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love after divorce

Money, Weight, Love: Let’s Talk About Love

love after divorce

 

Dear past, thanks for all the lessons. Dear future, I’m ready!

Love

Love. Hmmm. I thought I knew what that was. I really did. I come from the school of unconditional love. I saw it every day of my life growing up. I saw it with my parents. I saw it with how my siblings, and I would fight and somehow turn around ten minutes later and then go get ice cream.

When my husband cheated on me the first time, I thought my forgiveness was my example of my unconditional love for him. It was. But what I didn’t realize was that it was not an example of my unconditional love for myself. Sometimes you must love yourself more than anyone in the equation in order to survive.

So, when it happened again, as is always predicted…I had to confront him. When I found out about his infidelity again, I had to love myself enough to let him go. Twenty years is a very long time to think about this emotion and this word.

My husband and I were married with two priests on the altar.

One who was the main officiant, was my cousin. The other was at one time my father’s teacher at Loyola. He was a wise man and a confidant to me. I loved him like a grandfather. I have thought about the Bible passages he selected. I think it was his way of telling me he had doubts. This is the passage.

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

 

I never would have suspected that this would be the most prophetic line of my life. It appears…in the end, we were indeed a house built on sand.

And now that I have spent the past twenty years examining my own role in the demise of my house built on this shaky ground, I want to make sure that I never experience this again. But I never want my natural ability of unconditional love of myself and someone else to be stifled, dismissed or minimized.

I have indeed given up the opportunity to be loved by someone in order to ensure that my children knew they were my priority.

This was a choice I made with my eyes wide open. It seems apropos since I lived inside of a marriage with my eyes wide shut.

But until my children are on their roads and have established themselves into their careers and lives, only then will I truly know the full weight of that unconditional love I chose to exercise.

But thank you Fr. Houle. I appreciate your wisdom and perhaps perception that I needed to pay attention to what my house was about to be built on. I promise that if I am ever presented with the opportunity to love and be loved again, I will find the sturdiest rock and build a new foundation for a happy life.

I still see it for myself one day. I hope you are watching for that with me. I intend on living my life with grace and no longer grief. And I look forward to one day reacquainting myself with a love that is on my terms.

The post Money, Weight, Love: Let’s Talk About Love appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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weight loss

Money, Weight, Love: Let’s Talk About Weight

weight loss

 

Want to lose weight fast? Lose your other half! The rest will fall off.

The Divorce Diet

Weight

When I suddenly found myself a single mother with the prospect of divorce in front of me, along with a plethora of responsibilities piled on top of me, weeks after giving birth to our second child, I found that food and I no longer worked. I was so busy nourishing my baby and toddler that I forgot to nourish me too.

I was just too tired. I was normally around 135 pounds pre-pregnancy. In what seemed like days, even minutes after his departure when the reality of what I was facing set in, I found myself squarely at around 102 pounds and dropping.

My nerves were a frayed mess that resembled a well-worn rug that had hundreds of miles of foot traffic pounded into it. I had just had a C-section and a tubal ligation afterward, so I was really worn out and unwell.

Emotional shock can do a number on you.

But emotional shock under the auspices of a marital breakup that included infidelity, combined with post childbirth can throw you into a space you never knew existed.

But worst of all you are coping with a broken heart as well. This sadly has taken me decades to recover from. Overnight I lost all appetite for food of any kind. They say that a divorce diet is the fastest and most effective one on the planet and would put Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig to shame.

I am here to tell you that it was fast and furious all right! It was too fast though. My body had spent the previous nine months adapting and re-adapting as the baby grew and pushed on every organ in me. Then after giving birth, your body readjusts again like air being let out of a balloon.

But when you are faced with a trauma like I was, it takes a toll on your body with a vengeance. What you should be doing is nourishing yourself to cope with the breastfeeding and sleep deprivation as you slowly find your way back to a normal size.

