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Suddenly Divorced? How To Avoid These Five Pitfalls

SURPRISE I was divorced at 41, remarried the same man, then divorced again at 50, from the same man… (yep, I did that). It sucked, it was scary, my “dream life” had turned into a nightmare and I had to start over, again.  I realized; this wasn’t my dress rehearsal, this was real life, and it was about to change completely. I had to find myself, find my passion if there was any left, and maybe even love again! There was work to do in the meantime, I tried not to make too many mistakes… and I held on to the idea that when I came out “the other side” I would be wiser and maybe even happier.

shutterstock_parents pulling kids1. I did not… put the kids in the middle… never, ever!  You will be the “bad guy” some day if you disparage, degrade, torture, humiliate or ruin your ex. Remember, the kids are a part of both of you, they don’t want to pick sides, and they shouldn’t have to. You are a grown up, so act like one.

2. When it came to a settlement… I  didn’t want negotiations to drag on, because I didn’t want the kids or myself to be in limbo. Be generous if you are the primary breadwinner. Your soon to be ex is someone you loved enough to marry and possibly have children with. What life do you want your kids to be living when they aren’t with you?  I now had a new lifestyle for myself and two boys. The best thing is, it wasn’t a long, drawn out divorce blood bath. My ex and I maintained respect and kindness for each other, which is priceless.

3. I wish I had not… made ANY major decisions the first two years after being divorced. I moved, and then I moved again for emotional reasons. It caused upheaval with the boys and with my bank account.  I bought a Mustang convertible… fun, but silly, and a time share in Hawaii, which was just plain stupid. When the first two years were over, I had less money and was still an emotional mess. The new house and car did not help at all! I wish I sat tight and waited until the emotional “crazy time” had settled down and I could have made smart, conscience choices.

4. One smart thing I did… After being divorced, I did not date for over a year. I wasn’t emotionally ready to give another man my time or love. I also didn’t want to bring a stranger into the mix. We were all trying to find our equilibrium. I am glad I gave myself time to mourn the loss of the marriage and the family unit. I’m proud I took the time to watch Oprah and Dr. Phil, cry my eyes out, read self-help books, watch “Overboard” and “Dirty Dancing” 100 times, and figure out who I was. I believe getting into a new relationship too soon is like alcohol, it may mask the pain, but it’s still there. It takes time to heal a broken home and heart, so do yourself a favor, and take the time. The kids certainly don’t need another character in this drama.


5. I tried not to… bad mouth my ex, but what a jerk! The thing is, no one wanted to hear it, and no one really cared. Don’t make your friends pick “sides.” Your real friends will be there, and others won’t. I called it “skimming off the scum.” It showed me who my loyal friends were, and I didn’t have to waste time and energy on the artificial ones. So, don’t get down in the gutter. I know you want to lash out,  but hold your head high. Make YOURSELF proud. You are always teaching your kids and the people around you who you are and what you believe. Adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals it. The respect you garner during this time will make a big impact on the rest of your life and the people you have in it.

HINDSIGHT... Unless it’s an unbearable situation, it may be worth “toughing it out.” The kids do suffer when you get divorced. Remember, no matter what parent they are spending time with, they are always missing the other one. If your soon to be ex is the mother or father of your children, you both share a bond that is life long,  you share a love for your children that no one else will.

Most of us end up in “different” relationships, but not “better” relationships. The happiest couples I know today were not more satisfied when they were younger, they just hung in there. Now in mid-life they are enjoying their kids and grandkids together as a family unit. The holidays aren’t split between two separate households. So, maybe it’s worth putting some time and effort into the relationship instead of giving up… as Dr. Phil would say you have to “earn your way out” of a marriage, and KNOW you did everything possible to make it work. If divorce is the only option, take care of you, make your children your number ONE priority, and know, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to go through the dark to get there.

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  • Reply
    Melanie Boylan
    December 9, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Very practical advice in a very emotional moment in time. I went through a divorce myself but I have to say my ex-husband was a saint. Even though it was a “nice” break up all the dreams of forever are broken and it really does take a lot of adjustment. Very sympathetic and useful post. Shared x

    • Reply
      Sheryl Scott
      December 10, 2015 at 2:51 am

      I realize now, I was very fortunate to have a wonderful ‘Ex’

  • Reply
    krista kelly
    December 9, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Great insights and advice for women.

  • Reply
    Roslyn Tanner Evans
    December 9, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    What I loved most is your hindsight. Most advice on how to handle divorce does not offer that perspective. Clearly you are expressing ideas from your experience & reflections. Somethings couple can consider if he temperature is not too high.

    • Reply
      Sheryl Scott
      December 10, 2015 at 2:52 am

      Thank you! we learn so much if we take the time to reflect….

  • Reply
    Brenda Niemeyer
    December 9, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    I also really appreciated your hindsight comments. It’s not always easy to hang in there, but may be a choice you really appreciate later.

    • Reply
      Sheryl Scott
      December 10, 2015 at 2:50 am

      Thank you! I’ve had a lot of time to really think about it all and see plus’s and minus’s

  • Reply
    Carol Rundle
    December 10, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Even before my divorce, I found myself counseling friends going through divorces. It continued after my second marriage. While it’s never pleasant, I found it made me more relatable to others and I was able to help them.

    • Reply
      Sheryl Scott
      December 10, 2015 at 2:52 am

      I am sure they appreciated you being there. It’s such a crazy time and helps to have a cool head for advice and support.

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