DivorcingEve's Blog

March 30, 2011

Help Friends Help You Through Divorce

Filed under: Coping with,Divorce — by divorcingeve @ 10:13 pm
Tags: , ,

The following article was written by Stacy Morrison, author of “Falling Apart in One Piece: One Optimist’s Journey Through the Hell of Divorce,” who is the former editor-in-chief of Redbook magazine and was featured on CNN Living on 3/29/2011.

(CNN) — Friends always say “Whatever you need, call me.” And they mean it. Trouble is, when you’ve been shattered, asking for any kind of help just reinforces the sense that you are a big, hot mess.

Plus, trying to come up with a way for your friends to get you past some of what you’re feeling at the moment seems like an impossible task. Better to stay home alone again, right?

So why not e-mail this article to all your friends instead? It will make it easier for them to get in the driver’s seat in helping you get through these hard months.

I NEED YOU TO: Call me up and say, “Hey! Let me take you out for margaritas on Friday!” And if I say no, promise you’ll call again in a week or two and try again. Sometimes the last-minute plans work best. It’s hard to put dates on the calendar to go out and have fun when you’re living through so much heartbreak.

So pay attention to what night the kids (if there are any) are out with their other parent and call the day before. Chances are good I haven’t made any plans, and you’ll be saving me from another lonely night at home staring at the wall and wondering how I got here.

I NEED YOU TO: Send me stupid/cute/funny YouTube videos that I probably won’t watch. But I’ll be happy to know that someone is trying to keep me on the light side of things.

And someday when I’m scrolling through my in-box (maybe on a night I told you I wasn’t up for going out for margaritas), I’ll start watching the sneezing baby panda or the cat bowling or the always-good-for-a-laugh Justin Timberlake/Beyonce SNL skit.

And then I’ll be so grateful for the distraction that was sent to me with love and friendship good intent instead of just mindlessly surfing the Web for shoes on sale for the 1,000th time.

I NEED YOU TO: Buy or cook me some healthy food that you know I like. It’s not like I lost my arms when I lost my spouse, but for some reason, cooking dinner for myself just seems like a total waste of time, after I’d been so used to making meals for two for a decade. So dinner has rapidly devolved into things I can take from the freezer and heat and eat without too much attention or interest.

I want to be reminded that I actually do want to eat fresh tabbouleh salad and grilled salmon, but I need someone to put it in front of me! Help me make this first step toward starting to take care of myself again.

I NEED YOU TO: Send me a card, or three. Getting a piece of mail, even a dopey card, is a reminder that someone is thinking about the fact that I’m going through a hard time.

It feels especially good because I open the mail when I’ve come home after work, and I’m tired, and I’m entering a house that doesn’t have a spouse, and I have to to put on a game face for my child, and then face the empty hours in the house alone after they’ve gone to bed.

The card in the mail is a guarantee for a little less self-loathing that night, company with no strings attached. Sounds good, right? Get thee to a card store, pronto!

I NEED YOU TO: Ask me to go for a walk, and ask again and again until I say yes.

Yes, I know that it’s true that moving my body and getting my heart rate up has huge positive impact on mood, metabolism and mindspace. But sometimes it’s all I can do to go to work and get home and collapse on the sofa.

So keep suggesting that you’ll take a short, 15-minute walk with me: “It’ll do you some good, and I promise we don’t have to talk about anything if you don’t want to.” Do it until I say yes. I will say yes eventually, especially if it’s nice out, and then I’ll realize that (1) nature calms, (2) walking and not talking with someone you trust is healing, and (3) my body releases stress just by moving it without the specific intent of getting from Point A to Point B.

But one important tip: Do not turn this walk into interview time. “How are you? What’s happening with the divorce? How are the kids?”

These questions are already on constant playback in my mind, and they don’t have definite answers. What I desperately need is accepting, loving company and some empty space in my head. Thank you for helping me with that.

I NEED YOU TO: Come up with ideas of fun things to do with my/our kids.

Parenting is very overwhelming in the initial stages of a breakup, and the creativity of my parenting has dropped by about, oh, 98.5%, as I’ve been adjusting to doing everything on my own. (Yes, I might have already thought I was doing everything on my own before the breakup, but after the separation comes the brutal realization that having another body in the house is a huge help, no matter what they did or didn’t do.)

So if you’ve just bought tickets to a Dan Zanes concert or are planning to go to the local science museum, pick up the phone and call me!

I do know that I should be filling those long weekend stretches of being a single parent with activities, but frankly, making advance plans is often more than I can handle.