But in my case, because he left in the middle of building our home, and after just having a baby and dealing with these two very big life changes, my appetite altogether disappeared, and I found that worry and stress was my meal of choice.

But then…I also discovered Peanut M&M’s.

Oh sure, I had eaten peanut M&M’s many times in my life. But this was a rediscovery and these beautiful little candies became the vice I so desperately needed. I was literally being nourished on peanut M&Ms! They were one of the only foods that stayed down. And yet, I kept losing weight.

I was literally a size 3 by the time my baby was 3 months old. I was 39 when I had her. The years went by and my new normal was being introduced to me as I watched my baby and toddler grow to where they are today, 20 and 24. I can see that I put my body through a lot over the years. Age has much to do with it no doubt.

Weeks after I had begun divorce proceedings and sold our family home and purchased a new one, I received a call from my work telling me that they were closing the Southern California office and that I would have to relocate to Northern California if I wanted to stay employed with them.

I was in the beginnings of divorce proceedings and child custody and my ex-husband would not approve of my moving the children away. So along with all that I had already endured, I found myself looking for a new job.

Happily, and because I have a good reputation in my industry, I received a call rather shortly asking me if I would be willing to interview for a company that had a remote office location near my home. I immediately said yes.

I was in no position to say no to anyone or anything.

I had just bought a house and I had a family raise. I interviewed and took the job. And all through this new phase, I started my nibbling on junk food to calm my nerves. Up and down my weight went through the chapters of our family.

My go to is always something sweet and when I feel the nerves of my bank balance dropping due to the cost of raising my family; not to mention the ever-present mortgage…I nibbled away.

This included then and still includes now, school tuitions, cars, cell phones, food, clothes and everything else that goes with this journey as you help your kids put one foot at a time on the road to their respective adult lives.

And now, I am 60. And that is hard to imagine. I have sacrificed so much of myself as the sole provider. The funny thing is that most of my friends and family are either currently or planning to retire. My accountant laughed when I asked him when he thought I could retire. He said, “My dear woman, you will need to work until at least 75. I’m so sorry. But you are so young at heart anyway. That shouldn’t be too hard.”

So, with the knowledge of this and with each moment that I am faced with the stresses of my responsibilities, there is always a bag of peanut M&M’s nearby to help me cope.

The post Money, Weight, Love: Let’s Talk About Weight appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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money and divorce

Money, Weight, Love: Let’s Talk About Money

money and divorce

 

Money, weight, love. Good or bad, these have been the beacons for me the past 20 years that I have been a single mother. I have literally been obsessed with these three words for as long as I have been bestowed the title of “single mom”.

I know that sounds strange too. Why would those three words have anything to do with “divorce” or “single parenting”. For me… they have everything to do with it. Because these three words became a measured part of my journey as I changed identities from wife to mother to new mother to single parent and now to 60.

Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.

Bob Marley

Money

Money. Oh, how I love/hate that word. When my ex-husband left my children and I, we were in the middle of building a home. I had just had a baby. Overnight I was faced with the rent on the apartment we were living in while the house was being built, the payments to the contractors, the original mortgage we were still paying, the Nanny, the pre-school, all the bills and ultimately a lawyer! I was prepared for none of this.

I only knew how to be married where we equally supported our family. Our life. I stood in frozen silence as it all came at me. When divorce knocked on my front door, I opened it and the first words it said to me was, “Hello, I am divorced and you are about to start living financially stressed from this day forward. Have a wonderful life!”

Within what felt like minutes, I felt like I was standing at the base of the Hoover Dam and ping by ping by ping, holes started appearing in the Dam.

Water started to seep through and one by one the streams began to intensify and suddenly cracks began to appear, and the water would come flooding down on me.

All the financial responsibility came flooding down on me too. I was submerged, gasping for air as I popped up only to be pushed down repeatedly. That’s how it felt for me to be the catcher to everyone who had their hand out waiting for a check. My husband just left me to carry it all. It was cruelty I would never have known in him or ever seen before.

