Meeting in the Middle For A Divorce Agreement

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There’s a definite give and take when you’re dealing with a divorce agreement.  There are no two ways around it.  We have to compromise and I’ve heard it said that the best divorce agreements are when neither party is happy because divorce lawyers conclude that means that it’s as fair as it’s going to get for both parties.

Seriously???

So how do you meet in the middle when you both want everything?  How do you compromise when the legal document you’re negotiating is dissolving your marriage?  Because that in itself, unless you already have another partner waiting in the wings, is emotionally draining.  Maybe I’m too sensitive, but I’m sure that when most people declared their wedding vows, they weren’t ever thinking of this day.  So how do you deal with it without losing your mind/heart/soul?

It helped me to try to see the big picture and to imagine us compromising in all areas.  It was like being on a seesaw and trying to find a balance so that we were equal.  It was putting the kids before ourselves and getting what we needed, instead of what we wanted in every area.  It was not carving out the middle piece out of the pie and each insisting it was MINE!  But instead taking from each side a little bit and meeting in the middle of the pie equally.

Sounds too good to be true, huh?  Well, it’s not that easy as you may already know from your own divorce/separation experience.  Heated discussions, debts, money used or hidden without someone else’s knowledge, all come into play, not to mention if there’s an inequality in salary which adds a complexity to the situation.

Throw in a bad attitude on the part of either spouse or both, a poor me – pity pot or an angry resentful spouse and more money gets thrown to the divorce lawyers in order to enter the fray and help you duke it out.  Mind you, you are spending your money in order to make your point so it better be a good one.  Because otherwise it’s just a waste of your good, hard-earned money to fight over something insignificant in the grand scheme of your divorce.

But I have seen people do this – fight over an innocuous point and wastefully spend money, time, effort and tears over something that feels significant at the time, important enough to fight about in the middle of the chaos, only to realize when it’s all said and done that they didn’t want/need it after it was all over.  They simply had to make a point and they did.  And it cost them.

If you and your STBX can work it out on your own fairly, then do it.  When one person begins the fair distribution of all that your marriage entails, the other sometimes follows suit.  Integrity means a lot throughout a divorce and taking the high road shows the example for the other to follow.  Sometimes, your spouse doesn’t follow your lead in fairness and that’s when you can rely on your attorney and negotiate.  But sometimes, that simple gesture of respect and kindness can go a long way in a divorce settlement.

What’s that old saying my mama used to say?  Kindness begets kindness.  It starts with you dear friend.  Lead by example and meet in the middle when you can because we all want peace.

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My Two Cents On Divorce Court Etiquette

mytwocentsondivorcecourtetiquette

My STBX (soon-to-be-ex) and I had to be in court recently to review our divorce agreement to which we weren’t agreeing.  He had sent me one to which I scoffed at and now it was his turn.  Before meeting with our lawyers, we had wait time while our lawyers were talking with other clients who were also at court.  Interestingly enough, STBX and I sat together, sorry smiles on our faces, with the thought in my head, ‘well, we at least can still sit together and not act like the rest who are so angry that they can’t even sit in the same area, let alone next to each other.’  It’s kinda like when you don’t know anyone else, but this one person, whom you may not really like?  Do you know what I mean?  Has this ever happened to you with your STBX?

As fate would have it, I was already seated in a bank of chairs and there was only one seat open that was next to me.  He shyly smiled and sat down next to me with a shrug of his shoulders.  I know we were the only divorcing couple sitting next to each other there as I had been there for awhile and had watched as others chose seats far away from their partners and some who occasionally glared at their spouses from across the room.

It’s bizarre to me how a marriage can fall apart so completely and communication can be so absurdly demolished that you can barely sit in the same room together and wait to get divorced.  I watched some spouses catch a glimpse of their partners and refuse to sit in the same area.  Instead they opted to stand awkwardly off to the side while they waited to be called, busily texting on their phones.

I clearly remember the love I had for my STBX when we got married.  Full of hope, dreams and love, the memories of the beginning of our relationship and marriage were special.  I would imagine most people would have similar feelings about the beginnings.  What appalls me is the ending, as I watched hateful glances be thrown to and fro between divorcing spouses.  I am grateful that even though it’s been really rocky and awful throughout the process, it was never outwardly hate-filled between us.

