All Articles Tagged "divorce"
Sometimes the biggest lessons in life come from the littlest people. At a “staggering” five feet tall, I suppose that I would technically be considered one of those little people, but for clarification’s sake, let me just start by saying that the little people I’m talking about here are children– my children. And in this case, that lesson was about divorce.
From the moment my ex and I decided to separate, I obsessed over how we were going to break the news to the kids. When we’d do it. How we’d do it. The first thing we decided was that it was going to me and not we doing the talking. Not necessarily because I’m better at these things than he is…. No, that was it. I’m just better at these things than he is. And I imagined that if it were both of us, it would be this Huxtable-style family meeting that we’d go into with good intentions, but come out with four children forever traumatized by the sight of all of us sitting in a circle with our tacky sweaters and Jell-O pudding pops, crying.
That was my view of it. But the truth is that growing up, I never had to go through anything remotely close to this, and I couldn’t even imagine what it was going to be like for the kids; how much their lives were going to change from the instant we said the words: “We’re getting a divorce….” The years of therapy they’d spend talking to a psychologist about how I’m the root of all of their problems in life (which will likely happen divorce or no divorce).
For days I cried, and cried…and then cried some more. I stressed, and stressed…and then stressed some more; because I knew that however I did it, this was something they’d remember for the rest of their lives.
Because I was dealing with two older children and two younger ones, I thought it would be best to tell them at different times so I could handle two different kinds of questions that I knew I probably wasn’t going to be able to answer the right way anyway.
I talked to the older kids first.
I walked down the hallway to my oldest’s bedroom where the two were playing video games (a rare moment where they were actually getting along). I stood in the doorway and asked them to pause the Xbox for a minute.
Not giving myself the chance to back out, I blurted, “We’re getting a divorce,” and I braced myself for the tears and the screams of “Why God? Why?” Because after all, they are my children and they have my tendency to be a little on the dramatic side. There weren’t any tears though. It was just quiet. I thought that maybe they were expecting me to say something else. So I did.
“It just wasn’t working out,” I said. “So your dad’s gonna be moving into his own apartment.”
“We’re still friends though!” I rushed to add. I thought it was important that among all things, they knew that.
I waited for them to respond. They both stared at me, and then the younger one finally spoke.
“Can we un-pause the game now?”
It definitely wasn’t the question I was expecting, but I was relieved that at least it was one that I could answer.
“I guess. Go ahead,” I told them. “Just don’t say anything to the little ones. I haven’t talked to them about it yet.” By that time they were already mesmerized by Madden again.
I didn’t chalk that one up as a success for me, but I was glad it was out of the way. The only problem was that I knew the two younger children were next.
I waited a couple of days to talk to them. In part because I needed to give myself a mental break, but I also wanted to wait for the weekend when I’d have more time with them to dry their tears and help them process all of their emotions; even though I hadn’t been very good at processing my own.
Once again I walked down that hallway not knowing what to expect after I said those words.
I can’t say that I even remember what came out of my mouth to start the conversation, but I’m sure that whatever it was, it probably wasn’t the best thing that could’ve been said at the time. The important thing was that I said it. It was out there.
“What does divorce mean?” my daughter asked.
“It means that mommy and daddy won’t be married anymore.”
“Do you have a boyfriend? Because I don’t want two moms and two dads.” That was my son; always one to cut the crap and get straight to the matter at hand.
“Nobody is getting married again right away. You don’t need to worry about that right now,” I assured him. But what I needed was someone to assure me, because all of a sudden I was freaking out on the inside, terrified at the thought of being replaced.We talked a little about how daddy and mommy were still friends; how they’d still see him all of the time and other important things that I can’t quite recall.
I do remember, however, that there weren’t any tears. No “Why God? Why’s.”
There was only one more question: “What’s for dinner?” Dinner. All of this going on and they wanted to know about dinner.
Did I do it wrong or something? Should I have made it out to be a bigger deal than I did? And what is for dinner? Later, as I was cooking, I thought about it all over and over again.
Why weren’t they broken up about this like I was? Why didn’t they have all the questions that I had?
I’d like to think that a large part of it was that I might have actually done something right. But I think there was also something those little people knew that I hadn’t yet figured out. In all of my obsessing over what went wrong in the marriage and whose fault it was, I didn’t realize that I couldn’t spend my time dwelling on things. It happened. We got a divorce. But life goes on.