I have always lived my life with a certain knowing that my life, whether long or short, would be one well-lived. One filled with opportunity and prosperity. I was raised to believe this, and I just have always felt this. An unshakable knowing because I saw myself living this way. Nothing in my life post July 29, 1999, the day my husband left or what I call, “T Day”, meaning: Transformation Day”, would have supported that notion.

But I just felt it in my soul. Yes, I was faced with all of that and more. My faith and belief in myself were challenged, but it was also what pulled me through. I saw better things for my family and me. I was able to wade through all the people who had their hands out. I was able to finish building and paying for the house.

I was able to move my little family into it, enjoying the fruits of my labor for a year or so, only to ultimately sell it and split the profits with the man who fled the project. I was able to buy a home. My home; in my name only.

I have achieved many of the visions I saw for myself and my family, yes.

Visions of opportunity and prosperity always being the gasoline in my engine. But it came at a high cost. It would. We live in Los Angeles, one of the most expensive cities in the nation. And though I still carried all the responsibility of raising a family, I still believed that anything was possible. I had to.

Money remains central to my nervous system today as my children are now 20 and 24. Every day is still a struggle to keep it all afloat. My role now as their parent is to help them take their first step onto the road of adulthood.

Maybe by my example of staying true to my inner knowing’s, they will not join the ranks of men and women living inauthentic lives who also flee their families and responsibilities.

Maybe, just maybe they will listen to their own inner callings and live a good life. Wouldn’t that be swell? I am seeing it already in them, and it makes me smile. For all the good and the bad, the feast and the famine that they have experienced with me, my hope is that they will take the sum of all these experiences and weave them into their own fabric of life.

I hope they use it all for the good of life and treat people with a sense of humility and compassion. Because even though on the outside we looked like the family who had the house, the cars, the nice schools…it all came at a high price. And that price was me. Because none of it was ordered with the thought that one single woman would pay for it all.

And so, I continue to do my best to try to live my life well within that certain knowing that my life, whether long or short, will be one well-lived. And money? Well, we are still getting to know how to co-exist harmoniously.

The post Money, Weight, Love: Let’s Talk About Money appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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spend money on after divorce

5 Things You Should Definitely Spend Money On After Divorce

spend money on after divorce

 

Divorce could be a big payday for some but most of us will be on a budget after the papers are signed and we part ways with our ex forever. Let’s face it, usually, money is going to be pretty tight after divorce.

It’s difficult transitioning from living off of two incomes to living off of one income while also facing the expenses that come with divorce. So it begs the question when it’s all over, what should you spend your money on?

Things You Should Definitely Spend Money On After Divorce

Living Arrangements

Where someone lives after a divorce is always different depending on their circumstances. If you keep the house in your divorce, you should consider the expenses it takes to keep it and decide whether or not you can afford it on one income.

It’s not just the mortgage and the taxes you should consider either. Think about what it’s going to cost for landscaping in the summer, snow removal in the winter, repairs to the house and appliances which may break and need replacing. It’s always a good idea to save 2% of your home’s value for repairs and general upkeep every year.

If this isn’t something you feel like you can afford on one paycheck, consider downsizing and moving into a smaller home or apartment. Once you move, you’ll also have to think about getting new furniture, dishware, and maybe a new bed to help make your new space a home.

Usually, couples figure out living arrangements during the divorce but since it is such a stressful time, you may feel like you didn’t choose the best long term living arrangements for you. When everything is over, thinking about where you want to live and putting some money towards that is an important thing to consider to set yourself up for success moving forward.

Self-Care

It’s okay to take a little time to yourself after the divorce. It’s a stressful time and there’s nothing wrong with putting a little money aside for self-care.

How can you best position yourself for success if you haven’t started moving on? Take a day, unwind, and maybe try something new.

