you have to do is learn to summon it again.

It will take time; more time than it ever takes to move on from the breakdown of a healthy relationship. You will have to give yourself some leeway and know that hard times are ahead and that they will test your resolve.

But kindness to oneself is a powerful thing; the more you practice it, the more it takes hold within your heart. You should be acting out of kindness towards yourself each and every day until it becomes natural once more.

Rebuild Your Self Image

The narcissist in your relationship will have tried to shatter the image you hold of yourself and remake it as he sees fit for his purpose. So when you leave him behind, what you see in the mirror could be very different from that which you saw before you met him.

A part of your healing will be to rediscover what it means to be you; there will be some additional scars inflicted by your ex-partner, but your inner self will eventually shine again.

The post Leaving a Narcissist? Here’s How appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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children thrive after divorce

Here’s How I Helped My Children Thrive After Divorce

children thrive after divorce

 

After my divorce, the biggest thing I worried about was being able to raise my children after such a traumatic event in their lives. How could I possibly provide a positive and healthy atmosphere for them when I’ve just gone through something that I never saw coming and never intended to happen?

Even though it seemed impossible in the beginning I have now come to a place where I know that just because I have separated from my children’s father doesn’t mean I can’t raise them to be happy and motivated children. My goal is to help other mothers understand that your child can thrive even after divorce.

Here’s How I Helped My Children Thrive After Divorce

I was there for my children and made them a priority.

I wasn’t the only one whose world was turned upside down by my divorce their world was changed drastically as well. I took this into consideration and made sure they knew they were the most important thing to me. I put them first!

I gave my children time to heal and process the divorce.

It’s important that they understand they can express negative feelings and questions to you without feeling censored regardless of how long it takes.

I respected my children’s father.

Although, divorce is due to unresolved issues within the relationship under no circumstance do I speak negatively about my former spouse. Sticking to this principle is crucial because the last thing you want to do is have your child feeling like they are stuck in the middle of being forced to choose sides.

I made sure they had a regular routine and schedule.

Working together with my former spouse as far as creating an effective schedule for our children is what keeps my kids happy. Our children understand we are no longer together but still enjoy seeing us come together for their benefit.

A strong co-parenting relationship can remove the stress from your child’s shoulders when it comes to spending time with you or your spouse. Successful co-parenting also allows us to change our schedules and be flexible without unnecessary tension and arguments.

I assured them that the divorce wasn’t their fault.

Another hard thing that I had to do was to help them to understand my divorce was not their fault. I neglected to do this early on and it wasn’t until they came to me and asked was it their fault that daddy and I couldn’t live together anymore.

It broke my heart that for so long, unknown to me, they were walking around thinking that the divorce was their fault. So I urge all of you to take the time and let your children know that no matter what the situation is there is nothing they did to cause the split.

I don’t introduce new relationship partners to them.

I’m currently not involved with anybody but have had to deal with my former partner’s string of new partners. I think it is important to not introduce new, partners, to your children until the relationship has become serious and has been serious for some time.

Children don’t need to see a revolving door of partners it teaches them lessons that will be harder to undo in the future. And I don’t know about you, but if rather not have to teach my children later on in life that they need to be in a relationship to feel whole or get fulfillment out of life.

And lastly, I respect my children’s boundaries.

Being that they split their time between two places means there are some things they feel more comfortable talking to your former spouse about than you. And you’ve got to be okay with that.

As long as it is not something that can be harmful to them, it’s important to not overstep or breach their privacy. That can cause them to lose trust in not only you but also your communication line. And can end with them closing themselves off to you permanently.

It is harder to improve trust once it has been lost and can set your child up to not trust people in the future. Which can leave them feeling alone and cause a host of issues for them later in life.

I hope that reading my story will help you to get through your journey easier than I did. Remember, children need to feel heard and seen by their parents especially during a time where a life-changing event such as divorce has happened.

The post Here’s How I Helped My Children Thrive After Divorce 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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forgiveness after a toxic marriage

Forgiveness After a Toxic Marriage: Here’s Why It’s Important

forgiveness after a toxic marriage

 

“There is no future without forgiveness.” Desmond Tutu

The single most important step you must take in order to move on after divorce is to forgive. 

Over the course of your marriage, things must have been said and done by both yourself and your husband that were hurtful and toxic.

Hanging on to these hurts will perpetuate their destructive effect, unless and until they are released.

Hanging on to past hurts is like strapping an anchor to your neck and dragging it wherever you go.

