I have to say, it’s been a really long time since I’ve been divorced. Twelve years actually. But sometimes it still feels fresh. It feels like I’m still figuring out what to do. Ya’ know, I think I’m kinda’ good now, though.
It was a whole lot of trial and error. I think things would have been a lot different if my marriage had ended in the city we lived in when we were married. See, I had just moved to Denver from NY State with my then husband because of his job. Three months after we moved there we decided to separate. We’d had problems for a year or two, I figured even if the marriage ends, the kids need to be near their Dad. Now, I don’t know how smart this was but ya’ know, can’t change it now. I lived a really depressing, anxiety-filled existence for 6 years just to make the kids available to him, when eventually I’d have to take it away because he was always drunk. Hindsight is freakin’ laser scope, x-ray, 20/20 isn’t it?
The problem was, all of a sudden I was in a place where I didn’t know a soul… except for my kids and the guy that was divorcing me. Surprise! It sucked the big one. No one to help me with three little kids under the age of 7, and no one’s shoulder to cry on. And the state of Colorado is one of the least compassionate states for single parents who struggle economically.
I tried to hold it together, I really did. I think I did pretty well but there was a bit of panic in me that I had to do everything just right. I had to provide, I had to be strong, I had to be a good, loving example to my kids, I had to be all things to all people. Screw that. I should have taken a good week vacation to my Mother’s or sister’s houses and cried my eyes out. I should have tried to heal myself a little first. But no, I had to make it work. My ex was a big a bully that I wanted to get away from, so we just went to a mediator, I got hosed and was told I needed to get a job. Um, for what? Just to pay for daycare?
So I acquiesced. I should have hired a lawyer and laid out strict terms. I didn’t, I panicked that he would retaliate and I didn’t want the kids to see that… or have to deal with it. I didn’t want to be “that lady” that tries to shake down an ex in a divorce. But to see what would happen next, that he put all his money into the new girlfriend (the one he had been cheating with for a year or two), I should have stood my ground and made boundaries.
That is a key thing to remember. You need to stand your ground with your boundaries, and when you panic you lose your boundaries.
I said, “I don’t need no stinkin’ ex-husband!” and ran out and got a job. Which was a disaster and lead to me being canned because I couldn’t show up half the time because of child problems (the ex travelled with work and was never around) and it was a 20-35 minute commute in Denver traffic that I was never on time for. The money barely covered daycare. It was stupid. I should have just figured out a way to stand my ground and wait another year or two until most of the kids were in school.
I never learned to stop panicking until about 9 years after my divorce. I wasted so much damn time being in situations that lead me to nervous breakdowns and it was mostly because of pride. Just remember there is no loss of pride in asking for a manageable situation for yourself. You don’t have to be Wonder Woman. I think she’s kinda’ douchie anyway. But please don’t be an A-hole and ask for the moon, that makes all ex-wives look like bitches and well… I’m certainly not. I used to be a doormat, ,now I’m just strong… because I learned not to panic.
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