Go to the salon and get that new hairstyle you’ve been wanting to try. Or maybe you finally take that yoga class you’ve been thinking about. Whatever you need, you should take time and treat yourself so you are mentally prepared for whatever comes next in your life. Remember to put yourself first during this stressful time. If you’re not in a good headspace, you won’t be able to positively affect those around you.

Divorce Party!

Celebrating a divorce coming to a close with your most supportive friends is a fun and stress relieving event which can help put a positive close to such a hard time in your life.

Divorce parties are becoming more popular and for good reason. It’s nice to know that when your life changes completely, you still have a great support structure around you to help you move forward.

Think About New Ways to Manage Your Money

I see a lot of people trying to pay off debts right after a divorce but it’s not always a good idea to have zero dollars in your bank account so you have zero debt.

Some debt is healthy and you can use it to your advantage.

For example, it might be a better idea to put your money into a retirement account with 9% interest than to completely pay off a car payment with 3% interest. If you decide to pay off the car loan, you are missing out on the 6% interest you could have made in the long run from investing in your retirement while also continuing to pay off your car month by month.

As long as you have a healthy amount of debt with good interest rates, you can invest your money elsewhere and win out long term. This is something I help women with every day as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.

What Do You Need?

These are all examples of things you could potentially use your money for after divorce but we’re all different. Think about what YOU need.

Just because the morning news or your neighbors tell you it’s good to pay off debts immediately after a divorce doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.

Maybe you want to start an online business, maybe you want to take a road trip and travel the country, or maybe you want to move to a different country altogether! All of these things are possible and each one of them has different financial considerations.

It’s always a good idea to consult with a financial professional so they can help you figure out the best place for your money no matter what you are trying to do with your life.

What else should someone consider spending money on after a divorce? Let me know in the comments!

The post 5 Things You Should Definitely Spend Money On After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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money smart divorce

10 Steps For a Money Smart Divorce

money smart divorce

 

When your marriage is ending, you have a lot on your mind including the past and the present. If you plan to make smart money decisions during your divorce, you will need to be focusing on your future as well.

Focusing on your future can really help when you are divorcing. Many couples learn the hard way and don’t examine their financial resources and assets to secure a financial future because they are too emotionally connected to the act of the divorce. Think of your divorce as a business deal and put the emotions aside so you can concentrate on the numbers.

10 Steps for a Money Smart Divorce

Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

The best idea to examine your credit is to get a copy of your credit report before the divorce so that anything in dispute on it can be resolved in advance of the finalization of your divorce. Contact the big three including Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax so you can get a copy of your report from each one.

This is the quickest manner to get all the information you need in one spot about outstanding loan balances, mortgage debt, and credit card debt that you and your spouse will need to divide in the divorce proceedings.

Open Individual Accounts in Your Name

This is another item on your to-do list before your divorce is official. It’s easier to get a credit card and a bank account solely in your name while you are still married because you share joint assets and debt on your credit cards, mortgages, and loans with your spouse.

This is of the utmost importance if you are a woman and have never established credit before. As people age and they don’t have credit, then it is almost impossible to get credit because they are seen as having no background with credit to be considered for a credit card and thus will be denied just because of no credit background.

Close all Your Joint Accounts

Divorces can be a long-drawn-out process that can take a lot of time. You want to close out all your joint accounts with your spouse to avoid acquiring more joint debt or losing shared bank assets during the process.

Cancel the accounts in writing and make certain to request that each creditor report the account as “closed by customer” to the credit bureaus so it does not reflect badly on your individual credit reports. Even though you close out all of the accounts, you will still be jointly responsible with your spouse to pay off the balance on each closed account.

Keep Property Separated

The assets that you acquired before the marriage and brought into the marriage, such as vehicles, real estate, an inheritance, gifts of any kind and money you had before the marriage are your separate property and they are yours after the divorce. You need to make sure and keep these separated in order to be awarded them.

For example, if you had a monetary inheritance and the money went into a joint bank account after you got married, then the court will consider this joint property and they can divide it according to the property laws of the state in which you reside. Keep in mind that your separate debt also travels with you. If you had a student loan and your spouse was jointly helping to pay the payments on it, you carry the balance out of the marriage with you.

