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DK Says.......

February 23, 2008
What do I do with my wedding ring now that I'm divorced?
I was going through my jewelry box the other day.  It's been 9 years since I had that beautiful ring on my finger.  There it sat.  It was just as shiny as ever.  Wow was it a gorgeous ring.  It seems such a shame for it to just sit there.  For a long time it just made me mad or sad to look at it.  But last night, I went and looked at it again.  You see I was going out for a night on the town.  It was just the accessory to show off.  So I put it on.  I put it on my right hand and wore it as a cocktail ring.  You know, it didn't look half bad.  I think maybe I'll have the diamonds mounted into something different, and save the setting for my son.  I'd always imagined saving it for my son, but then I thought, well wouldn't he want to design his own piece.  This way, the diamonds will get a life again.  The ring is there if my son really wants it, or he can take the thing, melt down the gold and do something entirely different.  What really struck me though is that after all of these years, it's really just a thing.  It doesn't hurt any more.  I didn't even feel strange wearing it.  I'm past it all now.  It's just a piece of jewelry.  A piece that needs to be updated to come along with the rest of my life.

February 22, 2008
Do I want another woman raising my kids?
So often we're in the heat of battle when we make the decision to divorce.  We're so emotionally upset, hurt, or angry that all we think about is we want out.  Very seldom to we stop and think about the long term circumstances and conditions.  Like what is it going to be like when we have Christmas, or Birthday parties.  What are you going to do when you realize that there is another woman now involved in raising your kids.  Even if the other woman is doing a nice job in the background, she'd still there.  What is it going to be like when your kids get married and there is a family wedding?  These are all things you should be thinking about when you are making those decisions.  As far as the other woman goes......well, it's a tough question.  The first time my kids went running up the hill to leap into her arms to greet her I thought it might kill me.  It certainly knocked the wind right out of my sails.  Since then I've come to realize that I'm thankful my ex is dating someone they like.  I'm thankful that he has chosen someone who is an extra positive influence.  But not all of us are that lucky.  I met a woman today in a breafast shop who shared with me that when she was on the verge of divorce, she did stop and think about that.  She was certain she did not want to live with the idea of some other woman raising her kids.  She decided that maybe her marriage wasn't as damaged as she'd thought and they eventually worked things out.  I don't know what the right answer is, but I do know, when you are making these decisions, there are many circumstances of the future that should be heavily considered.  As they will affect you most certainly.

February 21, 2008
Being a divorced mom with a terrible cold!
Moms are never supposed to get sick.  In fact, I rarely do.  It has been about 3 years since I've had so much as a sniffle.  However, when I do get sick, it's usually a DOOZY!  There is nothing worse than being sick and being expected to carry on with your normal mom duties.  Now that I'm divorced, that is not so easily accomplished.  Do I really have to cook dinner?  My kids are now old enough that they get it. They know to lay low while I mope and stay under cover.  They even bring tea to me now.  But several years ago, they were so little that I couldn't just lay in bed and let them have free reign.  There are so many things that I didn't think about when I got divorced.  Who would have thought having a cold would be some big drama.  One time I was so sick that I called my ex husband and said, "I am really very sick.  I cannot properly attend to our kids today.  So you can either come and get them, or I can arrange for a babysitter to come and get them, but I am not able to do so today."  To my surprise he came over within half an hour.  I was so relieved to have some help.  Today is different.  There is still no grown up to take care of me, but my kids do a pretty fair job all on their own!