Unforgiveness will bring you down and prevent you from rising up to your highest potential. It will deprive you of the peace that you need to create a happy life.

You won’t be able to start over with a clean slate if you’re still obsessed with the wrongs of the past.

When you forgive, you release yourself from the bondage of blame and resentment and break free from the spell past hurts have placed on you. 

Forgiveness is freedom from judgment, ill feelings, and being “right” at the expense of being happy.

Sometimes we adopt a posture of righteous indignation because we mistakenly believe that not forgiving the other person makes him or her the bad guy while making us the victim, the nice guy. We feel morally superior.

But being unforgiving doesn’t make you good and the other person bad. It makes you unhappy! The other person can very well go on with his or her life untouched by your anger and hatred.

Remember, you deserve to be happy. So, tap on the power of forgiveness to set yourself free.

You need to forgive your husband for every wrong, real or perceived.

Yes, every single one of them. You need to forgive yourself for all the things you regret associated with your marriage and in every area of your life.

You need to forgive every person who, in your opinion, contributed to the breakdown of your marriage. That includes friends, relatives, in-laws, even “the other woman.”

This is hard stuff, I know, and don’t get mad at me for saying so. But as hard as this may be, it is essential to your happiness.  Release the charge. Stop thinking about it, or at least think about it with neutral feelings.

We are often unwilling to forgive because we assume that forgiving turns us into doormats. That forgiving is condoning offensive behaviors. That, by forgiving, we are making them acceptable. We are enabling the perpetrator. We are inviting more of the same.

But that isn’t true.

Forgiving is not about condoning bad behaviors, especially forgiveness after a toxic marriage.

Some behaviors, abusive ones, in particular, are wrong and unacceptable, and should never be tolerated.

Those behaviors may have given you good reasons to end your marriage. But they do not justify ending your peace and depriving yourself of the happiness that is your birthright.

Forgiveness opens the door to a life of freedom and possibility.

Forgiveness makes room in your heart to allow love to flow in.

Maybe you’re not comfortable forgiving because you fear it makes you seem weak.

To the contrary, forgiving is empowering, because it dissolves the grip past hurts have over you. It allows you to face your vulnerabilities and gives you the opportunity to heal and dissolve them.

When you hang on to past hurts and resentments, you are giving your power away.

Holding on to resentment actually poisons you. It keeps you bound to the person you badly want out of your life.

Every time you think about the hurtful event, you are allowing it to continue hurting you over and over again, even after the conduct has stopped.

Some people hang on to hurts that happened long ago, by people who may no longer be alive. Who do you think is hurt by the unforgiveness? Not the dead guy, for sure!

You are not alone.

We have all been hurt, often by people we love. By people, we thought loved us. And we have to process feelings of betrayal as well.

Perhaps you have endured vicious behaviors that were totally uncalled for. You may think you have been inflicted the unforgivable. I understand.

I am not trying to minimize your pain, but open your mind to the possibility that other people have endured horrifying experiences, even worse than yours, and have found it in their hearts to forgive. Through forgiveness, these people have achieved freedom, and inspire us to allow the power of forgiveness to heal our deepest wounds.

Louise Hay had been sexually abused as a child. Yet, she turned her painful experiences into an occasion to heal herself and to help others heal through a lifetime of inspiring works. Likewise, Immaculee Ilibagiza, in her book “Left to Tell: Discovering God in the Midst of the Rwandan Holocaust,” shares her stirring story on achieving freedom through forgiveness, after her family members were murdered by friends and neighbors during the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s.

Their examples underscore how forgiveness can serve you.

Forgiveness doesn’t stop with your husband. Also, forgive yourself. The past is over and done. You cannot change it, but you can choose again. Learn your lessons and be the better person from it.

Consider incorporating a forgiveness practice into your life.

It will support you as you examine your relationship, decide whether to leave or stay and start your life anew, with or without your husband. It will pay dividends in every area of your life and will enable you to enjoy better relationships and a serene existence.

If you’re not sure how to go about it, there is plenty of help available. The subject is so vast and complex that you could fill a whole library with books about forgiveness. There are lots of amazing teachers, all of them courageously sharing their personal stories and unique forgiveness techniques. Find one that resonates with you. Or feel free to create techniques of your own if you can’t find one that is right for you.

My favorite book on the subject is “Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything” by Iyanla Vanzant. This fabulous little book comes with a built-in, 21-day workbook and includes a CD with guided meditation exercises for every day of your forgiveness journey. By day 14, I felt considerably lighter and more peaceful.

