Divorced mamas - when did you feel "over it" or that you had let go/moved on

J B. asks from Boston, MA
7 answers

Sorry this is long. For those of you whose divorces are long in the rear view mirror, can you share when you felt that you had really moved on/let go/were over it? I'm feeling stuck. I have a counselor and will get more into it with her but I feel like a lot of our session time is very "on the surface" because there is a lot to catch her up on each week but not much time to really get below the surface. It's helpful for me to hear from other people who have been there, done that.

I spend way too much mental time and energy thinking about my ex, his girlfriend, our kids, his family, and our legal and financial battles. We've been separated for 2.5 years and after two years of trying to mediate an agreement without success, I filed in December and we had a hearing for temporary orders in January where I was granted physical custody and he was ordered to pay child support at an amount that we agreed on that was well below state guidelines. He hired an attorney who counter-filed for custody, child support, and spousal support so I had to hire an attorney to deal with all that. We all met a couple of weeks ago and resolved nothing. We don't go back to court until September and without an agreement we'll proceed to a trial or postpone for 6 more months. In the meantime, most of his time with the kids is spent at his girlfriend's house, my kids are going away with them for a weekend in May and he has instructed his family, with whom I am close, to not invite me to things without clearing it through him first in case he wants to have his girlfriend there. His gf is paying for his attorney and when I suggested that she is the one pushing him to pursue spousal support, he didn't deny it. So I'm not really in a place where I'm ready to meet her and welcome her with open arms, which I truly feel that I would have tried to do had he started dating after our divorce was settled and I hope we can get along as I don't want to carry around hostility or make like difficult for anyone. But they're going after my financial security.

I would really like to not give a rat's ass about what he does and with whom. I'd really like to not care if his gf is at family functions or not, or that they're playing happy family with my kids as props. I'd really like to not wake myself up in the middle of the night running nightmare calculations over what would happen if the worst case scenario came true for me and I'd have to pay him spousal support or if we were ordered into 50/50 custody, which would only happen after a long, expensive and drawn out legal battle that we're really trying to avoid. I would really like for his financial problems to not be my financial problems, to not be married to him anymore, to feel totally neutral towards him and anyone he dates, to be free of him and to move on.

So when does that happen? Is it really not until the divorce is settled? If my attorney can't work magic with his (and his is a pain in the ass - mine is all about a reasonable agreement and joint filing, she's all about thinking that I somehow owe him) this is 6 months away or more. I have plenty on my plate with work, the kids, studying for an industry exam, family, friends, volunteer work, etc. I'm going through the motions of self-care (exercise, meditation, yoga, healthy eating) but still feel super-stressed out. One bad interaction with him can cause me to lose hours of sleep. Were any of you in a long divorce where you were able to find peace before it was over? How? What did you do, what did you tell yourself that made things better?

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7 Answers

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Ebird's mom

answers from Los Angeles on

A good attorney plays hardball with the opposing counsel/opposing party while behind the scenes trying to get their clients to be reasonable and managing the client’s expectations.

You indicated that your attorney thinks you owe your husband. If she is not adequately representing your best interests or if you think she’s not aggressive enough for your soon-to-be ex-husband’s attorney, I suggest finding a different attorney to represent you. It will make a world of a difference.

4 moms found this helpful
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Natalie K.

answers from Miami Beach on

I think this is very personal, or maybe the right word is "individual," there isn't a right or wrong answer. A lot will have to do with whether you had feelings for each other, the length of the marriage, the way it broke up, and who initiated the breakup. I was long over things at the stage of separation because I was the one who initiated it, and I was barely married a year, an awful, long year. Some people still don't get over it after the divorce is granted, and for many years thereafter. I assume a woman who has been married for 10 years or more and was blindsided is going to have a harder time moving on than someone like me, for example.

The best thing that worked for me was to keep busy, focus on other things than my divorce, and have a social life. Nature trails, beach outings, going out for walks, or just cozying up at home with a movie and some sushi helped me realize I was in control of my life and my moods more than I thought. My divorce dragged on for so long that I was just happy to get it over with, even if things in the MSA weren't perfect. Have you tried joining some sort of social support group with divorced ladies? It might help you all to vent, and you might have some good advice for each other too, plus having other people understanding what you're going through, some fun and distraction are always a good thing.

3 moms found this helpful

tadpole

answers from New York on

i have been divorced since 2004. he cheated on me with multiple women. by the time our divorce was final i was not interested in men, took me about a year to date, then took things kinda slow. (we had no kids, and were only married about a year when he started being unfaithful, so i got out of that one quickly.)

2 moms found this helpful
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MilitaryMom 6.

answers from Woodbridge on

You've been in charge of micro-managing that a**hat for years - it would be hard for anyone to just stop on a dime. Basically, and as usually, you are looking for long term, smart solutions and he is living in the moment - leaving you all the stress and him none. With all the history involved, I will say that you've been a little over-involved since the beginning of the separation. I promise, there is no ex-wife of the year award, but if there was, you'd win :) You wanted to wait to get divorced to try to work something out, but that didn't happen. You wanted to play nice with his family for the sake of the kids, but that really isn't happening either. He is moving forward with his life, and you really aren't able to because you feel responsible for cleaning up the mess he is making along the way (understandable on your part after doing it for so many years).

My two cents? Stop trying to involve him, and his family, in the kids' lives. If I recall, didn't you host his family for a recent holiday? No. No. No. I vaguely recall a joint vacation at one point? And trying to work out everyone making it to sporting events?