February 17, 2008
I can't be treated any worse than I allow myself to be treated.
I constantly hear the complaints.  My husband says he isn't attracted to me any more because I'm over weight.  My husband cheats.  My husband lies.  My husband isn't respectful.  So I say, like it or not you are contributing to this behavior.  You are allowing him to say or do these things.  Now the why part is something you'll have to dig deep for.  Is it because you treat yourself that way, and he's just reinforcing it. Are you somewhere deep inside not sure you are worthy of respect?  If you don't respect yourself, draw boundries, and create limits of how you will treat yourself and allow yourself to be treated, then how can someone else.  I'm not saying that any of these things mean that if they are occuring and you want them to stop that the only way out is divorce.  What I am saying though is that you have to begin from the inside, and demand respect of yourself first.  Once you are respectful of yourself, it will be much easier to draw the boundaries with him.  Either he will begin respecting your boundaries and make some changes, or he won't.  But at that point you will have to make some tough choices.  Either I keep allowing him to disrespect me, which in turn is really a form of my disrespecting myself, OR, I won't allow it and I become stronger by letting a bad situation go.  The only way people can walk all over you is if you allow it.  So if your husband is cheating, is that an immediate it's over?  No, but the boundaries can be set.  The issues can be discussed.  If it continues, you will have to decide what you are willing to put up with, but remember it comes from inside first.  If your husband is telling you he's not attacted to you because you are overweight, you'll have to go inside for an answer.  Is that acceptable that he's saying that?  You'll need to decide, either he has a valid point and you need to correct it, or he's being disrespectful because you are being disrespectful of yourself, or he's being disrespectful of you, and you can set a boundary and follow through.  Just remember, we set the boundaries of how we allow ourselves to be treated.

February 17, 2008
Healthy eating for kids between two houses...
Having kids live between two houses is difficult on just about every aspect of life.  Eating is no exception.  I am trying to instill healthy eating habits.  What goes on at Dad's often undoes my work.  I've been struggling with this issue for years of course.  But I just stayed the course.  I figured that though I can't control what they eat when they are at their Dad's, I can set an example and hope it carries through.  At first it didn't.  I heard about M&M's for breakfast.  They continued to eat McDonald's and buy the nasty processed food school lunches.  But over the years as they became older and more aware, they began expressing their ideas to their Dad. They now refuse to eat fast food even with him.  They are packing healthy lunches even over there.  It just goes to show that even though you can't control it, your example can influence it.  For more information on healthy eating for kids, check out my new blog, Healthy Kids, where I will be discussing how healthy kids start with healthy parents.

February 12, 2008
Divorced Valentine........
Valentine's Day.  Is it here again already?  I used to get a little depressed when it was Valentine's Day after my divorce.  Of course there have been a few of those years when I had someone special in my life send me flowers or such.  But most of them, my Valentine's have been my children.  In fact, I've rather come to enjoy Valentine's Day without all of the hassel. I don't have to figure out what to get, I don't have to remember to make a reservation.  Most importantly I don't have to be disappointed.  There was always something......we women have these grand romantic ideas.  Most men are doing well if they remember to stop and get a card at the local grocery store on the way home.  So this year, I'm planning on making a batch of homemade macaroni and cheese for my kids.  I'll stop in at the grocery store around 5 p.m. so I can get a chuckle out of the men doing their last minute obligatory shopping.  I'll get out a game to play with my kids.  Then I'll get a glass of red wine, draw a bath, and enjoy a nice peaceful evening with the best Valentine I could ever ask for..........ME!

February 11, 2008
Should you file for divorce?
Should you file for divorce?  That always seems to be the burning question.  I've known people who stay in limbo about that question for months, years, then decades.  There is something so final about it.  We feel like failures because we couldn't make it work, so we drag our feet.  Here's what I say.  Have you tried everything?  Are there two of you trying?  Because it takes only one not trying to make the situation continue to deteriorate.  You've gone to counseling.  You've tried making a list of all of the positive things about your partner, and focusing on those things.  You've taken a trip away together.  You've really listened to your partner and tried to meet him or her in the middle.  If so.........then I don't know what you are waiting for.  I'm not an advocate of divorce.  But I'm even less of an advocate for people to sit around and wallow.  If you are unhappy and you've done all you can do, then bless yourself to move on.  There is no reason to spend the next year, or five, or more wondering "should I", if you've done everything possible.  If you can honestly say to yourself that you've tried everything there is, then you should go.  Because people only change if they want to.  And likely, your partner is happy as is, and therefore you cannot spend the rest of your life "hoping" that "someday" it might change.  Guess what!  If it does change, you can always date your spouse again.......but don't hold your breath.  Move on.  The sooner you start moving, the sooner it will be in the rearview mirror.