So if I get a call from you on Saturday morning saying, “Hey, I’m taking the kids out for dim sum, want to join us?” I will probably shout “Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh God, thank you for saving me from another blank Saturday.”

And the best part? I bet my child will get really tired from all the fun, and will go fast to sleep without a peep – – and then I’ll enjoy my few hours of alone time that night feeling like I might be working out as a parent, after all.




September 17, 2010

There’s a four letter word for financial statements

Filed under: Steps in the divorce process — by divorcingeve @ 5:59 pm
Tags: ,

The divorce financial statement.

All I can say is ‘argh’ since it’s highly inappropriate for me to post the real four-letter word I want to attribute to this process. What a pain. I find the whole thing ironic and hilarious. A good majority of divorces end over money issues- the stress of not having enough or someone misspending or the other keeping strict judmental tabs. Resentments build over the partner working part-time or anxiety prevents joyful vacations and fun social activities. Great marriages can implode over money.

So what’s the first thing you have to do when you’re getting divorced? Create a financial statement of what you earn and spend, then share it with the other person. As if it’s any of their damn business anymore.

I’ve been kicking my feet over this. My divorce is a somewhat amicable situation and I’m thrifty (not to be confused with cheap or stringent), but I still resent having to explain exactly where child support goes or how much I’m making…especially when my ex spends extravagantly on himself or offers inconsistent unreliable help with child care. I worry he’ll critique my spending habits or comment how I’m not living up to my earning potential. But mostly, I don’t want to share my life with this man anymore, and giving him this form feels like an invasion of my newly found privacy.

Regardless of my feelings though, I have to do it. It will get filled out and sent in, because bottom line is…it must get done. And just like everything else that I’ve had to deal with since he’s left, I’ll muddle through it with a smile (and saying those four letter words the whole time).

May 25, 2010

Messages from LOST

I’m a huge LOST fanatic and have been in mourning since Saturday’s rerun of the pilot. Sunday’s finale capped off my sadness as I unleashed more tears and hysterical sobbing over (insert description of last scene- just in case anyone out there hasn’t seen it yet).

So in light of a good night’s sleep, I’ve been able to take the messages of LOST and move on to an island-less, smoke monster free world. And isn’t that what LOST was all about anyway? But why am I writing about LOST here? Well, I think the final messages are key things to remember for your divorce process.

  1. The things you fret and worry about are really insignificant.
  2. You need to let go of those insignificant things you fret and worry about.
  3. If you love someone, or once in your life really loved someone, that love is a light that will carry you on (even if you now dislike that person).
  4. Life is full of challenges- you can choose to use those challenges to redeem yourself and set yourself down a path of higher intention, or you can continue to make the same wrong choices (and be destroyed- although most likely not by a smoke monster).
  5. When all is said and done, life is about relationships- friendships, family, significant partnerships, etc.
  6. Love and joy will always overcome pain and heartbreak.
  7. There are always second chances.
  8. Love comes at the strangest moments and often from the oddest, most unlikely places.
  9. (And if you’re like me and will someday rewatch the entire season-) If you learn the important lessons, you can see things through different eyes. Just make sure you don’t lose what you internalize.

So that’s it. LOST is over and there will be no more new moments with my favorite island castaways. Now what do I do with my Tuesday nights?

May 5, 2010


Filed under: Coping with,Divorce — by divorcingeve @ 6:14 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Katherine McPhee, “How”

They say, Get up out of that bed turn the lights on
Gotta try to forget where it went wrong
Don’t you beat yourself up asking questions
Love’s gonna come your way again, oh

They say, Step outside of your door let the light in
You never really escape when you hide in
All I want is to be set free
From this pain that is haunting me

Can you tell me how?
When I am broken down and all hope is over
Can you tell me how?
Too many pieces of my heart to put back together

If I could I’d take hold of myself
Pull me out of this living hell
Can you tell me how?
Can you tell me how?
How? How? How? How? How? How? How?

They say you just gotta let go and move on
You’re only hurting yourself when you hold on
All I want is to lose this pain
Every drop of it washed away, yea.
Can you tell me how?
When I am broken down and all hope is over
Can you tell me how?
Too many pieces of my heart to put back together

If I could I’d take hold of myself
Pull me out of this living hell
Can you tell me how?
Can you tell me how?
How? How? How? How? How? How? How?

How do I leave this love behind, how?
Can you tell me how?

March 13, 2010

For Better or Worse…which is it?