Consider Selling the House

Women divorcees often want to keep the marital home at any cost because of emotional ties to it and the family. You should look at this issue and set aside your emotions. If you may not be able to afford the payments, then you can lose the home in the future.

You might consider selling the marital home and using the money to purchase a smaller home that you can easily afford with money left over as a financial cushion in the case that you would need it. This is especially important in an economy where we have no clue what the future will hold.

Change Your Beneficiaries

Most married couples name their spouse as their beneficiary on wills, trusts, IRAs, life insurance, and pension plans so that if one dies, the other will have the money to take care of the children. You really don’t want your ex to have a windfall of money in the case that you have an untimely demise. You can also examine each of these documents when you make changes to them and change your marital status on them at the same time.

Reclaim Your Maiden Name

Many women want to reclaim their maiden name to sever the ties of the relationship after a divorce. You will be required to have proof of the divorce decree in order to do this. You have a long list of to do’s here. You need to get a new driver’s license and report your name change to your employer, doctors, human resources department, your children’s teachers and schools, your landlord, mail person, health insurer and your pharmacist.

You will need to redo your W-4, other tax forms and report the name change to the Social Security Administration. You could lose valuable credits on your social security if there is a mix up with the names.

Check into Your Retirement

If you are pretty close to retirement age, you should check into your Social Security benefits. If you are 62 or older, were married for 10 years or more and have been divorced more than two years, without remarrying and you don’t qualify for an equal or higher Social Security benefits on your own, you can receive benefits that are based on your ex-spouse’s Social Security record even if your ex has not applied for benefits that they are eligible to receive. If you remarry, those benefits will end.

If you are raising a child that is under the age of 16 from the marriage you may be able to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record even if your marriage didn’t last 10 years. Usually, you can expect the same amount you would have gotten if you had remained married and sometimes all of it if your ex-spouse dies. The benefits you draw on your ex-spouse’s account do not affect amounts that are due to your ex-spouse’s current spouse.

Keep Your Health Coverage If at all Possible

If you are divorcing, try to keep health coverage if at all possible. One uncovered medical emergency can cripple you financially for the rest of your life. The COBRA program ensures that you are guaranteed 18 months of health coverage. It’s best to pay the much higher fees but remains with health coverage until you can find a lesser expensive alternative.

Get Up and Get Going

It’s recommended to get your credit report again about three months after your divorce is finalized. This will enable you to clean up any loose ends and to see all of your debts and assets in one area. If you received a lump sum payout in the divorce, you may want to consult a financial planner to ensure that it is well taken care of and don’t buy that fancy new sports car that you’ve always wanted.

Remember that you can live well no matter what your net worth is or what your marital status is.

These items on your to-do list will help you to remain financially sound after a divorce when you will need to handle all of your own finances. It’s a hard task, but the more you can put aside emotions, the better off you will be on your own.

The post 10 Steps For a Money Smart Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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10 Easy Ways to Save Money After Divorce

10 Easy Ways to Save Money After Divorce

Let’s Make Your Life Financially Easier

The post 10 Easy Ways to Save Money After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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save money as a single mom

12 Ways to Save Money as a Single Mom

save money as a single mom

 

Raise your hand if you’re a single mom and you want to know how to save money. Budgeting can be expensive for two or more if you’re the only breadwinner.

It can be overwhelming to manage your funds, especially if you have no idea where to start. But the good news is that we have heard your prayers and we’ve got 12 tested ways to help you as a single parent save money.

How to Save Money as a Single Mom:

1. Sort your Bills

An enormous number of bills can be overwhelming to sort through if you let them pile up. It’s wise to organize your bills according to criteria so that you know the exact amount that you owe and to whom. Try and pay off each bill as they come so that you don’t get tied down with paying a bunch of them at once.

