Divorce in a Small Town

Question:

“I live in a small community. My biggest challenge is I am always seeing my ex and the woman he had an affair with and married on a weekly basis because of the children’s activities. I feel like I can’t “get over” my divorce because I am kept inflamed constantly in the present.”

Answer:

Living in a small community where “everybody knows your name” can pose an additional challenge to those trying to rebuild their life after divorce, particularly when your ex and his partner seem to be omnipresent. Nonetheless, the basic principles of thriving after divorce … Continue reading

Divorce and Separation: Can Ex-Spouses Still be Friends?

Q. “How do I cope with my husband moving on and no longer sharing a friendship after 22 years together? How do I make sure my little boy is OK and doesn’t find it too hard?

A. One important dynamic In divorce is that partners will work through the emotional stages of the divorce process often at very different paces. The one who initiates the divorce has had more time to process and come to terms with a life and an identity outside the marriage. The one who is left behind struggles not only with the loss of the relationship and the dreams of living happily ever after, but also must cope with the shock of being passed over or possibly replaced by someone else.

From your question, I must assume that your husband initiated the divorce and that is why this is feeling particularly difficult for you. I would recommend that instead of seeing you and your ex as friends, … Continue reading

Divorce: Father’s Day Without My Children

Q. “My ex and I now live in different cities and it’s hard to be a non-custodial father. I find days like Father’s Day especially hard when they’re not with me. How do I build my relationship with my kids when I see them mostly in summer and major holidays?”

A. Being a non-custodial parent isn’t easy, but I believe it is definitely possible to be connected and an important part of your children’s lives. Certainly occasions like these Hallmark holidays of Father’s Day and Mother’s Day can end up feeling like more salt in a wound if you’re not prepared.

Keeping current on your children’s quickly evolving lives requires a commitment of time and energy. Luckily with advances in technology, there are many ways to keep in tune with the latest and greatest developments and interests of your children. Phone calls are clearly simple to do, but not always in fashion with the teen crowd. Options like email, text messaging and skype offer immediacy and connection in a format that many children nowadays like to communicate. The option of video skype offers the chance for

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Divorce: When Someone You Loved Now Hates You

Q. “How do I reconcile the fact that the mother of my two beautiful little girls and my once best friend now hates me with all her being? I find this shift from love to hate a hard process to follow.”

A. I think there is a moment everyone has going through separation and divorce where they look at one another and wonder “How did we get from being so in love to being HERE?” We once loved each other, perhaps had children together and dreamed of a “happily ever after” fairy tale ending together, but it comes crashingly to a halt often in a lawyer’s office or during a nasty argument.

The shift you’re experiencing witnessing the mother of your children tell you and demonstrate to you in various ways is very difficult. It feels so painful, and so personal. But this is the perfect time for you to decide to …. Continue reading

Divorce: When Your Ex-Spouse is Loaded and You’re Not

Q. “My ex husband makes 10x the money I make. He can, and does, give our kids anything they want. I don’t have the means to do so. How do I handle this?”

A. It’s easy to fall into a trap of equating economic wealth with your ability to demonstrate love for your children, but I would encourage you to buy into that (pun intended!). The Beatles had it right when they sang, “Money can’t buy me love!” This is an important message to pass on to your children as well. Don’t minimize your contribution to the health and well-being of your children because your income does not match their father’s.

That being said, it would be really beneficial to your children if you and their dad could have a discussion about spending for the children. Obviously you can’t… Continue reading

Divorce Process Stalled?

Question:

“What do you do when resolution is slow? In my case, we decided almost 2 years ago to divorce, but are still in the same house with the “For Sale” sign in the front yard. Limbo sucks! I’ve tried every healthy approach possible. It’s tough to be grateful, patient and sane!”

Answer:

I hear your frustration! I appreciate how difficult it must be for you to have made the decision to separate, yet it’s taking such a long time for your physical reality to line up with that decision. I think many of us can relate to the despair of being in a “limbo” state.

Unfortunately when it comes to … Continue reading

Anger and Betrayal in Divorce

Question:

“Three years down the road, why am I still soooo angry at the betrayal of my husband?”

Answer:

Thank you so much for your honesty in asking this question and, if I may, I’ll give you a blunt answer. You’re still angry because you are getting something out of holding on to your anger. There is some kind of emotional pay-off you receive and that’s why you are choosing to stay angry. I’d like to acknowledge you for asking this question though! It shows me that you are becoming aware that this anger is holding you back. Awareness is the first critical ingredient in transforming any situation, so you… Continue reading

Losing the In-Laws

Question:

“I find it hard to deal with my alienation from my ex-husband’s family. I am an only child, and they had become like my own brothers and sisters. They are polite if we happen to meet publicly, but I have essentially been shunned by them. It doesn’t seem fair.”

Answer:

In an ideal world, people could end their marriages without a significant impact on extended family relationships. In some cases, families do find a way to keep the relationship with the ex-spouse so the connection can be maintained, which is particularly useful when there are children involved.

But the reality is that for many people blood runs thicker than water. Particularly, if the divorce gets messy,…. Continue reading

Divorce and Revenge – What to Do?

Question:

“I still have feelings of anger and revenge towards my ex, and we separated over a year ago now. I feel stuck and let his decision to end our marriage cloud my perspective. How do I let go of this?”

Answer:

You are definitely not alone in holding a lasting grudge and feeling those angers and resentments towards your ex-partner. It’s a fairly common situation and most of us go through that as a phase. However, how long do you want to have this phase last? I’m reminded of a great quote… Continue reading