Tag Archives: divorce

Do-over

19 Apr

I learned recently that Pepe is engaged. It’s weird. It’s uncomfortable. It’s left me reeling a bit. Not because I want to be with him, but because I want someone all my own, too. I suppose part of it is that I want him to suffer as a single-father and toil in that a bit longer; not to have a wife who can share the challenges and work that it takes to go it alone. I am not usually a vengeful person, but I do have to admit I want a little bit of Karma to be doled out to him.

He gets married Memorial Day weekend. That was always the weekend we’d go to NY to be with his family when we were married. As it turns out, it was the weekend they were first together last year when they started dating. Yep. That’s right. They’ve been together less than a year, got engaged a couple weeks ago, and will be married in about 6 weeks. I was thinking about getting him a wedding present–ya know, to say “no hard feelings, enjoy your do-over” or whatever. What do you think about getting him a shirt made with this on it?:

Whatdya think? Too much?

But seriously, that’s what it feels like. A do-over. A mulligan. Screwed up the with the first wife (me) so I am gonna take another shot at this. He says he’s changed. That he’s a different person now. That he’s learned. Blahblahblah (that’s what I hear). For her sake, I hope that is the case. For the sake of our children, I pray that is the case. Loss is loss. Our marriage hasn’t even been over for 2 years yet. Our children are still grieving its loss and adjusting to their new circumstances. Shit, I am still grieving its loss after fifteen years of marriage and 17 years together.

Now, the kids get a step-mom (whom they adore and is an angel to them–I really do like that they like her which makes me like her) and a new brother. A brother they all seem to enjoy.  Am bitter about it? Yes. Bitter that he’s got someone and I am alone. Sucks feeling this way! It’s not the kind of person I usually am (“Bitter party of 1, your table is now available”). It makes me feel selfish! I hate selfish!

All of our journeys take different paths. We all come to new places at different times and at different speeds. Throughout the post-divorce life cycle, there are stages we go through; stages of grief based on the loss of your partner which are inherent to divorce are:

  1. shock or disbelief
  2. denial
  3. anger
  4. bargaining
  5. guilt
  6. depression
  7. acceptance or hope
I think I must be between guilt and depression. Guilt that I maybe could have done more–though this is completely irrational because I could not have–and depression because when you want to be married/in a relationship and aren’t it’s hard to see others finding their forever. At least it has been so far for me. It makes me wonder if I will ever find it. I read a blog post today that was talking about why people stay in bad relationships and/or aren’t able to find a new relationship because “They think so lowly of themselves that they actually BELIEVE that they don’t deserve or won’t be able to attract a truly loving partner.” Stinkin’ thinkin’, my friends. You have to believe to receive! So, while I am working on me, I will be working on that. Here’s to acceptance and hope coming soon!
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Decisions, decisions…

12 Apr

Making the decision to divorce is never an easy one. You’ve invested yourself in this relationship for a period of time. That investment is one of blood, sweat and tears. Marriage is hard work. It takes time and effort to maintain a relationship with someone. You have to learn about compromise, love, respect, needs, desires, temperaments, and personalities. On top of that, there may also be children involved which further deepens that tie and complicates that relationship. It’s a delicate balancing act of the needs of your children, your spouse and yourself on top of the demands of external forces such as your job, each of your families, your friends, and the world at large. If you’re a Christian like me, there is also the concern of what the Bible says about divorce.

Knowing when it’s really over is different for each person. I have a girlfriend who’d had what looked like a happy and successful marriage from an outsider’s perspective, but once you got closer you saw the cracks. When she confided in me years ago that she was thinking about divorcing, I couldn’t understand what was holding her back. She had no children. She had a great job and was more than capable of going it on her own. Even her financial situation was perfect–made good money, had a good savings, good investments, etc. While all of those areas matter to a degree, they are small compared to letting go of all you have put into this relationship you have had with someone. The years filled with memories, the good times, the potential…we want to believe that maybe there is hope. Maybe there is something we haven’t tried yet. So, we try some more to see if these things can fix our marriage. The problem is that it takes both parties to try; when you’re the only one trying and the other person is just along for the ride, it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s important to make those last ditch efforts, though. Those efforts are of a personal nature so we can walk away in the end without looking back and wondering if I could have done anything more. And, at some point, you want to be able to say that I did all I could because I can only control my actions and decisions. The decisions and actions of my partner are ones that they will have to contend with in their time.