Madden has to be played. Dinner has to be made.
As the days have gone by, there have been questions. I know there will probably be many more. And it’s likely that I may not always have the answers. But that’s okay. We’ll get through it. We’ve made it this far, and we’ll go even further as we live our lives. And as for whether I did it wrong or not– only time and their therapy bills will tell.
By Mimi Scarlett
The most wonderful time of the year is upon us. A time of the year where society inundates us with the message that everyone is full of good cheer and existing peacefully with their family and loved ones. Truth of the matter is, the holidays are a time of turmoil for some for a plethora of reasons.
Those who co-parent may often find handing their child over to the other parent during the holiday season to be an especially hard time especially when young children are involved. While others are gathering together, having to hand your child off to the non-custodial parent or having to be without your child can be very difficult.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Thanksgiving through Christmas is an exciting and amazing time for young children. It isn’t far removed to say that a parent who has been minimally active during the child’s life for a large part of the year will find ways to make themselves relevant during the holidays to win over young children who aren’t old enough to understand that gifts don’t make all things better. I would be equally remiss not to mention those minimally involved parents who find a way to disappear during the holidays to avoid any further financial obligations that comes with the season.
Not all co-parenting arrangements fall under the above scenarios; there are as many individuals have found ways to peacefully co-parent but even in this some find it hard to let their children go during the holidays as they miss those magical memories that bring a certain joy to parenthood.
Whatever situation you may fall under as a parent, here are 7 tips to help bring holiday co-parenting peace.
1. Communicate and Plan Ahead: If you are the custodial parent reluctantly handing off your child but still wants to be somewhat involved, talk over scenarios with the other parent. Share your holiday plans with the other parent far in advance to plan out a course of action that will be beneficial to both parents. Also discuss what you want the holidays to represent for your child. If one parent believes in Santa and the other doesn’t, try to come to an agreement on what you will collectively represent to your child regarding the holiday season.
2. Utilize Technology: While you may not be able to be there in person, technologies such as Skype and Facetime will allow you to see your child open their gifts on Christmas day. This would be a great option for the child as well. Just as you are missing them, they will be missing you and seeing your face would really make their day even more special
3. Create your own tradition: While we know Thanksgiving is the last Thursday in November and December 25th is the day we recognize Christmas, you are free to create your own traditions. Recreate the special day at your home at an earlier or later date. Work with the other parent to maintain this tradition even when the child isn’t in their home at those times. Just a little something unique to give your child about the co-parenting experience.
4. Collectively Participate in Seasonal Activities: I know, this can be a farfetched idea but there are families that have blended well and are able to come together peacefully for the sake of the child(ren). Not there yet? Try talking through this with the other parent. Maybe start small with just a dinner together or a holiday outing to the skating rink or on a field trip. Collaborating on small outings throughout the year may open the door for certain holiday traditions to be shared together.
5. Be Social: If you are not in the position to be with your child during the holidays due to distance or a strained relationship, get out and be social. Children take up the majority of our time and when they are not with us it is easy to sit around and twiddle our thumbs. Take this time to reconnect with friends and family. Do some of the things you are not able to easily do parenting a child solo. While it may be hard to be without your child take the time to focus on you and refresh.
6. Create a No Compete Zone: Of course the way to a child’s heart is through lots of toys. That was sarcasm. While your finances may not allow for the purchase of the season’s hottest must have toys, but the other parent is able to do those things don’t put yourself in a financial bind. As a custodial parent you take on a far greater burden, and are there daily. Those moments are the ones that count, not the number of gifts you present during Christmas
7. Seek Legal Help: While some co-parenting relationships are productive there are others that are strained or have come to an impasse on how to proceed. If you are refusing to let your child spend time with the other parent for any reason and that parent is arguing their right, seek legal help via the court or mediation. Sometimes it is hard to put personal differences to the side for the well being of the child. While having someone order you to let your child spend time with the other parent can be just as stressful, at the very least the mandate is court appointed and must be upheld taking the stress from having to deal with the other parent year after year regarding visitation and custody.
I’m on the cusp or turning 30, and over the course of the last five years, slowly but surely my friends, colleagues, co-workers, former classmates, exes, extended family, and almost everyone else are getting married. That sounds about right. The current average age for people in the U.S. to wed is 27 for women and 29 years of age for men.