February 7, 2008
Should I keep my married name after my divorce?
So what's in a name?  It's just a name right?  Do you keep your married name? Do you try back on your old name?  Hmmm.   Seems like I had these questions when I first got married.  Do I take his name?  Do I keep mine?  Do I hyphenate?  So now do I unhyphenate?  The choices are endless.  When I got married, I took his name in all aspects of my life except for my career.  At that time we both worked for a government agency and my thought was I never wanted to get ahead or be held back because of my name.  So when we got divorced, that part was easy.  However, the rest of my life I had been using my married name.  I suppose if I didn't have kids maybe I would have just gone back to my maiden name for everything.  But somehow I just thought that having a different last name was going to get complicated where my kids were concerned.  So I kept the married name for the "rest" of my life.  It certainly has made it easier when dealing with school activities, insurance and medical issues and so on.  It seems if you have the same last name as your kids, people don't question your authority too much.  Then I decided to write a book and had to go through the entire name choice again.  Since it was a kids book, (www.werehavingatuesday.com) I thought that perhaps I should again use the same last  name that my kids share so that when they had the opportunity to show someone that their Mom wrote a book, it wouldn't be so hard to convince them. So for me, like many choices I made when I got divorced, the name boiled down to how it would affect my kids.  Now if I ever get married again.......well at that point who knows.  But I know my writing will always be under my former husband's name.......as I would always want my kids to have that ability to say yes, this really is their mom.

February 4, 2008
How Not to Have A First Date After Your Divorce

I see this all the time.  I was guilty of it.  I've lived to regret doing it.  You see it is a common phenomenon to want to plug the hole in the dike that has sprung a leak.  You have just been through the emotional battle of your life.  Your heart is aching.  Your head is swimming.  You just aren't making good decisions.  Along comes someone.  Could be anyone really.  In my case it was an old high school flame.  We started talking.  The next thing you know I was completely wrapped up in a full-blown physical affair with someone else's husband.  Apparently his marriage was on the rocks.  We professed our love for one another.  We had passion like you can't believe.  But in the end, it just left another hole in the dike.  It wasn't so much just because he was married.  It was because I hadn't healed from my own emotional strife.  I wasn't interested in healing.  I was interested in filling the hole as quickly as possible. Ever hear of Quickcrete?  Doesn't work on hearts!  I was interested in feeling attractive again.  I was interested in being loved.  I was interested in having attention and being told how wonderful I was.  What I didn't realize at the time, is that I needed to feel those things from myself.  I couldn't look to the outside to feel those things.  So when the affair ended I was devastated again.  I had the hole back, and proceeded to seek a series of emotionally unavailable relationships.  Not really the way to get back into dating after divorce.  Try healing first.  Take a year or two off.  Fall in love with yourself..........then go out on a date.  You'll find it won't be quite so dramatic, and you might even have fun.

February 3, 2008
How Did I Afford to Get Divorced and Become a Single Mom?

The idea of getting divorced was a frightening one.  The thought of being alone for the rest of my life was taunting me.  The thought of not being with my children every day was torturing me.  Then to add fuel to the fire I remember being terrified of how I was going to make it on my own.  At the time I had reduced my lucrative full time professional job down to just three days a week so I could be home with my small children more.  I absolutely did not want to give that up.  It didn't make sense to me that during a time of emotional upheaval to put the kids into even more daycare.  So I sat on it.  I stewed about it.  I thought and thought and thought.  One day I was at lunch with a friend of mine and I had an epiphany.  Life is just way to short to spend it miserable, especially having arguments escalate in front of the children.  So I realized that at that moment that there was a way.  (There always is, sometimes we're just not ready to see it yet.)  There was no law that stated that I had to put my entire portion of my settlement from our house back into a house.  So I realized that I could scale back the kind of house I was going to buy, and put the rest into savings for a slush fund. For the next 5 years I drew on that slush fund to help pay my bills when I needed to.  Of course with the free time I had, I was able to get a couple of fun part time jobs to fill my time without the kids and not always rely on the slush fund.  Once I realized I had the safety net, I leapt.  I never looked back.  It was the one thing that pushed me thorough, and I finally made the move to leave.  Since then, there of course have been some tough months, but nothing as tough as sticking it out in a situation that absolutely made me miserable.


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