Tag Archives: divorce advice

Thanks-parting: Dealing with Divorce on Thanksgiving

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-vintage-lady-upset-dining-with-turkey-black-white

If you’ve been through a divorce recently, you are certainly more than aware of how different (and sometimes difficult) each day can be.  This goes tenfold for the holidays.  

The first Thanksgiving that you spend away from your ex-partner is bound to be a trying time.  A day synonymous with familial joy and “coming together” will naturally seem a little heavy when on your own.  Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to keep the painful memory pangs to a minimum and the glorious gravy enjoyment to a maximum. 

Ring in the new

It’s obvious that this day will inadvertently drudge up memories of previous Thanksgiving celebrations.  Some of these memories may be quite pleasant, others can be the utter opposite.  One way to combat these ghosts is to change things up.  By creating new habits for the day and devising fresh traditions, your mind will be focused on the tasks at hand, rather than languishing in previous experiences.  One potential benefit, right off the bat, is that if you used to spend the day with your ex’s fam, you’re now entirely free of that shackle.  You can visit with your own clan, or a specific group of friends, if you choose.  Forget cooking and go out for dinner.  Even better, really relish in what the holiday is all about; thank your lucky stars that you have what you have and volunteer at a homeless shelter, doling out seasonal food.  Whatever you do, the past customs that you and your ex engaged in will be a faint memory as you create entirely new moments this year. 

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-vintage-couple-making-many-turkeys

Talk turkey 

Granted, this is a time of thankfulness and grateful reflection, but you’ve been through a rough year and can’t be expected to simply grin through the pain.  It’s actually the perfect time to pull that special relative or comrade aside and let your emotions flow freely.  With the abundance of caring people conveniently assembled, odds are that there will be a trusted someone (or several) that you can talk to.  Not suggesting to turn this whole event in a pity party, but go someplace private and unburden yourself.  You’ll feel some of that emotional weight instantly lifted so you can fully enjoy the rest of the festivities.  Remember, this may be an overwhelmingly hard time for you, but you should be considerate of other people’s feelings too; it’s their day as well.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-vintage-dad-son-tabe-eating

The Kid’s Table  

As with many divorce related issues, the hardest aspect can be if children are in the mix.  One thing that can assuage the troublesome topic of how to divide their time (between you and your ex) is to be calm and ready to compromise.  Maybe you have to relinquish them for the actual day, but then get to spend Black Friday with them, shopping with glee.  The point is that arguing with your ex about who goes where and when will only acerbate the situation and make everyone feel tense.  Just be reasonable and think of your kids’ feelings; nobody wants to hear about how mom/dad is ruining the holiday by _______; your ex is still your child’s parent, a pivotal person in their lives forever, and badmouthing them always makes you look bad.  

Give thanks

Whether your family is the type that goes around the table before the turkey is cut and everyone states what they are thankful for, or if it’s just tacitly implied, a large component of this holiday is the expression of gratitude.  Take a few minutes to sit down and write out (or type) what you personally have to be thankful for this year.  Go through everything you can think of, big and small.  This simple exercise will soon have you seeing just how bright the silver lining in this divorce cloud is, as a bevy of wonderful things flows from your mind and on to the page.  By assessing all of the gifts you have in your life, you can crystalize a plan for the future, or just sit back and revel in the positive mindset you’re now in.  

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-vintage-woman-turkey-lovers

No matter what anyone says, this may be a particularly hard time for you to get through.  Try to relax and follow the aforementioned steps to the best of your ability.  Just remember that life truly does go on, and once the day is done and everyone has returned to their prospective homes, there still will be the scrumptious leftovers to feast on later.  

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-vintage-couple-man-eat-turkey-leg

 -Joe Leone 

How to Avoid Bad-Mouthing Your Ex

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-woman-demons-in-head

After a divorce or break-up, you are going to be angry. When people are angry, they often want to express their negative emotions, but that is not always a great idea. In fact, giving in to the temptation to bad-mouth your ex will probably work against you, and, what’s worse, against your children.

Therapist Ashley Davis Bush advises that you strive to remember that your children are one-half your ex, which means negative talk about him or her is negative talk about them. Whether or not it is immediately apparent, they are genetically predisposed to be like the person you firmly dislike, so they can be directly hurt by the things you say.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-sad-child-toy

Another, less easy to digest piece of advice is to remember that you once loved, or at least thought you loved, this person. Have respect for the time in your life when things were different, and try to learn to accept and respect the choices you made in the past. Saying negative things about that individual will only make you internalize the idea that your time with him or her was a mistake.

Avoiding derogatory talk about the other person may be fairly easy at first, but what happens when they start saying bad things about you? Resisting the urge to retaliate or defend oneself is extremely difficult and often goes against human nature. However, the other person’s behavior should not influence your own when it comes to what’s best for your kids. Their inability to control themselves means they are hurting, and while you may not be able to lend a helping hand or an understanding ear, you can at least be the bigger person and give your kids an opportunity to talk about what they hear without having to also hear your rebuttal.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-angry-insulted-guy

One way to approach this is to stop thinking of that person as your “ex” and instead think of him or her as your child’s other parent. This will reinforce the responsible role both of you should be playing in your child’s life and take the emphasis away from your relationship that went sour. Use the time you interact with your ex to create positive experiences that teach them how to get along with others, and if that’s not possible because of your ex or because you are simply too upset, then re-focus your energy on doing something fun with your children instead of dwelling on the insult and anger you feel.

