Adventures in Divorce

I always wondered why people who murdered their spouses didn't just get a divorce.... I now understand why

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Location: Nap Town, Indie-anne-ahhhhhh!, United States

No, I'm not a prophetess. Cassandra, according to Greek mythology, spurned the advances of the Greek god Apollo and her gift of prophecy was cursed so that her predictions would never be believed. Such is my life. I tend not to think like most people, which is a gift... but also a curse. So step into my mind, take off your shoes and stay for awhile... you're always welcome, loved ones.

June 28, 2012

Think Before You Rant

Relationship problems. We all have them. Or have dealt with them. Most relationship problems are your garden variety, "Why didn't you take out the trash/You always hog the remote/You want me to put that WHERE??" type of disputes. But every serious relationship has gone through or will go through at least one Big Problem. The type of problem that has you wondering if you've made a mistake by even being with this person and whether you want to continue with that mistake. They are perfectly normal, and most of the time you work through them and live happily ever after.

But what about that time period between wondering and happily ever after? That time period when you are wrestling with your feelings and thoughts and doubts and fears and anger and sadness? Many of us make the mistake of turning to our friends. But you ask, isn't that what friend are there for? To support you and help you through your troubles? Well.... yes and no.

The mistake people make is by telling their friends every single sordid detail about their dispute with their mate. You do an emotional dump and just get all that nasty stuff off of your chest. Your friend makes you feel better; takes your side, validates you, tells you that you are right and that asshole/bitch was wrong and who the fugg needs 'em anyway?? And then you decide to work through your problems with your mate and everything is sunshine and kittens once again.

But, remember how you told your homeboy about how your lady slapped your momma and then made out with your third cousin? Or how you told your homegirl that your dude took your car and was spotted joyriding with scallywags on 38th Street? Yea, you may have forgave and forgotten, but your friend didn't. They didn't have the Power of the Poon/Peen benefit of in depth communication between the parties in interest to change their perspective on the situation. And the last thing your friend remembers is your vehement arguments as to why your mate is a piece of shit. However, now all of the sudden these friends are expected to act like nothing happened. It's like asking a court reporter to strike testimony or evidence from the record that the jury has already heard; it doesn't work in the courtroom, and it doesn't work in life either.

Most friends do play along with the legal/life fiction that nothing happened, and chalk it up to it just being typical relationship shit, because we have all been on both the giving and receiving end of this scenario. Nevertheless, the reality is that friends are placed in an awkward situation when you dump your relationship problems on them. Their loyalty as your friend is to you, and it is only natural that they don't want to see you hurt. By telling them about all of the details of your dispute with your mate, you are positioning your mate in your friend's mind as the Enemy, that person that made you hurt and cry. Friends aren't there for the make-up sex and reconciliation; they are there when you are at your worst, and that is what they remember. Even if your friends go along as if nothing happened just as you are, you have still made your mate seem like a horrible person to them, and that memory lingers. And in a way, you also make yourself look like an idiot fool for going back to them. Either way, it's just not a good look for anyone involved.

So, unless you have retained an attorney and are drawing up the divorce papers, don't tell your friends about every argument and craptastic thing your mate has done to you. And even then, people get back together (I recently had a friend do that, and the first time I saw her out with her no-longer-estranged husband was kind of aw-kward). Better yet, it is probably best to just keep it to yourself, because you don't know what is going to happen a day or week or month later, and most likely it'll be that you two will kiss and make up. Your friends can still be there for you for emotional support, but keep it generic. They can know that you are going through it with your ladyfriend/gentleman lover without having to know EVERYTHING. Also, pick and choose to whom you tell what. Some friends just know when you are talking shit or being irrational and have no problems telling you so, while others will take everything you say to heart and be ready to ride out on a bitch declare your mate Public Enemy No. 1. It is called discretion, and we all need to exercise more of it (and I won't even get started on Twitter and Facebook.... some people treat that as their personal open forum relationship therapy sharing session; we don't need to know all that about you and your boo).