I watch the couples be called two by two to talk with the judge and the panelists, accompanied by their lawyers and I imagine the meanness masquerading the hurt they feel inside.  At least, that’s my two cents, for what it’s worth.

So please, use your manners in divorce court.  Be respectful.  Let bygones be bygones.  Let go of the past and embrace the future of your new chapter.  You don’t need to act ugly in retaliation.  You don’t need to do anything, but be.  Take the high road.  Be yourself.  Be peaceful.  I know deep down inside, you may be sad like I am.  You may be hurting.  You may be angry and have just cause for every single one of the emotions.  You don’t have to be a frozen, non-emotional person, but nor do you need to show everyone else your barely concealed anger.

There’s a fine line between love and hate and indifference.  Do you know when you crossed over the line of love to the other side?  Because honestly, the ironic thing is that you married this person – remember – through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?  Have you ever stopped to wonder what the hell happened after you took your marriage vows?

 

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You Can’t Co-Parent From The Nothing Box

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I call it the nothing box.  That’s where my Ex lives most of the time since we’ve been separated and now divorced.  Have you ever heard of the nothing box?

Well, I call it the nothing box because he simply went away, physically, mentally, emotionally, verbally, psychologically.  It’s like he put himself in a box where nothing happens, nothing seems touch him and there is little or no response from him.

I get it that we all need down time, private time to just mellow out.  But to LIVE THERE incessantly?  To not respond to your divorce lawyer?  To your children?  To your family?  To your friends?  I get it that he doesn’t want to respond to me sometimes.  I understand that part.  But when you tend to live in the nothing box, there’s a problem of epic proportions.

I’m sorry, but I’m tired of emails that don’t get answered, or replies that he’ll get back to me, but then days go by with utter silence.  Co-parenting with a solid wall of nothing is tough.  Watching your children stare at empty text messages because he doesn’t answer them is heart-breaking.  Not being able to help him, nor help them, breaks my heart.

Because I think there’s a deeper reason for his silence.  I think that he’s pushing down the reality of having left his wife and children and instead of dealing with the emotions and results of his decisions, he retreats to the nothing box, where nothing gets solved, nothing heals and the wounds simply fester into nothingness.

Co-parenting is a hard enough job when you’re divorced and when he’s moved out of state.  Still harder, when there are decisions to be made about the kids and he’s silent.  Waiting weeks for child support is even harder.  Sometimes I wonder if he’s just dead somewhere, but then days later, I’ll get an email response – a one liner that says he’ll get back to me because he’s busy.  Or if I get lucky, he’ll have texted one of the kids recently so that I know he’s still here on this earth.

I learned a long time ago not to rely on him.  I’m a single divorced parent with kids who live with me.  I deal with their day to day reality and now I only involve him if it’s something big that he absolutely needs to know.  Otherwise, he doesn’t ask and I don’t offer.  Even the kids don’t tell him anything anymore because they’ve been too disappointed by his silence.

Do you have an Ex who’s silent or who lives in the nothing box?  How do you deal with it?  Are you like me and just keep going and being mom and dad to the kids?  Any help is appreciated here.  Thanks.

 

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Versatile Blogger Award!

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Yay!  Thank you Jay!  My first award nomination – ta da!  I am so happy and appreciative!  In accordance to the rules below, I’m doing my part!

RULES OF THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD:

1.) Thank the bloggers who nominated you and share their links.
2.) Nominate at least 10 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs.
3.) Also inform them about their nomination.
4.) Reveal 7 facts about yourself that your readers may not know

  1. :  Again, thank you to Jay whose link is above!
  2. :  Oh my, 10 bloggers!  Congratulations to you!  I nominate:
    1. Momentum of Jo  Mojo has been inspiring me with her thoughtful, honest and loving approach to life itself.  Make sure you stop over to see her and say Janie sent you!
    2. Beauty Beyond Bones  I am drawn to those who are open and who share their stories in order to help others.  Whether or not you may have an Eating Disorder, here’s a friend who can help you along life’s path.
    3. 50 Shades of Brave  She’s a great inspiration to me and offers coaching in case you’re in need of a little extra help!
    4.  It’s A Crazy Cat Lady Thing  talks about all things in our age group in an honest way.  How refreshing to know that someone understands what you’re going through – it’s a bonding thing!
    5. Make It Ultra has a bunch of great articles and posts about life in general which include helpful tips!  Stop on by for you’re sure to find something good to read here which helps!  They even offer professional help for you to live the life you want!
    6. Divorce With Me chronicles her divorce with its ups and downs.  Good reading especially if you’re living through a divorce too!
    7. Prayer and Practice is exactly that – prayer and practicing to help you to build a life you love!  Join Robin as she helps us all along the way.
    8.  Individuator  helps us all to better understand our journey of self-discovery.  Insightful posts which speak to how we view ourselves and the world around us!
    9. Lil Pick Me Up / Writing With Hope does just that!  Picks us up and writes with hope!  What can be better?
    10. The Seeds 4 Life  Inspirational messages and articles about personal development!  Count me in!  I need a daily dose.
  3.  I will send them all a note about their nominations!  How exciting!
  4.   Seven things about me that you don’t know.  Hmmmm….
    1. I’m not afraid of ants, wasps or spiders.  But I am terrified of mice!
    2. I dislike conflict and prefer peace, but lately I’m having to stand up for myself which I guess is a learning curve I have to grow comfortable with eventually.
    3. For the first time in my life, I am a single divorced Mom, but I am grateful that I have my kids with me.
    4. My new motto is Begin Again which is exciting, but scary at the same time at age 50.
    5.  I am very spiritual and feel honored that I’ve been with three different loved ones as they passed away.
    6. I love the beach and find the sea very comforting to me in troubled times and even when I’m calm and happy.
    7. I’ve been through many varied life experiences and I’m still here, upright as I joke with people who ask how I handle so much.  My secret?  I just keep waking up every morning with a smile and hope for a brighter day!  And yes, for me, it’s that simple!

Thank you to Jay and to Waking Up On The Wrong Side of 50  for both nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award!  I didn’t know that I was already nominated by Waking Up On the Wrong Side of 50!  I’m sorry!  I guess this is all so new to me that I didn’t know it!  I know, you’re thinking NEWBIE!  And you’re right!

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Depression and Suicidal Thoughts

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I was inspired by Momentum of Jo’s  post on depression to share as well.  We all have choices in life.  We all share some burdens, some of us have more than others.  I know that myself.  Sometimes those burdens and grief feel overwhelmingly hard to carry and we long to unchain ourselves from their weights.  I get it.  I’ve been there.  I know.  I understand.

** Please be forewarned.  This is a raw, emotional post.  I have dealt with my sadness and I am not suicidal as I have spent a long time healing.  I am not an expert, but simply a woman who has felt depressed before and has healed, but still remembers the experience of profound sadness.  This post was written from the heart with the intentional hope to help others.  Please, if you are feeling this way, get help.  My intent is to bond with you, but not allow you to fall again into the abyss of depression.  There is hope everywhere darlings.  Just wait.  You can’t forget that the world is richer because of you are here and that you are an important part of this life.  If you are feeling suicidal or depressed, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.  You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

You are loved.

I taste the bitterness on your tongue, the words stuck in your throat, you know, the ones that you long to speak.  I feel the body shuddering sobs that wrack your body into spasms as you choke back the tears that rush down your cheeks.  I feel your nose running, the salty tears that slide into your mouth as you cry.  I know how your nose needs blowing, how your eyes have become bloodshot from all the wiping and that the never ending box of tissues is diminishing, but the pile near you of used ones is increasing.  I feel the depression and utter sadness that misunderstandings have left in its wake.  Clothes disheveled, body perhaps not bathed, hair not washed and sticking up in places or mashed down on your head in a greasy mess.  I hear the howling of your woundedness when you allow yourself to explode.  I feel your fists clenched in frustration and I feel the physical release of the pent up hurt as you battle the soft pillows in order to not break anything of value.  I see you do this all in silence when you are alone for fear that you do not want anyone to witness your defeatedness.  I am there with you as you raise yourself from the crumpled mess on the floor, using the last bits of energy to go to the bathroom and take a good look at yourself in the mirror.