I have also found inspiration in Louise Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Life,” as well as Colin Tipping’s “Radical Forgiveness: Making Room for the Miraclewww.amazon.com/Radical-Forgiveness-Miracle-Tipping-Paperback/dp/B00OX8BXFG.”

You can also join forgiveness support groups at a local church or online.

The key is to allow the power of forgiveness to release you from the wounds of the past and pave the way for a brighter future.

If You’re Not Ready to Forgive Yet

Maybe your spouse or others have engaged in very damaging behaviors that you need to process. Perhaps your emotions are still too raw, and you are not yet ready to forgive. Be kind to yourself and honor your feelings.

Forgiveness requires you to be ready and receptive. You may want to wait until the heat is off, the dust settles and you are out of the emotional danger zone. That is perfectly okay.

Take baby steps down the road to forgiveness. Louise Hay taught that you can start by being willing to forgive. Take the first step now and get ready for a life in which your husband’s misdeeds are not even worthy of a passing thought.

Now you’re ready to begin anew. Rebuild your life on a clean slate with the power of forgiveness.

Note: Excerpt adapted from the book Solve the Divorce Dilemma: Do You Keep Your Husband or Do You Post Him on Craigslist? by Sonia Frontera.

The post Forgiveness After a Toxic Marriage: Here’s Why It’s Important appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Here’s How to Add Value to Your Home After Divorce

Here’s How to Add Value to Your Home After Divorce

Selling your house after a divorce can be challenging because you may feel like you’re on your own. But it’s not as hard as you think.

The post Here’s How to Add Value to Your Home After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Here’s How to Add Value to Your Home After Divorce

Here’s How to Sell Your Home After Divorce

Selling your house after divorce can be challenging because you may feel like you’re on your own. But it’s not as hard as you think.

The post Here’s How to Sell Your Home After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Here’s How to Deal With Gossip At Work After Divorce

Here’s How to Deal With Gossip At Work After Divorce

Gossip at work following a divorce is inevitable. Unfortunately, it can be a big problem, and it’s important to be able to handle it the right way. 

The post Here’s How to Deal With Gossip At Work After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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divorced but still feel married

Divorced But Still, Feel Married? Here’s How To Cut The Cord

divorced but still feel married

Are you divorced but feel like the only thing that has changed is your address? Living in two separate households only to find that distance doesn’t always equal freedom?

Have you just survived the worst time of your life by the skin of your teeth, yet it still feels like you are in the trenches?

Divorced But Still Feel Married?

I thought divorce papers were my ticket to freedom.  I would sign the papers and somehow it would magically dissolve everything… cut all ties.  Boy was I in for a rude awakening!  Little did I know that a piece of paper didn’t guarantee that I would be divorced energetically.

Let me explain what I mean by being physically divorced, but energetically still married.  

Marriage is defined by a union of two people…a partnership, which can be dissolved at any time on paper.  Whenever we bond with someone, as in marriage, we physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, as well as energetically connect to that person. 

We are energetic beings that create many kinds of attachments.  Although we can physically divorce our partner, that does not mean that we energetically detach from them after the divorce is finalized.

This explains how you can physically be miles apart, yet still, feel like nothing has changed. They still have the same power over you just like they did while you were married.  

One text has the power to bring you right back to the darkest days of your life.  One phone call reminds you why you filed for divorce in the first place. Your thoughts about them have the power to paralyze your entire body keeping you stuck and unable to move forward.

What you have yet to realize is that you are still CHAINED, still TETHERED to what has rendered you powerless.

Let me paint you a picture. Imagine your intestines being tied into tiny little knots, and all the food you’ve ingested is unable to make its way down into your stomach.  This would stop you from eliminating waste, and your body would quickly build up toxins and make you sick.

This is what it looks like to be stuck energetically to something that no longer serves you. In essence, you have been tied in energetic knots. Unable to move and grow, and evolve into the next phase of your life.

So, how do you shake this??!!

How can you cut this energy cord after a separation once and for all?!

The first step is knowing your truth. 

Put the fight down!  Put down the need to prove or defend yourself to anyone.  See your ex as a mirror.  What are they triggering inside of you that you believe about yourself? 

Do you believe that you are unworthy of love, that you are a bad person, that you deserved to be punished? Do you have guilt or shame attached to your divorce? If you cannot put the limiting story down you will keep letting your triggers own you. 