Yes, the urge to relationship rant is strong, and we all succumb to it at times, and as human beings and social creatures we will continue to give it and receive it. However, next time you have to urge to get something off of your chest, just think about where that something goes, and what it does when it gets there.

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June 23, 2012

Out With The Old

Since my divorce and radical personal transformation I have been in the gradual process of purging and replacing everything.  At first I was focused on the major things.  I replaced my car (twice), my TV, my bedroom furniture, and even my hair.

Lately I have been getting into and trying to implement principles from The Secret, which basically explains the Laws of Attraction.  In a nutshell, the Laws of Attraction are based on the premise that like attracts like, and we have the power to visualize what we want (and sometimes what we don't want) in our minds to attract it to us.  It has been a bit of a work in progress; my lawyer brain struggles to believe that we can control the Universe with our thoughts, but I'm trying to be positive about it, which at the very least is a good way to be in general, whether you believe you can correct your own eyesight by believing you can see better or cause checks to spontaneously flood into your mailbox.  But this is not about that.

One chapter of the audiobook that caught my attention was the section on relationships.  Now, this is one area where I do believe what you think and how you feel dictates what type of people and energy you attract.  If you are a negative person, you will continue to attract drama and negativity, and same for the converse.  One example that was given in the book was of a woman who wanted to meet Mr. Right and had thus far had no luck.  Besides visualizing the type of person she wanted to meet, someone pointed out to her that she always parked in the middle of her garage and told her that she was not behaving in a way which indicated to the Universe that she wanted to share her space-- and life-- with someone else.  So the woman started parking on one side of the garage, and lo and behold she meets the man of her dreams.

I don't know if moving a car five feet to the left was the direct cause of this woman meeting her soul mate.  But what I do believe is that symbolic act put her in the mindset where she was open to meeting someone, and it caused her to give off the vibes that attracted that person to her.  Part of the laws of attraction is to behave in a way that is consistent with what you want in your life.

Which then got me to thinking.......I looked down at my left hand.  I always wore a ring on my middle finger that was a lovely Sajen moon face carved out of bone that looked like this:

I bought it when I quit wearing my wedding ring, as a "replacement" of sorts.  I got tons of compliments on it over the years, and it was so well loved that the little face had worn so flat that it was barely distinguishable.  Even though I wore it on my middle finger, I thought to myself "When I do get married again, there is no way I would be wearing this on my middle finger next to my wedding ring" (because I am a one ring per hand kind of girl).  I also thought about what the ring had symbolized for me, which was "I am single now."  That symbolism is in direct conflict with what I want for my life, which is to get married again.  So I took it off and put it away in a box.

Which then got me to thinking.........what other symbolic things in my life were conflicting with my ultimate goal for my relationship?  I started by looking down.  I have been into piercings and body art since the age of 18, but now all I have left piercing-wise are 2 gauge stretched ears, a navel ring, and an..... um..... "intimate" piercing.  The jewelry I was wearing I'd had for YEARS, because I have been long past the stage of constantly buying new jewelry, and the piercings were just there because they were just a part of me in my adult life.  But I got to thinking about that fact, and the fact that they had been with me THE ENTIRE TIME from the end of my marriage, through the "dating", up to this point where I am in my current relationship, and instantly decided:  they had to go, ASAP.  I wanted my beau to be the only person with the pleasure and privilege of touching the jewelry in these special places, just as I want him to be the only person who touches me period.  So I got on Amazon at 1:30 a.m. and ordered a new navel ring (with my zodiac sign, Cancer, because I just cannot resist the double entendre of the symbol) and a new..... um......"intimate" ring, and I finally got both of them in the mail.

Cancers have the best symbol
 I feel better already.

I threw the old belly ring in a box, and the old "other" jewelry straight in the trash.  I actually had started the "jewelry purge" a few years ago when I sold my Tiffany lock necklace that The Ex had got me for Christmas one year (one, because I was no longer going to acquiesce in his little joke that he had me on "lock"..... ha! and two, because I was broke) and my beau bought me a new Tiffany peace necklace which I wear 355 our of 365 days a year.  But I hadn't thought about  the symbolism and implications of the other jewelry until recently.