If the above is true, we millennials–a group I reluctantly say that I am a part of–are bucking at the status quo and doing things our own way. Back in 1990 the average age to marry was around 24, and depending on the decade you parents tied the knot, the couples averaged around the age 22. There have been countless articles, posts, and think pieces dedicated to how and why millennials are (or aren’t) marrying sooner than our parents and older siblings. But that’s not what this is about.
The reason that I know almost everyone is getting married is because of social media. Gone are the days in which we find out about nuptials either via physical attendance, hearsay, or reunions; we are the first generation of publicly sharing our lives with the world. Weddings are supposed to be one of the most important and special days of our lives. Two become one as they pledge their love and allegiance to each other for life. It’s a beautiful thing and the pictures look amazing (is it just me or was Labor Day Weekend the official weekend to get married this year?).
Weddings are wonderful, but marriage is beyond difficult. It’s no secret that millennials, for the most part, pride themselves on being individuals and that is the antithesis of what you slipped rings and exchanged vows for. People start families, two becomes one and then becomes three and four when we procreate, and then real life happens. Statistics suggest that around 50 percent of marriages fail, so the law of averages connote that half of these beautiful weddings and #relationshipgoals that I see on all of my timelines are going to end. I can’t even say that I am being cynical, but numbers say this is realistic and inevitable.
So what happens when the ending of these unions start to take up a considerable space on my timeline?
I joke with my friends about not dating single mothers until my mid-thirties when the first wave of divorces happens. The average age of divorce is around 31, so this anticipated phenomenon of drama/comedy should be hitting Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter any day now. Actually, my friends are already getting divorced. I can think of a handful of my closest friends who are legally separated, in the process of, or have marriages in dissolution. I guess technically I am one of those people, too because of the passing of my partner.
If people are posting inspirational quotes from relationship gurus and posts loaded with subliminal shots over people breaking up with boyfriends and girlfriend, the level of petty that’s about to happen will be epic.
What will happen next? Because we posted our weddings, honeymoons, and aggrandized our lives as happy as if no one ever has a bad day, we will know who those Rob Hill Sr. quotes are about.
There is nothing wrong with celebrating one’s big day. Social media, for better or worse, has linked us together with people and we can somewhat honestly answer that question—or at least see what they look like. Many owe their happy love lives to social media. And for those who have posted their nuptials may not know how they are going to handle that love being lost.
What we do know is that social media is the norm. So be careful because potential spouse no. 2 could see the ugly divorce, and that could scare them away from the two of you sharing your wedding day.
Have you seen millennials on social media going through divorce?
We sat down with Deesha Phillywaw, co-author of “Co-parenting 101: Helping Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce.” We must admit, at first we were cynical. She actually gets along with her ex. We’re not talking, small-talk and exchange Father’s and Mother’s Day cards. It’s more like, let’s blend this family on vacations, at birthday parties and in business. We pictured past episodes of “The Brady Bunch.” We wanted to know how to deal with someone who’s difficult.
But Deesha quickly made us believers through her website, Co-parenting 101. Because the couple have a cooperative partnership, they sought information from those struggling to co-parent with someone who is uncooperative. Deesha also gained insights based on personal experiences with her new husband’s ex. Most of the Google searches leading to her site are queries from women dating co-parenting men, “co-parenting with a narcissist” or “my ex refuses to co-parent.”
The one query she’ll never forget was: “How do I get my boyfriend’s kids to hate their mother and love me?” She wishes she could have warned that dad. Instead, she’s warning women about not falling into the tit-for-tat trap. Here’s her advice to women who say, “… but you don’t know my ex.”
Keep in mind that you can only control yourself, your household, and your responses. Sometimes, a co-parent can act in ways that are so unfair and infuriating, and we just want them to stop. But as my grandmother used to say, “You can’t make grown folk do anything they don’t want to do.” If you appeal to your co-parent’s sense of fairness and what’s in your child’s best interest, and yet they remain uncooperative, you can pursue legal actions when it’s warranted and feasible, and you can become resolute to keeping your focus and actions on your child’s best interest.
Don’t Respond Immediately
You don’t have to swing at everything your ex pitches. And when a swing is warranted, it doesn’t have to be immediate. Sleep on it, and count to ten. Before you hit “send” on that email or text, run your response by a trusted friend. Make sure it’s your best friend who is a calming influence, not the one ready to take off her earrings and ride for you. And check yourself: is your response designed to address a matter that’s important to your child? Or is it just tit-for-tat defensive?
