The EBM crowd is out in droves tonight. My area is predicted for a foot of snow and all hell has broken loose. Go ahead and laugh Bostonian, we freak out on a foot of snow (actually less than that). Mr. Buffalo it’s how we roll around here, you there from Green Bay yes our news run a 24 hour loop on the impending doom. In 12 hours there will be more cars stuck, wrecked, dinged than a Saturday night at the local race track. I just hope I’m not one of them!
I mentioned previously that I actively try to help divorced men & some women I’ve met through various channels of blogging and social media. I thought I would come up with my own blindsided “playbook” for handling divorce.
- The “Three Week Rule”: When you get the list of you need to change this and that, it’s over. You are too in love to realize that you are headed to divorce. More than likely someone else is mowing your spouse’s grass now and taking out their trash. You are in denial and you will be the last person to realize it! Believe me it’s coming, you will actively do everything demanded of you to hold on to your family, but your spouse has checked out and has probably been planning it for quite a while, the three weeks is to justify it in their head or see if they have the cojone’s or is it ovaries to go through with it? After you have exhausted yourself you will hear the words “I love you, but I’m just not in love with you anymore”. It stings, it hurts, either way, don’t fret because you’ve got work to do! More than likely they hate you!
- Financial survival: Unless you are financially secure, you are probably like most of us and living “decently” or something close to it, but have no emergency fund. Once you get hit with the big D, tighten up the finances the best you can. One income isn’t going to support your previous lifestyle, if you are fortunate to have a 401K plan that lets you take a loan against it save it until you need it (and you will eventually need it), don’t burn that loan in a desperate attempt to save your now doomed marriage thinking it will fix everything when you catch up on bills, buy shit you can’t afford, or whatever circumstance. Remember the other half checked out, been there and have the T-shirt to prove it, you will need that infusion of money at some point and if isn’t there it sucks gorilla balls. You don’t get that money back.
- Grieving: It’s OK to hurt, it’s OK to cry, it’s OK to hate, but eventually you are going to be OK. The quicker you realize that this isn’t the person you married the quicker your road to recovery will be. If you have a custody battle (scars and T-shirt once again), get involved in your child(s) school and activities as much as possible. If you were a behind the scenes parent during your marriage, tough shit get active! It’s awkward at first but over time it’s a blast. Other parents notice also, it’s all about the kids anyway, it is a struggle to balance grieving with parenting but Dad/Mom UP! Like I have been preaching your soon to be ex-spouse has a new shiny toy they are playing with. Your kid(s) are now your new priority until you fully grasp everything. Embrace it and you will love it!
- Divorce Support Group: I can’t stress this enough! Sure you have your “core” friends and they are more than understanding and willing to listen to you. Hell, I’ve written about my group countless times and last Tuesday each one of them checked in on me! Reconnect with old friends you haven’t talked to in years, get active on social media, they knew you more than likely before your spouse did. If you are scared of social media because of “big brother” and think you are being tracked then you are an idiot. Guess what moron, you pay a utility or have a cell phone number someone can find you if they want to, if your utility or cell bill is in someone else’s name then good chance you will never have to worry about a divorce anyway and need to get out of your parent’s basement. Fall back on your family no matter how big or small they are, they still love you no matter what you are going through. This is your new support group, you don’t so much as take a shit without consulting one of them first. They aren’t riding the emotional roller coaster you are on, and will offer much better advice for you. If you follow rule #3 you will also make many new friends and acquaintances that you can add to your group. If you can afford it see a therapist (luckily I have good insurance) they have heard your story countless times but also can offer you the most advice once you are ready to admit that your marriage is over. They become part of your divorce network also, and if you are the “I don’t believe in therapy” kind of person, then it’s just another outlet you are losing out on to help you go through a life changing event. I was one of those guys, I’m glad I’m not now.
- Blog: Start a blog, it’s 2015 you can write everything down on a computer and help yourself heal. You can do it for no one but yourself, or just share with friends. It gets your thoughts out in the open, because the worst thing you want to do is hold them in. Your life is about to undergo a transformation, you just don’t realize it yet. If the internet scares you (and if it does in 2015, you probably aren’t going through a divorce anyway), then use Microsoft Word or some similar program and just write your thoughts down. Get it out of you, don’t hold it in.
- Confidence (or lack of): Your self-confidence is going to be shot for a while, work on the previous steps and you will build it back up. That isn’t to say you are “on top of the world” after a while, but you weren’t the problem in the first place. Your marriage was doomed and you didn’t know it, happens to all of us that have to go through it. Once again if you are involved in a custody battle your kid(s), always come first. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, I will not stress this enough. Especially if you are a male going through it, because mom has the upper hand usually. After your divorce is final though if you have followed all of the steps above you can hold your head up high. You are a survivor, you get to rebuild your life the way you want it. Just don’t blow it and make sure you follow step #2 or it will take longer than you want!
It gets better! It truly does, you have to go through an absolute hell to get there but it does get better. If my “playbook” helps one person then mission accomplished. There is life on the other side of divorce, but damn it’s expensive to figure it out. Now I’m going to go find the last loaf of bread and dozen eggs at my local grocery store!