So now my mission is to identify all of the things-- big and small-- in my life that symbolically are connected with the past and are in conflict with my relationship moving forward to the next level.  I know that these things can't speed up or force the hand of the other person in this equation, but I know in my mind and spirit that I will be fully prepared for what comes next.

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June 19, 2012

These Three Words

I don't write about relationships much anymore.  When I was "going through it" so to speak in the relationship department, I had all sorts of advice for everyone.  I could write weekly, if not daily, about the interactions between men and women and what should and shouldn't be done.  However, since I have been in a happy, committed relationship for some time now, I find that I just have a lot less to say.  

Seems counter-intuitive, right?  I should be able to give you all lots of advice about what one should do to get where I am (assuming that you would like to be in a steady, committed relationship).  Eh, not really.  I could tell you "Be willing to hop in the car at an hour's notice and drive two hours with the ultimate goal of getting a blueberry grilled cheese donut" or "Watch Scott Pilgrim vs. the World together until you can recite the whole thing" or "Cook vegetarian food together".... but none of those things would mean a damn thing to you, and some of the things I might tell you that make my relationship tick just might get you dumped.  

But, I am not completely heartless, and I won't leave you out in the cold, standing on the outside looking in to wonder "WTF are they so happy about??"  I will share with you a precious nugget of relationship wisdom that I guarantee will improve your life, smooth over rough patches, and just make your lives a helluva lot more pleasant.  Just three little words.......

"Please" and "Thank You"

Yup, that's it.  Not "I love you."  Not "I am sorry."  Say please and thank you.  Early and often.  

Here's the thing..... at the fundamental core of every relationship, everyone wants to feel respected and appreciated.  Take those two things away-- respect and appreciation-- and you have set your relationship up for failure or interlopers or both.  A HUGE reason why people cheat is because the outside person made them feel respected and appreciated (in its own oddly disrespectful way) when their own mate did not.  Incorporating please and thank you into your discourse is a very simple, painless way to stave off the erosion of those two fundamental necessities.

For example:

"Did you take the trash out yet?" vs. "Could you please take the trash out?"
"I need you to pick up the kids; I have a meeting." vs. "Could you please pick up the kids for me so I can go to this meeting?"

The absence of please comes off as nagging, commanding, ordering, demanding.  You can accomplish the same result with a lot less resentment by just remembering to say please.  It shows respect and consideration for the other person's time and efforts.  

And the same with thank you.  You would be amazed at how often people forget to say this simple phrase, and the resentment it causes.  Not saying thank you comes off almost as if you are entitled to certain favors or treatment without question.  Or at the very least, it shows a lack of appreciation, and everyone wants to feel appreciated.  And don't save thank yous just for extraordinary feats. Making dinner, putting your clothes in the dryer, clearing your plate from the table, opening your car door.... these all deserve a thank you.  Again, a lack of thank yous causes resentment, which then causes people to stop going out of their way for you, which then causes you to stop going out of your way for them, which then causes a vicious downward spiral into the break-up abyss.  

I have been in a relationship where it seemed like I was just expected to do certain things without much appreciation or consideration.  And it sucked.  Even though he constantly told me "I love you" to the point where it was borderline annoying, I feel a lot more loved in my relationship now where we use please and thank you with each other a lot more frequently.  It makes me feel valued, which in turn makes me feel loved.

So just try it. Focus less on the "I love yous" (though saying that is important as well) and make more of a conscious effort to say please and thank you to your mate and see what happens.  You can even take it a step further and explicitly say to him or her every so often "I really appreciate you being in my life."  Bottom line, show your respect and appreciation for everything your mate does before somebody else does it for you.

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June 18, 2012

I'm Rubber, You're Glue

It goes without saying that divorces involving children are messy.  VERY messy.  Not only are you trying to maintain your own sanity, but you're also making sure that you don't permanently destroy the emotional health of innocent kids in the process.  Even after the divorce is over and everyone has settled down into their new roles, the kids still make things messy.  