Don’t Respond to Everything
One co-parenting dad I know was getting so many angry emails from his ex, that he made a policy of only responding to her on Fridays, and even then, he only responded to things that had to do with their children—action items. He responded to the request to pick the child up from soccer practice; he ignored the one calling him a deadbeat dad and throwing jabs at his girlfriend.
A co-parenting mom I know changed her email address, and let her sister take over her old account to monitor the emails from her child’s father. It was a lot of criticism, but if there was ever anything the mom actually needed to respond to, her sister would let her know. She spared herself all the nastiness, but in order to do so, she had to let go of the need to defend herself to her ex.
Choose What To Give Up
Don’t give up on doing what’s best for your child, but do give up on “winning” or punishing your ex or making him “do right” or get along. When co-parents lock in to do battle, no one wins, and children always lose. Be the bigger co-parent, and choose your battles wisely. The family court system isn’t perfect, but it’s better for your child and for your peace of mind for you to, for example, pursue child support through the system rather than going back and forth with your ex whenever there’s an expense.
Hang up the Phone
Get off the phone. Texts, emails, and if need be, certified mail are conducive to more level-headed, non-reactionary responses. Plus, they create documentation that can help with scheduling parenting time, and in the event that you do end up in family court.
Take a Business Like/Just the Facts Approach
Like the dad who stuck to soccer practice and ignored his ex’s personal attacks, try to stick to just those matters that have to do with your child’s needs and well-being. Even if the other parent doesn’t respond respectfully or immediately, explaining that “It’s important that you adhere to the parenting time schedule because our child needs the stability and consistency” is more appropriate than, “I can’t believe you didn’t show up and let him down again. You’re a deadbeat!”
Affirm Your Child’s Feelings Without Demonizing Your Ex
Veteran co-parents tell us that it’s a long, hard road, but eventually kids come to see negligent or irresponsible or uncooperative parents for who they are, without any editorializing from the stable parent. Being the responsible, sacrificial, bigger co-parent can be exhausting and feel like a thankless job, but in the end, your kids are worth it. Kids identify with both parents, so they feel conflicted and bad about themselves if parents speak ill of each other. It can be really tough for the co-parent who is doing all of the heavy-lifting of parenting to accept that their child can seemingly be happy with–or even prefer–the parent who does less and who is less responsible. But as one fifth-grader told her mother, “I know Daddy is a jerk, but I don’t want anyone else to call him that.”
Vent away…just not to or around your child. If you’re minding your manners in email, around your kids, and at pick-up and drop-off times, you need an outlet for your frustrations and anger. Remember, feelings are always okay, but actions may or may not be okay. Express yourself to a trusted friend, counselor, or support group–people who will help you honor the commitment you’ve made to your child to support her relationship with the other parent by being civil.
Toast to the Future
It’s never too late to turn over a new leaf as a co-parent, to commit or re-commit to a peaceful approach that minimizes your child’s exposure to adult drama. Cheers to a drama-free future!
Break-ups suck, especially when they’re fresh. I imagine that they’re even more difficult when you’re in the public eye with cameras in your face. But Halle Berry is handling the conclusion of her marriage to Olivier Martinez like a pro.
Extra recently caught up with the stunning beauty at an event benefiting the Jenesse Center, Inc., and she appears to be at peace with all that is going on.
“I’m doing okay, I really am. I, I keep pushing, and I’m really happy to be here because whenever you’re going through anything in life when you step outside yourself and focus on others, that’s always the best remedy for any situation that you’d rather not be dealing with,” said Berry.
In addition to placing her focus on helping battered women, the 49-year-old actress has her hands full with her adorable children, 7-year-old Nahla Aubrey and 2-year-old Maceo Martinez, who is sick with the chicken pox.
“Maceo didn’t go trick-or-treating ’cause he has the chicken pox, Nahla was a zombie cheerleader, and we had a great time,” said Halle.
Mom also joined in on the Halloween fun by dressing up.
“I was a pirate and she (Nahla), she’s like, ‘You’re a sexy pirate, Mommy,’ I’m like, ‘What do you know about a sexy pirate?'”
It’s great to see that Halle is in good spirits.
