3/11/07

Change is inevitable

Let’s face it. As soon as you and your spouse separate, life as you have known it is no more. Some of you will take on the sole responsibility of raising your children while going to work full time, and maintaining the house. I’m willing to bet that you tumble into bed exhausted. Not only are you taking on the role of two people, but you are climbing a steep learning curve. Since my husband was an accountant who had complete control of our investments, I had to learn to about budgeting, saving for retirement, investments, pretax withholdings, and the like.

The biggest surprise about being single is that you have to drive everywhere. I miss being a passenger or seeing the scenery as I drive through the countryside. If you are married and have single friends, offer to drive them somewhere. I’m willing to bet they’ll take you up on it so fast your head will spin.

I was also shocked to find which friends stayed loyal and which friends did not. Some of my girlfriends were faculty wives and their husbands are still Bob’s colleagues. I was determined to keep these girlfriends, so I decided to keep my thoughts about Bob and our divorce to myself. When we are at gatherings I find other things to talk about, and keep the conversation light and frothy. All in all I retained about 90% of these friends, and although I don’t see them as much as I used to because of my travel schedule, we still see each other about 4 or 5 times per year.

As you attempt to avoid pitfalls during the worst time of your separation, you might find some help in these suggestions. I learned them the hard way, and then some.

  • Your friends are there for you, especially during the early crisis stages. But they lead busy lives too. As time wears on, expect them to drift away a little at first, and then a lot.

  • Don’t put your friends in the middle and force them to choose sides. I had two friends who thought Bob was a fiend and a jerk and a dork, and they minced no words about how they felt. I spoke my true thoughts to them, and I kept to the high road with all the rest.

  • Your friends want to help you but some don’t know what to do. Some others will feel very uncomfortable with the situation and seem to avoid you. Put them at ease and tell them you understand. If you need to see them, tell them. Better yet, ask them that you need their help. They’ll feel so relieved to be given something specific to do without having to engage in an uncomfortable dialogue.

  • Don’t expect your relationships with your couple friends to remain the same. It will not. I am rarely invited to intimate couples parties or gatherings. It’s just a fact of life. You can choose to complain about this or move on. At first I railed and ranted when I found myself alone on weekends, then I found new friends to pal around with. This process took a few years. And no, it wasn’t easy to be dropped by my couples friends from regular gatherings. However, I understand this is normal. I still see these couples at major events, though, and meet up with the wives for lunch.

  • Because of the above, expect to feel lonely on weekends at first. Saturday nights were the hardest for me. If you have kids, this may not be as much of a problem since you will be caught up in their activities. Nevertheless, be prepared. Find other things to do, and try not to compare your new social life to your old one.

2 comments:

hisheulb said...

Vic - Someone sent me this. It's by Andy Rooney. I thought perhaps you would enjoy it. - H

60 Minutes Correspondent Andy Rooney (CBS)

As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, "What are you thinking?" She doesn't care what you think. If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting. Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it. Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated. Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her. Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?", here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!

Vic's Still Standing said...

Oh, God hisheulb, that's fantastic and hysterical.

Most men I know are seeking women close to their age. There is a comfort in sharing similar memories and not having to explain a different culture all the time. My only regret is that my skin is sagging faster with each passing month. Pretty soon I'll be all jowls and no features.

Hah!