Kids are like little (or big) balls of that thick paste you used to use when you were in kindergarden.  Everyone they touch gets all stuck together.   I always tell unhappily married childless couples to GET OUT NOW BEFORE YOU HAVE CHILDREN!!!  It just seems like it would be a helluva lot easier to hit the reset button, go on about your separate lives, and just pretend the whole unfortunate thing you called a marriage never happened.  But with kids, you are stuck dealing with this person for the rest of your life.  No, not just til the kid is 18..... the rest of your life.  The last person you want to deal with in life is the first person showing up at anything of major importance to your common offspring.  And then there's the coordination of co-parenting and attempting to work out expenses, and blah blah blah blah blah.... all the things that make you wish you'd just kept your damn pants on in the first place.  No matter how far you try to get away from the person, they just keep. Coming. BACK.

But the kids don't just put their imaginary glue all over you and your ex-spouse.  It also get stuck to any person who has ever cared about your kid, including friends your ex got custody of in the divorce and, yes, your ex's subsequent boo thangs (usually girlfriends, but I guess guys could get attached to other people's kids, too.... I've seen it happen).  My ex dated a woman for several years after our divorce, but it just didn't work out, probably because he went and had a kid with another woman.  You know, the little things that tend to piss women off.  Anyway, as what usually occurs between ex-girls and next-girls, we weren't exactly friends, and she probably hated me for doing whatever The Ex told her that I did to him, and I wasn't too fond of her because she surely sided with his version of life, but there was never any overt hostility ('cuz I see no point in squabbling with some woman over a man I do not want).  But even though they have parted ways, she still has a relationship with my kids.  My daughter goes to spend the night at her house and visits her and her family on holidays; my son still works for her in the summer and she asks him to do speaking engagements for her job.  I even felt compelled to send her an invitation to my son's graduation even though I'm sure The Ex would not have bothered.  Sure, I could be petty and attempt to block her continuining relationship with my kids, but in all fairness, she was a major part of my kids' lives for about three years, and she really does care about them. Still, though, it is a bit awkward at times when I'm sitting there thinking "I'm pretty sure you hated my ever loving guts about 18 months ago" but still having to be cool...... again, for the emotional sanity of the kids. 

Then I have another situation with my sticky children involving a friend I lost (or rather, abandoned) in the divorce.  My former high school BFF and I fell out shortly before my divorce, and she continued to be friends with The Ex.  My son is going off to college on the east coast and, coincidentally, will be about an hour from where she lives now.  I thought I had this girl out of my life for good and for the better, but now she is back wanting to play the auntie role with my son.  She has been trying to convince my son to move out east early and stay with her, against my wishes, better judgment, and desire that he stay here, get a job, and spend his last few months with his real family.  However, because she and I are no longer friends, she apparently does not care what my wishes are for my own child.  I just want her to go away and stay out of my life where I put her for good, but no, my sticky kids keep her around on the edges of my life. 

And on it goes..... ex-in-laws, old friends, new girlfriends, new ex-girlfriends, and anyone else who, if you had your choice, you would never speak to ever again in life.  But the little sticky glue ball kids walk around through life touching all of these people, and they all end up sticking back on to you. And the kids don't understand why you don't like this person or would prefer to keep them several arms' lengths from your life, so to them you just look mean and petty if you don't at least remain neutral.  I understand that when your kids are younger, you have much more control over who your child is around (I'm not suggesting sending your 3 year old off with your ex's last jump off), but when they are older like my kids (18 and 13), they have more control over who they want to associate with.  And unfortunately that often means you need to put your petty feelings aside and just accept that certain people will always be stuck around the fringes of your life.  

Divorces (where people act like adults) take a lot of restraint and emotional maturity when kids are involved.  I just never realized I'd get stuck with all these other people that I'd have to exercise this maturity with as well.  I just want to be rubber and bounce all these people far away from me, but kids... they just have to be glue. 

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Adventures in Divorce: 06/2012 - 07/2012

Adventures in Divorce