She did finally divorce, but at the time I still didn’t understand why it took her so long until I was in the situation that I was thinking about divorce. It was 2008. Soon after our 14th wedding anniversary, an old friend from my Navy days was getting ready to head off to Iraq for a year and he got back in touch with me. He told me how amazing and special I had always been to him. It was the final thing I needed to free me from my relationship. Or, so I thought. In January of that year, I had lost my grandfather who was the first love of my life. That was the first awakening to my personal misery in my marriage. In July, I was hired to work for my current company and my sense of self-worth sky rocketed. And then, I found out that I could be loved just as I was. It was freeing! At the same time, though, it was also very confusing. This wasn’t just breaking up with Pep, a man I had been married to for 14 years and loved for the last 16 years, but it would mean breaking up my family.

As a child of divorce myself, this was a big concern for me. My parents’ divorce was hard on my siblings and me. We each came out of it with varying degrees of damage. I knew that I married a man who was a great dad so some of my pain would not be their pain–or so I thought. We told the kids at the end of December 2008 that we were going to divorce. It was melt-down city. I was a mess thinking about how this was going to affect them. My pain was nothing compared to theirs was all I could think. I read books, I prayed, I talked to my siblings and my mom, and then I revoked my divorce decision and said we’d work things out. Thing was, when we were supposed to be working things out, Pep was out doing what had gotten us into this mess in the first place. His selfishness and lack of self-control in regard to having a monogamous relationship with me wasn’t revealed to me at the time. We had a talk in January 2009 where I told him that if he did it again–because he got caught in January again by me–that I was done. At the end of April, he got caught again. Now, I had to decide if I was going to hold to my word or just keep letting him do this to me. For a week, I toiled in this. I contacted our pastor in charge of congregational care/counseling, but he was away until the end of May. I met with him on May 20st and walked out of his office after an hour-long, tear-filled discussion about my marriage. In the end, the decision was mine, but he reminded me that I was Biblically sound in divorcing Pep if that’s what I felt led to do.

I had peace for the first time in months as I walked out into the sunshine. I felt the weight lifted off me. I knew that Jesus was with me and that while what would come next would not be easy, I had made my decision and felt it was the right one. I called Pep and told him I wanted a divorce. He cried and tried to plead his case. I told him I had given him every opportunity for too many years. Now, he had to live with the consequences of his own decisions.

Divorce and Taxes

6 Apr

While we all know that death and taxes are the only two things that are inevitable, with tax time fast approaching I am reminded about how divorce made me hate tax time all the more. On my twitter feed today was a post from Time magazine about this subject. In 2009, when I decided to get my divorce, I wasn’t thinking much about the tax implications. The only thing I did think about was that if I was living apart from my spouse for at least the last 6 months of the year, I could file head of household. Oh, the things you learn from you already divorced friends! Thing of it is, that doesn’t always apply and I didn’t know that at the time. Additionally, even though I was not living with him much of July, it wasn’t until August 1 that I officially moved into my own place. As you can see, that was still shy of the 6 months needed to even be considered as such. This year, still not able to be head of household. Why? Even though I have my kids half the time, I gave my ex the house and all three kids as his dependents to be claimed each year for tax purposes as he is the residential parent. I figured he’d be spending the most on their expenses as we’d agreed, but it’s still not working that way. I buy their shoes most of the time and I have to buy clothes for them to wear at my house so we’re not transferring things back and forth each week–not the way it was supposed to work!