This is when you need to work on reprogramming those beliefs of yours because if you didn’t believe them their words would have no power over you.

Subconsciously we believe these ugly little lies.  Most of the time we are completely unaware of it.  Unaware of the inner chatter that has the power to bring us to our knees.

The second step is owning your story and walking away from the victim mindset. 

You are not a victim of your divorce! I don’t care who wanted the divorce and who didn’t want the divorce.  So many people feel the need to cast blame after divorce.  They feel the need to make one party the victim and the other party the culprit. 

The truth is if you label yourself as “The Victim,” you will disarm yourself of all your power.  Is that what you really want…a constant pity party?

Put the story down!

Your marriage is over…the end! No need to rally the troops to fight a battle only to keep the energetic cords alive.  Do you want to win or do you want to be happy?

The third step is doing the work to figure out what brought you to the unconscious relationship in the first place. 

Let me tell you that the answer to this will not be outside yourself.  Ask the questions that you didn’t have the courage or awareness to ask yourself prior to the relationship. 

It’s shocking to think that I never asked myself these questions until my mid-thirties, and I know I’m not alone in this! They are the most basic and fundamental questions:

WHO AM I? HOW DID I GET HERE? WHAT AM I INTERESTED IN? WHO WAS I BEFORE I WAS WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE NEEDED ME TO BE?  

Let me tell you how powerful the universe is. The minute I asked the right questions I got the answers loud and clear…like the very next day! But this doesn’t happen without surrender, without letting go of how you think things should be and accepting what is. 

Accepting what is takes work. It takes courage. It takes owning your part and wearing it like a badge of honor, not as an anchor.

I am guessing you don’t know how to do the “work” otherwise you would have done it already. So, let me give you a taste of what doing the work meant for me…

Once I was ready to put down the sword and really step into my power, well this was where the journey began. I realized I needed support.

The box I created for myself didn’t have the necessary tools I needed to get out.  I sought after counselors and coaches. I found mentors virtually because they were far and few between in my circle. I read books, I went to women’s retreats, I created new friendships that supported my journey, I listened to podcasts.

I did anything and everything to empower myself, and even when I didn’t feel powerful I let this virtual family that I created hold me up until I could do it alone. And I did it all with grace and compassion for myself.  I wasn’t in a race to some imaginary finish line. There is no finish line!

The fourth step just might be the most difficult step of all…FORGIVENESS. 

I’m not going to lie, my ego will still try and pull one over me at times. I still get triggered and it brings me to a place of righteousness.  When that happens, I forgive myself for being human and having a human experience. 

I have realized that most of these feelings come from generations of women before me. Generations of women living in lack, in fear, in comparison, in the need to defend or prove themselves.

The truth is nobody has the power to make you feel this way unless YOU give it to them. So, in forgiving my ex I was forgiving myself.

The Hawaiian’s have a beautiful prayer of forgiveness and healing relationships called ho’oponopono, which goes like this…

 I’m sorry.  Please forgive me.  Thank you. I love you.  

 I know, the thought of saying this might make you cringe, but this prayer really is about setting yourself free.  This is what is going to allow you to cut the energetic cord, the cord that still binds you.

The fifth and final step is to actually cut the energetic cord.  

Physical relationships create the strongest of energetic cords.  At one point you bonded with this person in the most intimate of ways, and divorce papers won’t wash that away.  Why is it necessary to cut these cords?

So that you can break the attachment that causes you to still react to this person, and step into a place of self-love. It’s a great way to disarm them and empower you.

In intimate relationships, cords are typically attached from the heart center.  Begin with closing your eyes and putting one hand over your heart, or wherever you feel the attachment stems from.

You can visualize your ex standing in front of you with an energy cord that attaches you two together.  Set the intention of not allowing any more energy exchanged with this person.  

You then move your hand up and down as if your cutting a rope with an axe.  Visualize yourself cutting the energy cord once and for all.

This is what worked for me in order to sever the chords that attached us.  It is a process that takes lots of intention.  

You will see for yourself that the power they once had over you will disappear, and you will have new-found freedom you never thought possible.

The post Divorced But Still, Feel Married? Here’s How To Cut The Cord appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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health insurance after divorce

Health Insurance After Divorce: Here’s What You Need To Know

health insurance after divorce

 

It’s common in marriages for one spouse to obtain coverage for the entire family through their employer. Because one employer offers more attractive premiums or benefits, it makes sense to consolidate under one policy. After a divorce, children remain eligible for coverage as dependents, but the spouse no longer meets requirements to stay on the insurance plan.