We often hear stories about women who find themselves in relationships with men who don’t want children; however, we rarely hear of situations where it’s the other way around. Recently, a Reddit member turned to the popular message board to let off some steam about his impending divorce. Two months ago, the poster, who we’ll call “Jim,” learned that his 28-year-old wife of four years isn’t interested in having children anymore because she believes that pregnancy and caring for a child will take away from her career, and she’s no longer sure if she’s willing to make that sacrifice.
Apparently, when the two tied the knot four years ago, they were both up for having children after 2 years of marriage, but somewhere around their 2 year anniversary and his 30th birthday, Jim began to notice that his wife was second guessing the whole kids thing.
I was starting to get worried. I expected to have had at least one child by now. I don’t know why I never talked to her about her; we had always been candid about having children together, and I couldn’t possibly think of why she would change her mind. All her excuses seemed perfectly reasonable, but now I was getting the inkling that they were just excuses. So we talked about it. I sat her down and told her that I was 30, and I felt I really wanted to have kids before a certain age had passed. We would both be perfect parents: we’re happy together, we have a spacious home, both she and I have very high-paying jobs and could be considered wealthy, and her parents live 20 minutes away so they can always help out. That’s when she told me she wasn’t sure she wanted kids anymore. She said she felt a pregnancy and then giving birth and caring for a baby would take too much away from the career she was building. I was crushed.
Jim offered to be a stay-at-home dad to prevent his wife from missing too much work, but she remained on the fence. The couple eventually decided to file for divorce. And apparently, they’re both pretty broken up about it. But what’s a couple to do when the both parties realize that they’re envisioning two completely different lives?
After about a month of a lot of talking, we came to a conclusion: there was no getting around the issue. Our relationship was, essentially, over. I still think she’s attractive, amazing, intelligent, funny, and one of the most interesting people in the world, which is why I told her that, for the sake of any future relationships, it’s best we avoid contact as much as possible. Because we didn’t break up over a fight or infidelity but for a rational reason, it would be too easy for us to fall in love again or something and continue the cycle.
I can’t blame her for anything more than I can blame myself, and she’s handled it all very well. We’re truly having a “velvet divorce,” if you could call it that. Splitting everything we’ve saved together as evenly as we can, selling the apartment and each of us moving somewhere else. All of mine will remain mine, and hers will remain hers. She doesn’t want it to be any harder than I do. Both of us have our lawyers, of course, but it’s being handled with transparency and fairness as much as we can.
And yet it still hurts inside. When we finally agreed to file, I sat down and cried, thinking that I had just pushed away the most wonderful person in my life–the person closest to me and most sincere to me–over my life goal. And then the next day I realized she had ceased to be that person to me not on the day we divorced, but on the day she changed her mind on something that affected both of us and didn’t even try to tell me. Our relationship was already dying since it lacked the trust and communication a step like that required. I think that’s what’s actually hurting me the most.
Have you ever found yourself in a position where you had to choose between your partner and your long-term happiness? What did you decide to do?
Anthony Smalls, 32, has been separated from his wife for 11 years. While they still share parenting duties of two lovely preteens, the bond of marriage itself has dissolved. Unless, of course, you count their marriage certificate which is still current.
Smalls’ relationship is one of many where couples remain separated for years instead of completing the divorce process, and Smalls said emotions have nothing to do with it.
“If you go down to file (for divorce), you can buy the court document number, but if you file the paperwork wrong they keep telling you, ‘you know you should go see a lawyer,’ then you go to a lawyer and the lawyer wants $1,000. I don’t have $1,000 right now,” he said.
The old adage goes, “it’s cheaper to keep her” and Washington D.C. divorce strategist and lawyer Michelle C. Thomas says for the most part that notion is still true.
“Divorce proceedings can certainly get expensive, that’s why it’s importance for the couple to seek legal counsel from someone who has the couples best interest at heart and can do a cost analysis. Would it cost more for a couple to go through the process or wait out the time of separation, then proceed with an uncontested divorced?” said the award-winning lawyer.
An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties agree on all of the divorce-related issues, from real estate, finances, and child support to spousal support. However, this is rarely the case.
Even if your divorce is a lot less complicated, Smalls knows firsthand it still isn’t an easy — or cheap — process. Working in corporate America, he has often had to take off of work early to attempt to file on behalf of himself. However, he unfortunately made a few mistakes on the paperwork.
“ I think that most people that have the time and the money get it done. But everybody that says, ‘if you really wanted it done you would have gotten it done a long time ago’ – they are not in your shoes.”
