Ways a friendly divorce can backfire

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I read a heap of divorce blogs yesterday, mainly because they popped up on my Facebook feed (I “liked” a zillion and one divorce sites in my dark days when I desperately was looking for answers) and they’ve messed with my head.

My heart contracted for 

He kicked off with:

I’ll be honest: I get tired pretty quick of reading the stuff divorced people write. Everyone has the right to tell their own story however they want to or need to, no doubt, but sometimes I get to thinking that a lot of these people who try and document their personal experience with the end of marriage, they exaggerate the good; they shine all their flashlight beams on the upsides and the bright sides in an effort to help themselves get through a really rough patch.

“Now look, there’s no doubt in my mind that moving on from something as devastating as divorce requires a certain amount of selfie-style brainwashing. I get that. You can’t just break up with someone you really loved at some point in time and not feel like battered ass. You need to turn the camera around at some point and zoom in on your own face, on the fact that you’re still alive and kicking and that you ain’t going down in some fiery emotional airplane crash just because you have a broken heart or whatever.

In the post he also talks about weird – but totally on the money – stuff like the lonely kitchen.

The kitchen, all those kitchens we shared across a decade of marriage and three kids, there must’ve been at least six or eight, what am I supposed to do with the fact that I stand in my own kitchen now, cooking man-n-cheese for the kids/cutting up a shitty Walmart tomato for my dumb little salad, and the whole thing is ruined for me in a way.

Have you ever felt like that? I have. It’s awful.

On the lighter side, Mom.Me also provided me with this awesome photo …

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I am SO trying it.

But also, it featured a rather confronting blog post about a woman who is dating her ex-husband:

I’ve kissed a couple frogs this past year after separating and divorcing, but I ultimately came to realize that after our breakup he’s become the man I was looking for all along.

I kinda dig this writer dude who cooks and intimately knows what it’s like to wrangle three children who drive you crazy/you love madly and he really likes me and perhaps most importantly, my kids really seem to like him.

Besides, he knows my last relationship ruined me for marriage. I’m not looking to get married ever again and he seems cool with it. His last relationship was a doozy as well.

Oh-kay. Rather an expensive and traumatic way to go about things. But whatever floats your boat. Good for them.

An article from Huffington Post also rattled me – it was called 10 Ways Having A Friendly Divorce Can Backfire. Nos 8 & 9 particularly resonated …

8. You could feel violated. Your ex will have their own private peep-hole into continually viewing your life, if they so desire. Especially if you rely on them for favors. Going on a trip? Be wary of asking them to water plants and feed your dog — the temptation to snoop is extremely inviting.

9. You could feel taken advantage of. The same inequitableness that exists in all friendships is likely here. One ex keeps asking the other to switch custody around to accommodate their crazy work schedule. Support payments will be late, and you’ll be expected to look the other way because you’re playing nicely, etc.

My ex and I are attempting to have a friendly separation. We are VERY amicable. But I’m worried I’m crossing the line. For example, I asked him to come and feed the dogs for me last night so I could stay in town and go out for dinner with friends.

AND I’ve asked him to mind the kids at his work on Friday afternoon so I can go out for farewell drinks with the departing editor of Kidspot.

I’m not rattled because I’m worried about him snooping, but because I might be taking advantage. Is he secretly resenting these requests? I mean, he’s always deeply resented my animals.

Who would know? We don’t have conversations on that level any more. We just chat amiably about the children and ignore all the elephants in the room.

It has to fall in a screaming heap again at some stage. I don’t see other separations going this smoothly. We are floating in a bubble that’s bound to burst.

Everyone asks me how the kids are coping. The answer: so well. Everyone asks how my ex and I are going. The answer: so well.

OK, so he left this mess for me to clean up (toilet paper and puppies are a baaaaad combination) …

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But I don’t expect him to clean up my messes any more.

We are done, he tore our marriage apart – like puppies with a toilet roll – and broke my heart, but life goes on. He’s not a bad man. He’s just a flawed one.

And his selfish decision resulted in a surprising thing: it set me free to get happy again.

So, while my heart aches for you, Serge, I’m afraid I’m one of those annoying “yippy-yi-yay” types who “feel good and alive and all” … and it’s not self-preservation-style brainwashing, it’s real and it’s pretty wonderful.

Song of the day: Howard Jones “What is love?” (Isn’t it fantastic that someone called Howard Jones who wasn’t your traditional spunk rat could have a hit like this in the ’80s?)

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2 thoughts on “Ways a friendly divorce can backfire

  1. Good to hear! No point in being miserable for the rest of your life. People can’t make us feel sad. But we allow ourselves to let them. That sounds trite I know but it’s true. My dogs have done that to many toilet rolls and boxes of tissues. We try to remember to shut the toilet door all the time. I LOVE that photo idea! I might get Scotto to do it.

    • I made the mistake of telling the eldest Scotto had tried milky sticks – now she wants to as well. Have you seen the video of the guilty box with the tissue box stuck on his head?

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