I thought I’d piggy back on a recent posting at The Divorce Encouragist about the book, For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered by E. Mavis Hetherington and John Kelly. I read this book recently, looking for hints and tricks to get out of this divorce process with my dignity and self-esteem intact. Anything to alleviate the fear that I’m destroying the lives of my children and setting us all up for a lifetime of failed relationships. Heavy responsibility and expectations for a book, huh? Fortunately, Ms. Mavis did not fail to deliver.

I don’t want to turn this into a book review or even give away the ending, but I do want to highlight the one piece that reassured me so that my sleepless nights aren’t so much about the hazardous repercussions of my divorce (don’t worry, I have way more to wrestle with in the wee hours of the morning to keep these  black circles imprinted on my face). YOU CAN BE BETTER OFF AFTER YOUR DIVORCE! And I don’t mean just getting out of a  bad marriage (bad marriage as defined by abusive,  neglectful, inhibiting, dissatisfying, painful, tragic, unhappy, distrustful, boring, etc). And even if you thought it was a good marriage, YOU CAN BE BETTER OFF AFTER YOUR DIVORCE!

I’ve been feeling guilty as I feel like my life suddenly began when my husband left me. As if I had been living in a weird fog, not being the person I could be or should be. I thought that was what life was, and not that I wasn’t happy, but I realized after he left how much more NOT happy I had been. I’m sure that makes no sense, but if you’ve been there, you get it and can hopefully read through the lack of clarity.

Anyway, Ms. Mavis writes that a percentage of people become Enhancers after their divorce- people who not only survive their divorce, but use it to make a better life. They reach for their dreams, overcome roadblocks, learn from their mistakes and build new solid foundations and relationships. I hope I’ve been doing that. I’ve been surrounding myself with people who believe this is possible and encourage it (shout out to the ladies at One Journey Consulting). Because you can’t do this alone, believe me. Those dark nights and recesses of your mind can take over and pull you under. So if you’re going through a divorce, latch onto some Enhancers. They will show you the way and be your light!

February 1, 2010

Why Talk Shows are Sometimes Good for You

Filed under: Coping with,Divorce,Relationships with others — by divorcingeve @ 7:20 pm
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I was overjoyed this morning to catch Elizabeth Gilbert on The Bonnie Hunt Show. I’m currently rereading her best seller, Eat, Pray, Love, and have her newest book, Committed, awaiting my perusal. The first book has been vital in my own divorce and personal journey, so I was excited to hear what she had to say, to see her ‘in person’ and share a moment of space with her (even 1000 miles away).

And I wasn’t disappointed. What naturally evolved on Bonnie’s show was a glimpse into the lives and hearts of 3 divorced women (I admit my attention turned back to work when the 4th woman, a young blonde came on). The honesty, the pure display of emotion and depth of truth struck me- I felt like I was hanging out with girlfriends, not watching a talk show (so thank you for that Bonnie!).

And what came out of the show was an overwhelming message that a change needs to happen in our society. Women in today’s society struggle with and in a marriage. We long for the ‘wedding’, but no one prepares us for the ‘marriage’. For dealing with our loss of identity, our constant need to be perfect, our compromise in our career vs family, and what is expected of us, etc.

I remember, when I got married, feeling such a culture shock. Who was I now- I had a new name, new responsibility, new identity. I had no idea who that Mrs. person was and as the years went on, I forgot who the Miss person was and she disappeared completely. And I wasn’t the only one. Many of my girlfriends have said the same thing.

I don’t know what the answers are, but I can’t wait to read Gilbert’s book to see what she says. And I’m wondering if her second marriage is bringing her the fulfillment that her first marriage didn’t- and if so, what’s she’s done differently that has made it so. I’m assuming it’s the finding happiness within herself and coming to the relationship as a stronger, more complete woman. Something we should all do before we commit to someone else. Something I plan to achieve as well.


January 25, 2010

Strangers in the night

Filed under: Divorce — by divorcingeve @ 3:36 pm
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I’m rereading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and loving it again. I read it a few months after my ex moved out and it helped me tremendously. It lay the foundation for a yearlong pursuit of yoga and meditation, as well as a weird sense of inner peace. Since I’ve been feeling so erratic and tense lately, putting on weight and just not recognizing what I see in the mirror anymore, I thought I’d revisit the book (and set the stage for her new one, Committed, about her second marriage).

In the first third of the book, Gilbert describes the end of her marriage. She writes about how her husband became a stranger to her during the divorce process. How she didn’t understand how someone she had lived with for years, shared intimate details and activities with, etc. could become a completely unrecognizable.