Stop trying to be the "good guy." You don't have to be the bad guy - just the not my problem guy. Make sure that you attorney understands that your main priority is resolution - even at the cost of hurting a few feelings. Why are you having discussions about his gf and her role/stake in this? Overstepping boundaries a bit there.

As far as protecting your "financial security," I totally hear you. I really do. But you have to understand that worrying about an outcome that may turn worst case is the biggest waste of the time in the world. I think finding a way to make peace NOW with whatever outcome happens should be your number one priority. If he gets more than his share? Plan to appeal. Plan to hire another attorney. Plan to be ok with it. Plan to be happy that it was worth it to get rid of him. Whatever it takes - HAVE A PLAN. That way, you can spend less time worrying about the what if's and focus on the "well then I will just . . ."

Finally, I know I'm going to be in the minority here, but woman, start dating a little bit. Nothing serious, of course. I know everyone's mantra is always "be ok with yourself first!" I think you ARE ok with yourself. I think alot of what is going on is just remnants of some unlovely co-dependent, had to do it to survive, caregiving behavior that you know better than to repeat in a new relationship. Get out there a little bit. Hop on a dating site. Worry about what to wear or other dumb meeting guys stuff and take some of the time you are worrying about that jackwagon and focus it in a completely different direction - your own personal relationships with other people of the opposite sex.

Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful
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Anne L.

answers from Rome on

Oh, the twit. Sorry that you are still dealing with grief from that guy. I think Diane B is spot on, so I'll just say 'ditto.' I do encourage you to continue with the self-care, even if you feel like you are just going through the motions. It's like maintenance exercise--I might think it's not doing anything for me, but when I don't do it, my general mood starts to slip and I realize I'm missing it. Sending LOTS of good wishes!

3 moms found this helpful

Diane B.

answers from Westborough on

I've followed your story for a few years, and I think what may be happening to you is a backlash from all the stress of being the steady one in your family. You've been amazing to your husband's daughter as well as the kids you have between you, you've stayed so cordial with his parents, you've carried the financial burden both when you were married/together and since. You are the one who kept your kids stable in moving to a new home. You got the through the passing of your beloved dog. It's always been YOU!

My feeling is that you might tell your therapist that you need to spend less time telling her about last week than in getting into the deeper stuff. It's really okay - and it might be long past time - to focus more on your intense feelings and your focus on moving forward as a single woman than on the everyday stresses (real as they are) of getting the kids through the week or what stupid thing your ex said on Tuesday. She works for you, so it's absolutely fine to ask her to redirect the conversations into heavier issues.

It sounds like your husband is emboldened by his girlfriend being the super-duper helper, but it's very telling that visits occur at her house (not his) and that now there's an apparent ban on your attending events with his extended family. That signifies to me that she is either far less secure than she is trying to come off, or that he is insecure about being able to handle himself with both you and her there. The kids, if I recall, don't spend as much time with him as they could - not staying overnight and so on, right? So, although they are totally old enough to decide where they want to live, there's not much evidence that their father either wants them there to handle by himself or that he can manage financially without a woman (if he wants spousal support and he needs his girlfriend to pay his legal fees). I think you could argue in court that you are the one who keeps the family wheels turning, from grandparents at holiday dinners/graduation to kids on schedule to financial planning. I would hope that a good judge would look at your husband's history (or lack of same) in managing pretty much everything (including his own daughter), and that these are critical years in getting your 2 youngest boys ready for college or job independence. A waste of financial resources (by giving too much to Mr. Irresponsible) would be quite dire at this time. If he would manipulate the kids emotionally and make them declare they wanted to live with him, that's another problem.

I have a friend with an idiot ex-husband who didn't pay child support for 2.5 years (until she took him to court, and he got creamed), didn't come when one of the kids was in the ER on 2 occasions, and who keeps moving further away with a wife he married as soon as he legally could. He's the kind of guy who thinks everything will be just hunky-dory is only he moved from MA to Maine, first in a small town 3.5 hours from his children and then in an even more rural area 8 hours from his kids. He doesn't use the visitation he's allotted (and she would give him more if he wanted it and didn't move so far away), and she had to facilitate a scheduled call on Sunday nights just to get him to talk to his kids. So he sounds a lot like your ex - he doesn't really want the daily part of parenting, but he talks "custody" whenever he looks at his child support payments. Perhaps that's where your husband is now. My guess is that both men would get really tired of the daily parenting and would dump as much as possible on the superhero woman in their lives. It may take a while for your husband's girlfriend to get sick of this, but any legal decision should be based on your track records vs. his, and not his relationship du jour. So I doubt you would lose big in this situation. How my friend handles it is to speak as little as possible to her ex, and realize she cannot control him. She also - to my amazement - doesn't even spend much time talking about what an idiot he is, because it drains HER too much. She works on the big stuff that he says that is detrimental to he kids, and just heaves a heavy sigh for the littler stuff. She has worked in therapy on building her own considerable strength and focusing on his inability to prove her unfit as a parent. His track record is pretty spotty, like your husband's.

I have no idea if this helps you at all but I do hope you find good ways to focus on yourself in a deeper way. I hope he doesn't try to drain you financially but I have no doubt that you will triumph in the end.

6 moms found this helpful

B

answers from Chesapeake on

You are over it when you no longer care or have any interest in what ever he's doing with who ever he does it with.
He ultimately becomes a stranger you wouldn't know if you passed him by on the street.
It can take a lot of time to achieve that - years - sometimes decades.
While you have kids under the age of 18 - there's always a connection - and through them - you each have a certain power over the other.
I don't think you will find ultimate peace before your youngest turns 18 - maybe a few years after that.

If your lawyer isn't working for your best interests - you need a new aggressive lawyer.

3 moms found this helpful
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