Disgusted by the tirade, exhausted by the menagerie of emotion, you take to your bed or couch, hoping that sleep will find you some respite.  And I know that sometimes, sleep envelopes you and at others, it eludes you, making you restless and confused.  Body and mind are at war these days, battling depression and you feel like you are the ping pong ball in flight.

I am there when you are on your knees begging for the Universe, your deity, the Divine, God, whomever you choose, to take you and take away this painful time in your life.  I know the use of binging in comfort foods, alcohol or drugs to deaden the pain doesn’t help, even if you feel a respite of nothingness for awhile.  The depression lurks to strike again when we are vulnerable.  And it always strikes again until we heal.

I sense the deadened emotions, the feeling of nothingness which sometimes lulls us into feeling peace, but it is an illusion.  The only way to get through the depression is to go through it, like a briar patch, allowing the wounds to open in order to heal.  And it’s a bitch.  I know it.  I have been there – when you can’t see anything but trees in a forest, no path, no discernible way to even take a step forward if you wanted.

The human contact that you long for, the sense of being in the womb, safe from harm, loved without boundaries, hidden from view from all so that you can heal, I know that desire.  Or the opposite which is being in a cave, hidden in the darkness, licking your wounds, allowing the voices in your head free reign to disillusion you from reality.

I have heard those critical voices that persecute you, wounding with words we well know from the past, those that wound deepest, showing us that we are unworthy.  Repeating experiences in our minds perseverating, over and over, which deepen the wounds we carry in our hearts, minds and souls.  It’s like watching a train wreck of our lives looping over and over until we cannot see any blessings, only darkness.  There is no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel once we’ve arrived here.  There is only darkness, depression hissing in the background, rabid thoughts running amok in our brains.  Voices only carry caustic put-downs and we’ve forgotten who we are and why we came here.

How do we get out of this hell?  How do we step out from the darkness and find the light when there’s not even a twinkling star to guide us when we have fallen so far down the well of depression?  How do we find the energy to get up to nourish ourselves or even to do the basics for ourselves, never mind, for others for whom we are responsible?  How do we stop the chatter in our heads?  How do we find the energy to bathe our soiled selves and to get up from the crumpled heap of depression that we find ourselves in?

We have fallen dear friends, but even though we may feel this is hell, it is not.  It may only be a step away from hell, but this is not the worst it can be.  There are further levels of hell here on earth that we can fall to, depths that are unimaginable and yet here we sit on the precipice, ready to fall so that we do not have to endure any more.

That’s where the siren’s song of peace in taking our own lives begins to grow louder and we must try very hard not to give in to her devilish chant.  We are not better off in taking our lives.  Those in our lives are not better off with us gone.  What footprint have we left if we are to succeed in this plan?  Even though it takes courage to plan, it takes even more courage to change our plan to survive.

What’s the legacy you want to leave here on this earth?  We become so enthralled and wrapped up in our depression, in that all encompassing lie that things would be better if we did die, that we forget we have a soul along with our physical body.  Mind and body hurt so much that their pleas to release the chasm of pain drown out the soft, simple plea of the soul to heal.  It is a choice dear ones.  Stop and listen to your soul.  Let her song be heard.  Even when the mind and body drown out the soul’s loving, hope-filled song, it can still be heard by those who wish for healing.

Do you wish for healing?

If you are still reading, then I wish for healing for you, plain and simple – a healing of mind, body and soul.  You can heal as I have.  I believe in you.

Posted in 50 years old, divorce, inspiration, love, women 50 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How To Be Content With What You Have

howtobecontentwithwhatyouhave

“Until you make peace with who you are,

you’ll never be content

with what you have.”

– Doris Mortman

Wise advice for today.  At any age and stage of life, but especially during a milestone year like turning 50 or a dramatic change in life like divorce, we can become untethered, depressed and feeling like the huge dark cloud of lack surrounds us.  It’s a normal transition I think as I have heard from many people that they’ve experienced it too.  It’s just one of those life lessons I think that we have to use to grow in our understanding.  But I won’t tell you it’s easy, because many times, it’s not.