So, back the the tax debacle…when I filed for my 2009 taxes, I realized I had to file single even though I had a status of married throughout the entire year. That meant that I had not paid into taxes enough. On top of it, while I pay child support, I don’t pay alimony. Child support is tax neutral while alimony is a deduction. I am happy that I am not paying alimony, but sad that my deductions are so few. That all meant that I owed a TON of cash to the government. I immediately corrected my filing status so that I would not be in such a mess for 2010. That change and the fact that I got a 20% pay cut in 2010 slashed my taxes owed from 2009 to 2010 by 75%. WINNING! No, not really. It still sucks. When you’re getting divorced, take all these things into consideration. One of the things I read in the Time article is that I could have switched the dependent piece so he gets to claim them one year and I get to claim them the next. That was something I had not considered. My ex also go a TON of cash back last year because he did get to claim everything, I could have asked that he split that with me. These are all considerations for you if divorce is something on your radar.

Stop being nice and conciliatory and just trying to get out and not make waves. Protect yourself so you don’t end up in another D word like me…DEBT!

Destiny

30 Mar

Destiny. A predetermined course. Does it exist? I think it does. That doesn’t negate our free will, it just means that in the end you get where you are meant to be. It’s the path we take to get there that changes.

My path was laden with things that definitely shaped who I am. I still haven’t figured it all out, yet, and I am sure I have lots still to learn. The key is that I have learned and grown to become the person I need to be in order to deal with what comes next through each new adventure and experience in my life’s journey. I am sure that your story is similar in that regard.

When I was getting married, I went to Las Vegas. We were stationed in San Diego at the time so Las Vegas was a short 6 hour drive. Six hours of non-stop arguing. I used to think that our arguing was passionate and fiery. After a while, NOTSOMUCH. Maybe I should add here that I was 10 weeks pregnant at the time. We celebrated our decision to get married in the bedroom which led to this pregnancy. That’s where passionate and fiery really matter, right?! Anyway, back to Vegas…once we got to The Little White Wedding Chapel, a lot had transpired. As I stood at the end of the aisle in my Birkenstocks and wedding attire, the voice in my head was yelling “run, run, run” and I was telling my little voice that even though he looked terrified standing at the end of the aisle, we were going to have a baby, he would be a good dad, he was a hard worker, and had some money saved up; he was safe and secure. So, I married him. Notice that in the conversation with myself love and happily ever after didn’t come up. That is not to say that I didn’t love him, it was just not what led me down the aisle.

My road with him pre-marriage was a rocky one. Filled with drama, arguments and cheating on me. For some reason, no matter how often we broke up, we got back together. I thought that meant he was meant to be. That we were destined to be together. Instead, what I have learned is that I didn’t love myself enough to believe that I was worth more. I also believed that once married, the cheating would stop. It didn’t.

I don’t regret my decision or the journey it took me on. I have 3 amazing children who have a dad who loves them and cares for them beyond my hopes for them. I wanted my children to have a dad; a dad that I myself had always wanted. I got that. Being with my ex allowed me to achieve much of the things I wanted in way of a career even though we had a child soon after we were married. I completed my Bachelor’s degree and have earned a good living. He was very supportive of all my accomplishments. I have not lived out my destiny–since we’re alive, our stories are still unfolding–but I feel I am finally on the right path. Divorce was just a stop along the road…

D-words

18 Mar

I am currently in hate with d-words. Why? Because the big-daddy of them all, a.k.a. Divorce, and I became too well-acquainted. Technically, in the state of Ohio, I had my marriage dissolved (a dissolution of marriage) rather than undertake the arduous process of a divorce. All that means is that Pepe le Pew (the ex, to be heretofore known as ‘Pepe’) and I were able to agree on the particulars and divvy up our accumulation of shared and unshared assets and debts.

With those d-words, divorce and dissolution, come a whole host of others that lead to or stem from the consequential divorce.

D-words that lead to divorce: debauchery, discontent, diametric opposition, differences (of an irreconcilable nature), discord, disparagement, disrespect, division, depression, dread, damaged.

D-words that followed divorce: disconnectedness, doldrums, dating, death (of the marriage/relationship), dieting, discernment, disentangled, delighted, debt.

D-words describe feelings, places and emotions. They are words that help to tell a story. And so begins mine…life after the D-WORD!

To jump or not to jump began this quest…and jump I did! Now, to deal with the aftermath…