This hit me with full force because it’s been something I’ve been struggling with. I remember the exact moment the man I had loved disappeared before my eyes. He had faded a bit months before, and became a hologram of himself, when I caught him in his first lie. With each one he got lighter and lighter. Then when he finally confessed to his affair, he was gone.  Zapped out of existence into some weird void and replaced by a face and body I didn’t know.

And each time I think I see a glimpse of the man I had spent over a decade with, the new version does something to remind me that man is only a distant memory. He no longer exists. Which is good, I guess. Makes it easier to move on, because who wants to be married to a complete unknown?

January 23, 2010

Divorce Agreement

Filed under: Coping with,Divorce — by divorcingeve @ 10:48 pm
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I edited my divorce agreement today. It’s been sitting in my inbox for weeks, initially drafted months ago. While I keep wanting to finalize my separation and get to the end of this long road, I drag my feet.


It’s not because I have second thoughts about the end of my marriage to X-man (as I just decided to call him). Our marriage was over long before he moved out. Our separation is a good thing for both of us.

It’s not because I don’t want to be divorced either. As much as I hate to admit it, I can’t wait until the day I can put on my Facebook status- single! I’m sick of this no man’s land between married and not really married.

It’s not because I’m not ready for a new beginning. I am and even just lit the New Beginnings candle I bought last week to create some positive energy.

So what is my problem? Ugh!

January 19, 2010

Dare to Date…Again? Not yet.

Filed under: Dating Again — by divorcingeve @ 4:10 pm
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This past weekend, I attended the One Journey Consulting Dare to Date…Again workshop. It was amazing! And while I’m not ready to post my profile on Match.com just yet, I did take major steps in healing from my impending divorce.

Renee and Di, the coaches at OJC, had us do a variety of exercises including rating the reasons we want to start dating again (or might want to). There were about 15 statements, ranging from ‘to have fun’ to ‘finding someone to love me always’. I was proud to say that most of my reasons were healthy ones on the grand scale, but two jumped out at me:

1. To find someone to take care of me— which I rated as ‘sometimes’. Now my definition of taking care of me isn’t financial (although a rich boyfriend would be fun!), but it’s more of someone to relieve me of a few burdens or tasks. Like coming over and making me dinner, or washing my car, or rubbing my feet, making me laugh, etc. Stuff I don’t like to do, but have to because I’m the only one around to do it. Stuff that pampers me or is a special treat. Stuff that shows I’m important to someone.

2. To feel encouraged and supported–rated as ‘often’. I admit, I miss having my own cheerleader- someone who believed in me, listened and asked questions. An active listener who collaborated and stimulated my mind. And yes, this was a piece in the ending of my marriage (and topic for another blog post) as I felt my husband didn’t do any of that (and again, another topic for later as I explain my role in this).

Neither are unhealthy reasons to start dating again, but ones that I will have to pay attention to. I don’t want to find just anyone to rub my feet or do stuff for me. And I will have to watch out for getting involved again with someone who makes me feel uninteresting (as well as make sure I don’t hide my interestingness(?) from them- again another post!).

But for now, I’m not actively looking. There’s no profile up on online dating sites, nor am I trolling public places for available men. However, I’m one step closer to thinking I might want to share my life with someone again! And a giant leap forward in understanding my role in the demise of my past relationships so I don’t do it again in future ones. Thanks Renee and Di!


December 14, 2009

Dealing with anger- when is it still okay?

My (soon-to-be) ex was recently hospitalized for emergency surgery.  After a rough few days, he’s pulling through and on the mend. It will take a few weeks, but he’ll be okay.

I realized during this time, how much has changed. While I was still his emergency contact, I really shouldn’t have been. His parents should’ve been contacted first, instead of me. And although I went to see him immediately, I felt out of place. I’ve been up to visit almost every day, but can barely manage to stay 45 minutes. We have very little to say to each other.

How does that happen? How is it possible that in a year and half, someone you spent over a decade with becomes a complete stranger? That I look at him in the hospital bed and feel nothing.

Now, before you think I’m a cruel person, I should add that while in the hospital he told me how he was out doing something completely inappropriate when he was so sick, he couldn’t have our children for an overnight. Yes, while I was dealing with sad children who missed their dad and were worried that he might have the flu, he was out doing xyz. And I can’t let it go.

I’m angry, so frustrated with his behavior (these consistent self-centered choices are what ended our marriage) and can’t muster up the empathy to be in the same room with him right now. I hate being this bitter person and had worked so hard not to be. Do I have the right to be angry? Am I horrible and cold-hearted?

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