10 things my divorce taught me

 I had apparently written this post awhile back and didn’t find it until I was cleaning my office. I had shoved it in a bag. Since I have several friends going through divorces, and its the first official day of the 31 days of challenge, it seemed like an appropriate time to share. I haven't planned out any posts for the month, I haven't even really thought about topics. At this point I hope I can keep attempting to be funny and not have the challenge be a giant therapy session.
Top 10 things my (first) divorce taught me
 

1.      People are passionate about your business. For some reason they think they are an expert on your life and know what is best for you to do. Believe me; they aren’t afraid to offer advice and then trash talk you, when you don’t follow it.

2.      You find out who your friends are. It’s not uncommon to lose friends during a divorce. I don’t know why people feel the need to choose sides, but they do. It’s like a reverse wedding and everyone is sitting on the left or the right depending on who they support. I’m sad to say I lost custody of some friends due to the divorce.

3.      I was stronger than I thought I was. By the end I was just relieved. I felt like I was laying on the beach after a 10 mile run. Or what I imagine that would feel like. I’d never be able to run 10  1 mile.

4.      Children are resilient. My kids broke my heart crying over the divorce. Emmy had episodes of peeing on herself. As someone whose job is working with teachers and children plus my BS in early childhood development I was internally hysterical. I couldn’t stop worrying about all the damage I was doing. When the dust settled the kids are fine.

5.      It’s possible for two angry, hurt, emotionally scarred people to put petty differences aside and truly do what’s right. An example is we have shared custody with no primary custodial parent. We split everything down the middle.

6.      Don’t sweat the small stuff. I know I mentioned this is in my post about annoying phrases but it’s true. So what if they don’t do everything exactly like they would if they were at your house. It’s not your house and what works for them may not be the same for you both. Although I would suggest agreeing on big things like bed time and caffeine intake.

7.      Don’t rush the healing process. Take time for yourself and the kids if you have them. Don’t feel you need to fill your life with a replacement right away. I did and that ended up in a divorce less than a year later. Two divorces in two years is a hard lesson to learn. Be in the now and work on your hurt, grieve, then move on.

8.      If you start to date don’t drag your kids into it until you are pretty sure it’s going to last awhile. They are resilient but they still need structure and routine. Different guys/girls is confusing for kids. They become afraid to form attachments for fear that the person will leave. Greg and I had been dating for 9 months before the girls ever met him. I saw him while the girls were at their dads. I also limited how much I talked about him in front of them.

9.      Take yourself out of potential drama before it happens. In the beginning of my divorce my ex would share his frustration over the thing happening on his facebook. He kinda treated it like a blog. I was friends with him, so I could see what he was saying, and I could see the negative comments from others. So I unfriended him. I didn’t want to see that. I eventually had to block him, because I found myself wanting to still read what he was saying. That was the best decision ever. I don’t need to interrupt his feelings and I don’t need to read comments from people who think they knew what was going on. I needed to focus on me and helping the girls.

10.  Don’t EVER say anything even remotely negative about the other party in ear shot of the kids (I’ll even extend that to don’t say anything about their family either). They love these people as much as they love you and doing this will make them feel weird about their feelings. You don’t want them to feel like they need to choose, or defend the other party, or keep their feelings a secret. It will only cause resentment in the long run. If you have a new partner, don’t let them do it as well. I overheard a step mom saying that Her kids need to go back to “the mom” that night. She ranted about how worthless the mom was and the whole tone was just snarky. I cringed inside. She will only hurt her relationship with the girls if they were to hear her use that tone. No matter how awful the relationship, no matter what the woman (or man) has done, bite your tongue, and watch your tone.

3 comments

  1. I think more people need #10 in their life. I have a friend who went through a messy divorce and his daughter will sometimes innocently ask him things like, "Mommy said you're a 'rug addict.' What does that mean?" (She probably heard drug addict and didn't understand what it was... also, this friend is a jiu jitsu coach, he's never touched a drug in his life. The ex is just trying to make their kid hate him. It's stupid)

    Also, a little birdy told me your book SHOULD finally get there tomorrow. Drop us a comment or an e-mail when it arrives just so we know it got there safely.

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  2. My wife lost nearly all of her friends in her divorce. Her ex (an extrovert, while she is an introvert) just went around and, basically, claimed them all by talking bad about her and stuff.

    Personally, I think making comments about things like a divorce on facebook is just bad taste. It's not the place for that kind of thing. If someone feels like they need a blog to deal with it, s/he should start a blog. Doing it on facebook is kind of like going to the mall and yelling it all out right there.

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  3. I like your list. I've heard about losing friends after a divorce. And yes, it's best not to bash the other side though I imagine that can get tough at times.

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