Almost anyone who has been married can recall just how easy it was to go to the court and get a marriage license, but divorce is a whole different ball game.
“Depending on the state, it’s about $100 to get a marriage license. In general, to do the same thing, just by paying the fees with the county it’s around $400 just to get the initial forms done in a divorce, even if you don’t have anyone helping you,” said California family lawyer and CEO of Separate.Us, Sandro Tuzzo. Separate.Us is a new startup website set to help couples divorce for a low cost online.
So, how much has Smalls spent so far? Five hundred dollars, but that is only because he has yet to seek counsel, which may surely be an option in the future.
The fact is Smalls, like many, is on a tight budget. He has kept the family’s three-bedroom apartment for his children and is actively involved beyond his financial obligations.
“Most of us still live from check to check, especially when you are going through a divorce. You really don’t have much money, because it is no longer two incomes,” he said,
Certified divorce financial analysts Ellie Lipschitz and Dorian Brown of New York’s FT Partners note there are three standard ways to get a divorce: collaborative divorce, mediation, and litigation and they all have varying costs.
- A collaborative divorce takes the courtrooms out of the picture as spouses meet together with a lawyer and agree to essentially play it fair.
- A mediated divorce uses a neutral middle-man to meet with the spouses to hopefully come to an agreement on differences and reports to the judge if an agreement is reached.
- The more costly of the three is litigation, for all of those couples that need to have their day in court.
And what exactly are you paying for? Of course the actual paperwork, legal counsel and mediators, but divorce financial analysts may need to be brought in, as well as a host of other individuals if things get difficult.
“Sometimes you need more than a divorce lawyer, a financial advisor, emotional counsel, tax advisor – all of that is helpful and it takes a village. Sometimes, I redirect clients and the invoices will help redirect them because crying to me for an hour costs more than crying to a counselor,” said Thomas.
Other costs also include: Court fees, parental education classes, mediation fees, and if you’re splitting real estate there could also be refinancing costs.
Tuzzo, Lipschitz and Gray agree that often times the clients control just how costly the divorce will be. If both spouses are unreasonable and unwilling to compromise the process takes longer and the bills add up.
Tuzzo said he has seen more well-managed divorces come in at a few thousand dollars, but on the opposite spectrum he has also handled divorces coming in at $150,000. Lipschitz and Gray have seen proceedings hit the millions.
“Anything a couple can do on their own to discuss how they will separate their financial lives is a good thing because it’s cheaper, but it does have risks,” said Lipschitz.
With newly launched Separate.us, individuals are able to file initial divorce paperwork for a flat fee of $99 and if things get a bit complicated, individuals may receive a free 30-minute consultation. After the initial 30 minutes, legal counsel moves to a discounted hourly rate.
Fifteen-year family lawyer and founder Tuzzo admits the online system won’t work for everyone, but it is a great option for those looking to save funds and put in a little bit of work. Suzzo noted that there are many ways we meet and connect online, but there’s no way for us to disconnect or easily divorce online.
The startup isn’t Tuzzo’s first attempt at finding a more reasonable pricing structure for divorce. He has also found success with his other business, Legal Passage, where clients are able to pay a set upfront fee for a certain amount of consultation.
“In order to take on the set-fee pricing, clients are responsible for more of the case. People like this fantasy of ‘the lawyer is going to handle everything,’ but the cheaper way to do it is for the lawyer to be available when you have questions,” he said.
If you have been separated for some time, such as Smalls, or are starting to solemnly realize your marriage may be coming to an end, you do have options. All lawyers agreed that the earlier you seek help the better, as it’s much harder to undo the wrongs. They offered three tips on how to curve expenses:
Do not prolong the case! The faster it’s done, the cheaper.
Be Fair. The more reasonable, the easier to resolve.
Consider seeking consultation instead of hiring a full-time attorney.
Aside from money, the reality is that a divorce is hard no matter if it’s cheap or not. Thomas recommends having a support system beside you, noting she has worked with many African American women and believes that we, in particular, often try to be super-human instead of allow ourselves to seek help.
“Remember a failed marriage does not mean the person has failed, it just means they were not good for each other so don’t judge yourself too harshly. A lot of people, particularly Black women, are really hard on themselves. This is life, but you can learn from it and move forward.”
By The Divorced Good Guy
When you get married, you never think it will end. Why would you get married if you ever envision it dying prematurely? And then it happens (to 50 percent of us). The dream rots away, and you and the one you love(d) are now fragments of a relationship. If you are lucky, you can make it into some sort of family mosaic in picking up the pieces.