I think the best way to be content with what you have, is to be grateful for what we have.  Simply put, count your blessings.  Sometimes we have to get still and quiet in order to find the blessings in order to count them.  Because when you’re in the thick of chaos, fear or worry, all you can perceive is lack.  I don’t have enough money, I’m alone, I’m scared, nobody cares, I can’t do this etc.

Have you ever felt that way?

What I’ve found is that you can have all the riches in the world, but if you don’t understand your true self, nothing can make you happy.  Finding contentment and peace in just being yourself allows everything else to fall into place.

Why?

Because when you’re at peace within yourself, many changes occur in your life.  You radiate the peace within, you make better decisions because you are not in the chaos or worrying about superfluous stuff that may or may not affect you.  You look better, feel better, treat yourself and others better.  You sleep better, you think better and you act with integrity and a loving heart in all situations.  You may even be able to view the chaos from an observer’s point of view which allows you to see the entire situation, relationships, and even others’ points of view without engaging with our own stuff getting in the mix.

Sure,  I could tell you that you are perfect, whole and complete, but if you’re not in a peaceful place in your heart, then they are just words that you will rebuff.  They will mean nothing to you, unless you begin to understand yourself.  Understanding yourself allows for you to open old wounds, maybe even from childhood, air them out and heal them.  It allows you to forgive yourself and others and to not hold onto the grief that the past clutches.  It’s dropping the sandbags of remorse and guilt and simply allowing yourself a new start today, right this very moment.

Stop trying to impress others with your material things and careers.  By all means, continue to work hard so that you have those things if that is valuable to you.  But take the time as well for quiet time, for spiritual inspiration, for stillness in your soul.

Be content with who you are first, and everything else will fall into place.

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Time Marches On

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As I looked in the mirror this morning at my 50 year old face, an imperceptible groan escaped me.  Startled by my own reaction, I studied the face that stared back at me in the mirror.  The litany from that little inner critic began her rant (you know her, right?).

Look at those wrinkles!  Where’s your sunscreen?  Your eyes look tired and puffy today.  You need more sleep.  Where’s that satin pillowcase?  Oh gosh, your skin is so dry.  Put on moisturizer quickly!  You need botox.  How will you ever turn back time at this rate because it looks like time stomped across your face with Timberland boots!  Ugh.  Look at you – 50 year old divorced mother – you’ll be alone for sure for the rest of your life!

Have you ever had such a loud, demanding inner critic so early in the morning?

I closed my eyes and tuned the inner critic out.  I walked out to the kitchen to get myself a cup of coffee and to try to put her words out of my head.  But she was right, my little inner critic.  Time marches on and most of us think that there’s only so much we can do about it beyond surgery, botox etc.

But there is something else we can do!

So I went back to the mirror and really looked without hearing my inner critic’s words resounding in my head.  What I realized was this:

I own my wrinkles for each represents a time in my life.  The crinkles around my eyes are from laughter and smiling.  Would I change them?  Nope.  The dark circles under my eyes, I can change for they are from sleepless nights of worry.  I can change the way I fall asleep and let go of worrying and allow my brain and body to rest comfortably.  The puffy eyes are from not eating properly which I can change.  The forehead furrows are from stress which although I can’t change the past, I can change the future.

I looked and thought, I like my full lips for they haven’t changed.  I like my cheekbones and the shape of my face.  My new hairdo camouflages a bit of the forehead furrows which is good.  The other stuff are just superficial insecurities which I have to live with at this time.

Bottom line, I’m grateful that my eyes twinkle when I smile and are soulful when I’m sad.  My emotions play all over my face and you can read me like a book.  Would I change those things?  Nope.

So yes, time marches on, but at age 50, I may not be your cup of tea and I’m no model, but I am centered, happy, peaceful and kind.  As Kim Vogel Sawyer wrote in A Hopeful Heart,

“Looks aren’t everything.

Looks fade, but character remains.”

This time around, I’m looking for someone who sees the inner me with loving eyes and appreciates the outer me as well.

What about you?

 

Posted in 50 years old, divorce, finding happiness at 50, inspiration, women 50 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments