Friday, April 23, 2010

Build a Bridge and Get Over It


Divorce stinks. We have heard of people who have gone through it painlessly, but we have yet to meet such a person. All the people we know (ourselves included) would say it’s pure hell. You’re unsure about your financial stability, you’re worried about what this will mean for the kids, you’re angry about how your spouse has wronged you, and you’re mourning the loss of a life together (even if you no longer want your spouse anymore). Not a pretty picture.

So we are here, as exes who have gone through the hell you’re experiencing, not to tell you that life is peachy or to encourage you to look on the bright side, but to say this:

You may have every right to be angry. You may have every reason to grab every little piece of the financial pie that you are entitled to. And you may be scared enough about losing time with your children that you’re prepared to fight in court over custody or to badmouth your spouse to your children. But ask yourself – honestly ask yourself – will you end up a winner in the long run if you lash out now? What will really be gained? You may win the battle, but you’re going to lose the war. And the war is not against your divorcing spouse; it’s against insanity, resentment, and fractured relationships with your children, friends, and family members.

We’re here to be the stiff slap in the face that may be required to jolt you out of your temporarily chaotic life, to say, Get over it. No one wants to hear you retell (for the 50th time) how you’ve been wronged. Your moaning and whining sucks the life out of those around you – your family, children, coworkers, even your divorce attorney – and it’s simply unattractive. Not only that, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. Nothing will change as long as you’re stuck in a victim mentality. We’re here to offer you suggestions that will help you move forward – with your children, in your work, with your finances, with your friends, and even (God forbid) with your ex!

If our message seems a bit shocking, and perhaps a little heartless, please remember that we’ve been through it. And our divorce was as ugly as the next. We remember how painful the process was, and we will fully acknowledge and allow room for that pain. There are times when you must experience the anger, the hurt, the sense of betrayal, etc. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have strong emotions at this time. But we wouldn’t be helping you if we encouraged you to stay stuck in those negative emotions. So we won’t allow it, for your sake, for your children’s sakes, and for the sake of minimizing the GSI (global suffering index). Because when you are overwhelmed with negativity, that influences everyone you come into contact with, and that’s not okay.

So build a bridge and get over it. Feel the pain, make the tough decisions that are required in the divorce process, and move on. We’ll be here cheering you on (and giving you a swift kick in the pants when you need it).

Sincerely,

Kirsten and John

2 comments:

  1. Kirsten and John,
    As the grownup child of divorced parents, I entirely agree.

    From my own experience, I'd also say, don't use your children as confidants when you want to complain about the other. That was my fate at around 14. It started with my mother, and then I got some really strange letters from my stepfather. I can remember being really confused. How could two people see the world SOOOO differently?

    I consider going to see the movie Rashomon the turning point in that internal struggle. That movie is about 3 different people going through the same situation and seeing it very very differently. So I thought, I don't have to figure out who's right. They can both be right in their own lights. Oh, it took me until college to get to that point.

    So if I could go back and give my mother some advice, I'd say: If you have to pour out your feelings, find a friend. Write in your journal. Call up your sister-in-law (after the kids are in bed). Just don't put me in the position of trying to make sense of two points of view that YOU haven't been able to resolve.

    Oh well, I still grew up!
    Kathryn

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  2. Hi Kathryn,

    I love what you're saying here! And it's very much in line with what we want to promote on this site! Yes, the more the adults can be the adults and allow the kids to be the kids, the stabler the situation is for the entire family. Children should certainly be informed and consulted when there are issues that relate directly to them, but so often the emotional turmoil of the divorcing (or divorced) parents should not even be on the children's radar. Thanks so much for your thoughts!

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