However, through the years, I have witnessed a number or couples successfully get divorced and then miraculously get back together. And on top of that, they’ve made it work for the long haul. I commend them, but I will never be in their ranks. Recently, my ex-wife has reached out and proposed that we work towards reconciling after three years of divorce.
Here is why it won’t work out like it did for our friends:
1. I will never get back with my ex-wife, because it is too risky to put the kids through the drama. At this stage in the kids’ lives, they are delicate. One is barely a teenager and the other is a pre-teen. They have been able to get into a routine between our two homes that works well for everybody. Everybody is good.
2. Lies. Men like, women lie. Money doesn’t. I had my share of suspicions with my ex-wife all the way down to the relationship infidelity. I knew finding out she was cheating would drive me over the edge so I didn’t look. Eventually, I found out the hard way that she was cheating in a another way – financially. Under my nose, she had taken all the money we accrued together and got off scott free. I contested, but because we were married, it was perfectly legal to steal from “us.” Go figure.
3. The trust. There is none. You realize trust is more essential than love after you go through the merry-go-round a few times. This quintessential mistrust has unfortunately found its toxins into my newer, subsequent relationships. I try my best, but my ex-wife has really caused me to side-eye everybody – even people I really like. On top of that, there is a certain viciousness that comes out in divorces. I had no idea. I really saw her fangs, so to speak. I never want to see them again. You can’t come back once you have shown the willful capacity for evil.
4. Her unwillingness to do counseling has been a very contentious piece in all of this. Most times, men are the ones against professional counseling, but I was the one that pushed it while we were still married. She went to one or two sessions and then completely quit. I continued alone. She didn’t want to do it and that is problematic, especially if we were to try again.
5. At the day’s end, we are actually working out now as co-parents. We are raising our kids marvelously. That is our job now. We have to guide our boy and girl to be mentally and physically healthy so they can be valuable contributors to society. Every now and then, our little girl will express how she would like her mommy and daddy to be back together. I gently let her know that we are still a family; this is the new “new.”
As I stated before, I think another break up would devastate the children. It was hard the first time around. I cannot even think about putting them through that. The kids are the silver lining and I’ll never tarnish that.
I wish Lamar Odom a speedy recovery. Sincerely.
Still, I have questions. I specifically have a question about love. Or, should I say, how we choose to love.
I have loved some dudes. Some of it was healthy love. Most of it was not. I have loved some dudes who treated me badly. I have loved some dudes who lied and cheated. I have loved some dudes who did not respect me in the least.
But even I, in my most unhealthy of love moments, do not think I could run back and stick by the side of a man who was found unconscious from drugs inside of a brothel.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not heartless. I would definitely see him in the hospital. I would also send him flowers, cookies and pray for him. Heck, I might even help with medical decisions and contribute a few dollars to the cause.
But the divorce, which had been over two years in the making, would go on as scheduled.
And it has nothing to do with whether or not I love him anymore. But as some of us who have labored too long in unhealthy relationships already know, you need to consider your own well-being, and more importantly, your own happiness.
So, this is me hypothetically trying to get out of that situation. And I am trying to go to therapy to figure out my co-dependency issues and what was I hoping to gain for myself by attempting to fix an already troubled man. I am also trying to set and live by the boundaries I created.
I am sure that is what I would do. I am almost certain of it. Well…it is what I envisioned I would do at least.
It’s hard to know for sure, especially when society itself seems to hold special reverence for being a ride-or-die chick. Or should I say some ride-or-die chicks. Some ride-or-die chicks are just dismissed as stupid. And others get to be Khloe Kardashian.
And let’s not get it twisted: For all her wealth, fame and, ahem, prestige, Khloe Kardashian is the epitome of a ride-or-die chick.
Let’s think about this for a minute.
Odom’s recent overdose is just the latest in a long line of troubles, including numerous reports of partying with strippers, infidelity, drug binges and failed rehab attempts. The situation had gotten so bad that Kardashian decided to pull the plug on a reality television show that had been centered around their marriage. She said she did it so that she could “support” her husband as he worked on getting his basketball career back on track.
During the couple’s hiatus from television, they would break up and make up several times throughout the course of their relationship. Although all signs pointed to a divorce, Kardashian told People magazine back in 2012: “I’m a modern girl, but you should put your husband first,” she says. “I like to think divorce is not an option.”