2. Recognize the Bad Egg

Remember that gym subscription that you really wanted and never used? Or that arts and crafts class that your child despises? Let’s face it, they’re a waste of money.

It’s very important to know the difference between something that adds value to your life and something that is just siphoning your money away for no good reason.

Sorting out the bad from the good, and closing accounts or ending subscriptions that you don’t lose can save you plenty of money in the long run.

3. Budgeting 101

Budgets? They’re boring but necessary. Keeping your monthly spending in check can be tough but its a great way to keep an eye on what you’re spending, as well as what you can cut down on.

You can start small with budgeting. It’s wise, to begin with, a weekly budget, and once you get a hold of it, monthly ones will be easy-peasy.

4. A Savings Account Saves the Day

Savings accounts don’t sound appealing because you only live once right? Wrong. With a child, you need to be able to prepare for a rainy day. You never know when you may have to splurge on a new uniform or an unexpected doctor’s visit.

Set aside an amount each month that you can afford to save and set up a direct deposit or standing order to transfer it into your savings. Within a few months, you’ll already have a sizeable amount you can rely on in times of crisis.

5. Paid Bills and Overdue Smiles

Have you been missing out on time with your kids because you’re too busy paying bills?

Mothers, don’t sleep on your bills. Rather pay them off immediately if you have the option as this will maintain a good credit record. It will also give you a sense of freedom and more quality time with your kids.

6. Don’t Borrow Liabilities

Loans become a necessity when you have growing expenses. As a single mother, there are responsibilities that you have to carry out and borrowing can be inevitable.

However, only borrow what you need and not what you want. If you can’t afford a new dress or a new coffee machine, don’t buy one until you can. Loans should only be for absolute necessities.

Make sure that you have read the small print and know all the terms and conditions about interest rates, deadlines and the source you are borrowing from.

7. Solo is your New Yolo

Joint ventures may have been a good idea but so is cutting ties when it no longer serves your purpose. Opting out from all joint ventures, such as joint bank accounts, with your ex should really boost your savings and leave you plenty of breathing room.

We know its hard to manage everything on your own, but it’s not impossible.

8. Low Prices Exist

As a buyer, you are obliged to pay whatever the price tag says. But you don’t have to pay the first price you see.

You can hack your growing spending in the craftiest of ways. Online platforms are amazing if you just take some time to see what’s on offer.

Using price comparison websites and doing research online can bring up all sorts of deals on the same or very similar products. See what’s out there before you commit to the first price.

9. Thrifts are Canny

Second-hand shops aren’t really for everyone – especially with the raving fascination for Gucci and Prada. However, stylish doesn’t have to mean expensive.

You would be amazed at the awesome clothes and other accessories you can find in thrift stores for you and your kids at hugely discounted prices. Once you go thrift, you never go back.

10. Meal Prep and Weekends In

Eating out is convenient and tempting, but cutting down on these little dinners out can save you loads of money. While cooking in and preparing meals can take a hefty amount of your time, it’s rewarding and you can be sure of what you and your kids are putting into your bodies.

Both your health and your purse will benefit.

11. Discounts and Coupons are Class

Discounts and coupons are a lifesaver when it comes to saving money as a single parent. Collecting them and being on the lookout for promo codes can be economical.

Keep an eye out for coupons in store, in magazines and online coupons to get discounted prices on groceries, clothing and even haircuts.

12. Honesty is the Best Policy

As an adult, it’s your job to provide for as well as discipline your kids Be vocal and firm about saying no to your kids. Explain the importance of savings to your child. The best way to save some cash is through communication and teamwork.

Final Reflection

Getting your finances in check as a single mother can be really tough at first. Whether you are a newly single mom or have been for a while, budgets and healthy finances are the new normal.

The most important way to start is by setting small goals, motivating yourself and not surrendering to temptation.

It will be hard but with trial and error, you definitely can and will rock the life of a money-savvy single mother with a little perseverance.

The post 12 Ways to Save Money as a Single Mom appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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