If you’ve found yourself in the lurch as a result of a divorce, take heart. Adding the complication of finding health insurance during an already difficult time can seem overwhelming, but it’s critical your coverage doesn’t lapse. The stress of divorce can present many health complications and you’ll want to feel confident you can get the care you need.

Before detailing health insurance options, let’s cover a few standard terms so you’ll have a better understanding of how to compare plans and premiums.

What you need to know about health insurance after divorce

If this is your first foray into shopping for health insurance, there are a few terms you’ll need to know. Your ability to compare plans and make the best choice for you relies upon your understanding of industry terminology.

Premiums: Whether you use the coverage provided or not, this is the amount you pay every month or every pay period to retain health insurance coverage. If you have insurance through your employer, they likely subsidize this amount so your premiums may appear artificially lower.

Out-of-pocket: This is the cost you are responsible for paying to the provider for the services you receive in addition to the amount your health insurance covers.

Deductible: Some policies have deductibles which are out-of-pocket spending thresholds you must reach before certain insurance benefits kick in.

There are many kinds of health insurance, and some even involve wellness plans to lower premiums or flex spending accounts to offset out-of-pocket costs. As you shop, you’ll discover that plans with high deductibles may offer lower premiums and less out-of-pocket costs.

Your options for health insurance after a divorce

Before you finalize the divorce, make sure you have a plan in place for health insurance coverage. If you’re currently separated, you’re still eligible for health insurance through your spouse’s policy. Once the divorce decree is filed, you need to notify the health plan administrator within 60 days to be eligible for certain kinds of coverage such as COBRA.

Here are four options for securing health care coverage if you’re no longer eligible under your current plan due to divorce.

1. Get insurance through your employer

If you’re eligible for health insurance through your own employer, this is going to be hands-down the cheapest way to secure coverage. Employers often subsidize the cost of insurance so your premiums will usually be lower than anything you could obtain as an individual. While there are strict employee open enrollment periods, you can generally add coverage if you have proof of a life-changing event such as divorce.

2. Use COBRA or mini-COBRA

A federal law nicknamed COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) ensures that any company with more than 20 employees must offer coverage if you’re no longer eligible through your spouse’s policy. This coverage has two major stipulations, however. One is that you must notify the plan administrator within 60 days of the divorce or you won’t be eligible. Secondly, COBRA coverage is only available for 36 months, so it’s more of a contingency plan than a long-term solution.

COBRA has advantages for those who are concerned about keeping the same provider, but it’s more expensive than other health insurance options. While the employer is obligated to offer the coverage, they no longer subsidize it, so you’ll end up paying the full cost of the premium plus an administration fee.

State continuation coverage sometimes referred to as mini-COBRA, is designed to supply health insurance options to those whose policy sits with a small company that has less than 20 employees. In some states, coverage only lasts three months while other states provide options that could cover you until Medicare eligibility kicks in. Because coverage and eligibility differ wildly from state to state, you’ll need to do a little research to determine if this is a viable option for you.

3. Buy insurance in the marketplace

Due to the ACA (Affordable Care Act) and subsequent reforms, you can now purchase healthcare as an individual and, depending on your income, these plans may be subsidized. There are both government and off-exchange or direct platforms for applying, comparing, and purchasing plans that eliminate broker fees and deal directly with health insurance providers.

The most popular option is to secure coverage through the federal healthcare exchange, which rates plans in the marketplace as Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Catastrophic according to the amount of coverage. Open enrollment for the marketplaces is typically November 1st through December 15th but, like employer-sponsored plans, qualifying events such as divorce provide a special enrollment window of 60 days.

4. See if you qualify for Medicare

Medicare is a health insurance plan offered through the federal government for people 65 and older and certain people with disabilities. There are several different levels of coverage through Medicare (Plan A, B, C, and D), and your eligibility will be based on a few factors. These include age, marital status, length of employment, and social security eligibility. In some cases, Medicare and Medicaid can be used simultaneously to provide more comprehensive coverage.

Navigating Medicare eligibility and enrollment can be tricky, so it’s best to consult directly with representatives at Medicare about which options would work best for your situation.

Divorce can be a stressful time, so in addition to securing health insurance, make sure to set aside time to take care of yourself. Stay up to date on yearly check-ups and invest in preventative care. Staying in good health means you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of the new life you’re building and have the energy to take on whatever opportunities come your way.

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