But shortly after a video surfaced, which showed the former Dallas Maverick rapping about using drugs and having several mistresses, Kardashian decided to file for divorce.
As far as the world was concerned, Kardashian had finally sobered up. And it certainly appeared like she had moved on. Not only had she lost weight, changed her hair color and added some extra “accessories,” but she had been linked to a number of eligible bachelors, including French Montana and James Harden.
That was until a couple of weeks ago, when once again, her “husband” found himself in trouble. The same kind of trouble that he had been getting into repeatedly during their marriage. Instead of taking his latest relapse as a sign that she had made the right decision by getting out of that hole and moving on with her life, Kardashian decided to dig deeper. She not only rushed to join him by his bedside, but she also decided to, once again, work on her marriage.
Let’s say this together: Ride or die.
Perhaps it is true that love conquers all and that sometimes we have to weather the storm. That is what we learn about relationships from the fairy tales, romance novels, and our religious teachings. But the reality is that most women (and men) usually don’t always fare too well in these type of ride-or-die circumstances. In many instances, a woman can easily find themselves broke, heartbroken, mentally ill, disease-infested, in jail or even dead.
A great read on the consequences of being a ride-or-die chick is the essay entitled “What Happened to Kiesha?” which first ran on the website Ride or Die Project, a site dedicated to demystifying the trials and tribulations of women who stay in toxic relationships.
As the title suggests, in the essay, writer Amanda Parris breaks down the tragic life of the Kiesha character from the 1998 Hip-Hop film Belly. Although she is a fictional character, Kiesha has become sort of a symbol of not only steadfast loyalty, but also a type of beauty, which was missing from the “light-made-basically-white, surgically enhanced, highly photo-shopped images of beauty paraded with little disruption in today’s Hip Hop scene.”
But as Parris notes, this admiration we have for Kiesha never really translates into actual concern for her well-being. In spite of all of her beauty and faithfulness, Kiesha spends a good portion of the film monitoring the whereabouts of her philandering and ephebophile boyfriend, Tommy. She also physically fights and is brutalized by a home intruder who is after her boyfriend. And finally, she defends herself against the FBI after Tommy locks her up in jail for refusing to snitch on her boyfriend who has now flown the coup.
As Parris notes about this twisted admiration we have for Kiesha:
Absent are the images of her fighting for her life, in the moment left to pay for the decisions made by her lover. What happened to Keisha? What happens to a woman who is repeatedly betrayed, abandoned, incarcerated and assaulted? What happens to a woman who puts her lover at the center of her world when that lover leaves? What happens to a woman who does not have homegirls or support systems that can build her up when the world tries to break her down? What happens to a woman who loves someone that is targeted by the state and in turn becomes the state’s target? What happens to a woman who has learned how to fight for someone else but has no one to fight for her?
You can almost say the same thing about Kardashian.
The most interesting aspect of her toxic relationship to Odom is how well-received it has been by the mainstream. Unlike the lottery winner who was vilified and dragged throughout social media for spending her money bailing her drug-dealing boyfriend out of prison, Kardashian is painted almost angelically for going back and helping Odom on his road to recovery. Of course, some have speculated that her sudden benevolence is all for the sake of money and possibly ratings.
While that might be true, nowhere in any of this criticism is there any concern about the actual prudence of being devoted to a man who is troubled, and as a result of his troubles, does her harm.
And this is not to say that I think we should go around belittling women who opt to ride hard for their relationships. And while I truly believe Kardashian is setting herself up for a world of hurt, the truth is she is much more protected (emotionally, financially and spiritually) than the average Kiesha would be in similar circumstances. But I do think the Kardashian’s public relations machine and the media are both masking some pretty regressive values and ideas around this idea that love conquers all.
And I also feel like we should be conscious of the narrative that continue to tell women that the only way to be a good woman in a relationship, as well as in life, is to be a dedicated dumping ground for a man’s wayward seeds, sins and lack of self-esteem.
After all, what could she have seen in Odom in this latest incident, which led her to believe him to be a better man? And no, almost dying doesn’t count.
I wish both Odom and Kardashian well. But I do believe that his demons are deeper than his drug addiction. And truthfully, so are hers.
These celebrities decided not to untie the knot, and you might be surprised at the reasons why. Should they stay together or should they go their separate ways?