Regardless of your situation and the personality of your ex, it is advisable to have a thick skin and avoid letting negativity from the other side get you down or lower your resolve. Your primary goal should be to show your child love and compassion, both for them and the situation. Bad-mouthing ultimately brings you down and can create a risk of being alienated from your child. Even if your ex is saying mean things to your child, such as, “You are not smart because your mother doesn’t push you hard enough to do well in school,” resist the urge to respond directly by saying something about him or her. Try instead to create an open environment in which your children can talk to you about the painful things they are hearing.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-girl-talking-dog-cute

Even if you do find yourself slipping and resort to saying negative things about your child’s other parent, you can stop. Ashley Davis Bush also advises creating a habit of saying, “Cancel that,” even mid-sentence, and beginning again. You can substitute negativity for more neutral words, such as, “My child’s other parent and I regularly disagree,” rather than saying something along the lines of, “My ex does things in a stupid way.” The key to not bad-mouthing your ex is keeping an eye on the future, not the past. Move forward into the future with strength and determination, not vengeance.

avatar_99975d940e66_128

 

How to Answer Annoying Questions About Divorce

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-annoyed-lady-cute-smirk

When news of your recent divorce hits the streets, people can get a tad bit nosy.  “What went wrong?  Who’s getting the kids?  Can I have the wedding present I gave you back?”  Retaining composure and diplomatically answering these questions can be a real challenge, if you don’t have the appropriate responses cocked and readied.  Read on to thoroughly equip yourself with seamless retorts that will keep the rabid Inquisitors (family, friends, intrusive grocery clerks and DMV workers) at bay, at least for a while.

“What happened?”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-annoyed-guy-cellphone

When addressing this initial query, it’s best to keep it simple.  Providing the bare minimum, in terms of what transpired and why, is not just adequate, but will send the signal that this conversation is not going to turn into an episode of “Dr. Phil.”  Also, keep things in an affirmative light; let them know that you are not dwelling on the negative and that you are focused on shaping your future.

“I don’t think this is the right decision.  Why did you do this??”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-crazy-guy

Explain that even if they completely disagree with what occurred and why, the best thing for them to do at this juncture is to give you their full support.  The aftermath of the divorce can be even harder to deal with than the event itself, and you truly can use all the positive reinforcement you can get.  Also, if kids are a part of the equation, explain that this can be a traumatic event for them especially.  Anyone involved, even minimally, in the lives of the children in question should be as supportive as humanly possible.

“You should try to get back together.”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-annoying-lady-pointing

When this gratuitous “advice” is dumped on you, it’s best to clearly elucidate the fact that you recognize your ex-partner’s favorable attributes (you obviously loved them at one point), but now you need to transition out of marriage mode and progress forward with your life.  You’re not getting un-divorced any time soon, so let’s all look at what’s on the ever expansive horizon of life, not what’s fading into the sunset.

“Want to know what I think went wrong?”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-annoying-lady-scowling

While your comrades, great aunts and assorted mechanics and baristas may all be brimming with theories as to what the real error in your compatibility was, graciously tell them that you appreciate their concern, but you really don’t want to drum all of that up right now.  Yes, there probably are myriad reasons why it didn’t work out in the end, but your goal now is to heal and move on.  Dredging up accusations of your ex’s potential extramarital affairs or secret hatred of your hat collection is not going to help you do that, so please keep your comments to yourself, Uncle Herbie, thank you.

“I’ve been divorced, too.  Here’s how you handle it…”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-annoying-old-man-computer

Of course it can be nice to commiserate with people who have been in similarly trying situations, but take all such proffered wisdom with a grain of salt.  Let them know that every divorce is unique, like a lovely snowflake of separation, and what may have worked/failed for them may not apply to your uncoupling scenario at all.

At the end of the day, if and how you address questions related to your divorce is totally up to you.  You always have the option to tell people to “mind their beeswax,” and to give them ‘the hand.’ However, dealing with the residual effects of your divorce by confronting them head-on can lead to a quicker healing process.  When chatting with concerned parties, be nice, be polite, but ultimately, be true to yourself.

And yes, Aunt Trudy, you can have your ugly purple candy dish back.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-annoying-lady-crazy-aunt

-Joe Leone

Til …Later Do Us Part: The Art of PreNuptials

Diamond-Lighthouse-broker-divorced-couple

Premarital Agreements

Marriage is a contract of love…as well as a financial one.

Having a premarital agreement in place before pledging your vows can have further reaching financial effects than just the “he/she is not getting all my money” concept people generally associate with prenups.  There are a variety of clauses that go into these documents that can protect you and your beneficiaries in a number of ways.

Nationally, more and more people are having prenups drafted before tying the knot.  The huffingtonpost.com recently reported: “According to a new survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 63 percent of divorce attorneys say they’ve seen an increase in prenuptial agreements during the past three years. What’s more, 46 percent noted an increase in the number of women initiating requests for prenups.” Continue reading Til …Later Do Us Part: The Art of PreNuptials