Write It Down

You are going through a separation and a divorce: this is no time to rely on memory. Write everything down. Everything! Keep a day book, a diary, and a running account of expenses of the past, present, and future. Leave nothing to chance.

I discovered as I worked through my grief and depression that I would forget the most obvious details at the most inconvenient times. So I learned to print out every email and save every note and scrap of paper.

I also learned that by jotting down my thoughts and feelings I could gain control of my emotions. In the middle of the night when I could not sleep, I would take pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard and pour my heart out. My brain could not tell the difference between my having had an actual conversation with a real person or an imaginary one. Once I got the words out on paper, I had relieved my mind of a problem and I was able to move on to the next step.

As you feel your life spinning out of control, take control of your life. Be organized. Save all scraps of paper. Write down your impressions of conversations. Take note of dates and times.

Take care to protect yourself. For if you don't, who will?

Here's a helpful blog: Write Out of Depression


Inviting the Single Person to Dinner

Singled Out: The dos and don’ts of inviting the unattached, by Helena Echlin advises married couples about the ins and outs of inviting singles to dinner or a couples event. As I've described on this blog on several occasions, I seldom get invited to couples gatherings these days. Most of my invitations are to meet girlfriends for lunch or for a girlfriends' night out.

This article talks about SPE, or single person energy. It seems we single women exude an exciting crackling energy that couples find a bit intimidating. We dress and groom a bit better, attend more exciting events, and keep our minds engaged.

Recalling my days as a hostess, I say that half the article is nothing but B.S. I always invited single people to my events, whether they were men or women, but frankly, I rarely noticed this so called SPE. Click here to read the article at CHOW: Singled Out.


Loss By Death Versus Loss Through Divorce

Here we go again. My radar pricked up tonight when a friend of mine reminded me forcibly that the reason an individual in our discussion group dropped out was because she was a tender widow. Meaning, she had lost her husband.


Yeah, I feel sorry for her, as I do for all people who have lost their mates. But I had lost my husband too, and I had been married as long as the widow, yet when I bring my feelings of loss up among this group (and this is not often, believe me) I see their eyes glaze. Here's the difference between society's attitude towards a widow and divorcee: Society has accorded the widow all the dignity of her position - a solemn funeral and the rituals that accompany death, all of her husband's asset's, and all the sympathy and empathy she could ever wish for.

A divorcee's loss is generally devalued by society, the legal system, comedians, and yes, even friends and family. The reality is that while the widow is given every benefit of the doubt both legally, financially, and by society, the divorcee is generally viewed as a "loser" in marriage. The loss of a divorced mate, which is felt just as keenly as the loss of a dead mate, is swept aside as having less value on the "loss meter" scale than a widow's. As one friend told me, "Bob is still alive." Cold comfort, as he is completely out of my life in every sense of the word.

This same friend felt free to tell me a few weeks ago, "Bob was strange." Would she have made such a statement to a widow? I doubt it. At the time the widow dropped out of our discussion group a few years back, my wounds from losing my husband were just as raw as hers and I was struggling mightily to hold myself together for the sake of this group. Had I quit as she did, would I have received the same tender consideration? Looking back I think not.

I am tired of this disparity in treatment. Divorce is not a joke. It is as traumatic as the death of a loved one and loss of a child. It is that simple. Thank you for listening.

For my other post on the same topic, Death vs. Divorce, click here.


Turning the corner

I did not just turn fifty. With a start I realized that I am staring 60 in the face. Last January I celebrated my 58th birthday. My divorce happened almost 7 years ago! Thankfully, the pain of separation has receded. I still feel pangs, which come at unexpected times. But looking back, I see that I:
  • embarked on a successful career
  • found new friends
  • discovered a sense of who I am and what I want to do when I grow up
  • take pride in my accomplishments
  • can go it alone
For those of you who are just now going through the agony of separation, hang in there. I truly thought my world had come to an end. I feared living in poverty. I feared growing old. I abhorred the thought of living alone. Over the years, all my preconceptions changed, some unwittingly, but most with conscious effort of understanding.

You may not ever be happy in the naive way that you once were. But as you reemerge from the ashes, your contentment will glow with the rich patina of experience, and you will find a deeper satisfaction than you've ever known before.

One quick step to independence is to become financially solvent:


Careless Words Hurt

Years ago I worked with Marge, a woman who had moved to our city after her divorce. Her children were grown and she lived alone in a cute condo, working in a nonprofit and living off her pension. She had left her husband, an alcoholic, after a long marriage. A salty old broad from Maine, and I write these words with love and respect, her comments about her divorce and ex were always wry and sardonic.

One day I made a breezy, off-hand remark, something like, but “You’re divorced, you wouldn’t understand.” I don’t recall my exact words or their context. I do recall the enormous look of hurt on her face and the tears filling her eyes. I had wounded her.

Flash forward to my own situation. The young marrieds surrounding me regard my relationship with my ex as a colossal failure. I know now how Marge felt. For twenty-one years my marriage was a success. Bob and I were wildly in love and happy, holding hands and not getting enough of each others’ company. Only when my husband became restless did our relationship begin to unravel. Frankly, I could have twisted myself into 3 pretzels, I believe now that nothing I did would have changed his mind. He wanted new pastures, a new woman, and to go in an entirely new direction than we had taken.

I feel awkward when my comments about marriage or my ex are discounted as meaningless. It feels like half of my life is being negated. Just this week an old friend of mine told me that a friend of hers had thought Bob strange. The words hurt. I didn't think Bob strange at the time I was married to him. What did her statement mean? I felt a distinct twinge of pain.

Oh, Marge, wherever you are, I apologize for my careless words all those years ago. If only I knew then what I know now - that thoughtless remarks not only hurt, they are demeaning.

Here are some interesting links: