Adultery is still the Scarlet A of relationships. It was only an emotional relationship with no sex; it was just sex and no emotional attachment; it was your fault because you didn’t appreciate me; I couldn’t help it, s/he just came on to me. Seriously!!! It’s adultery! You stepped outside of your marriage and the vow you made to be faithful to your spouse (you know those words in the wedding ceremony while you were focusing on the kiss).

The worst thing about adultery is the breaking of the trust between you and your spouse. It’s a betrayal of the worst kind. Some people can work around that hurt and continue on with their marriage and others head to divorce court.

The anger over the betrayal will make you say and do horrible things.  You will go through boxes of tissues and bottles of Scotch or wine. You may go back and forth between forgiveness, reconciliation, and hate. The road for each couple is different.  Remember the old adage, it takes two.  S/he did not steal your spouse without the consent of that spouse. Forgiveness is different from forgetting. Forgiveness can be very difficult and can take years. Forgetting will never happen.

It’s harder when the other person in the affair now marries your Ex.  The new step-parent has a relationship with your child and you are in constant emotional turmoil over that reality. Talk to a therapist, not a judge (don’t keep going back to court to salve your hurt). Deal with your anger on your own and don’t drag your child into the battle. The snide remarks made to your children about the step will come back to bite you. You can be respectful of the step and maybe one day you’ll be able to forgive. While you are waiting for that illumination, remember that your child has a relationship with this person and may actually benefit from that relationship.



When Inlaws Become Outlaws

When your family hears that you are about to divorce, they rally around you offering support; however, that most likely is not the case with your inlaws. What happened? You’ve been married for 20 years and now your Ex’s family has gone radio silent. They don’t answer your calls or text messages. You expected more!

Divorce is, at most times, anger driven with the fights and the separation, the nasty words between you and your Ex, fights over custody and wrangling over financial matters. The Outlaws son or daughter warns them not to contact you because you are evil, nasty, and greedy (take my side). That’s a communications minefield for the soon to be Outlaws.

Give it time. Of course, if they really didn’t like you from the start you can’t expect them to miss you very much.  After all, their opinion of you has  been vindicated. Hey, if you never liked them much either then it’s a “win-win.”

For most of us, it hurts to lose these family connections. What can you do besides waiting for all of the pain and anger to subside? Snail mail them (in case they deleted you from Facebook, etc) pictures of the kids. Let them know about upcoming events (graduation, birthdays, school plays/sports) and invite them. Don’t bad mouth their child – your EX. It may take months, or years, but this is really about your kids and their future family relationships. I still call my ex-mother-in-law my mother-in-law and visit her often along with phone calls. It was bumpy at first because neither of us had any experience in the landmines of divorce.

Now I speak to each Ex asking you to encourage your family to be kind and respectful of your soon-to-be Ex. The Ex is still the parent of your child and deserves respect as “parent.” You may hate them as a husband or wife, but the both of you created this lovely child. Don’t deprive your child of the love and connection to their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

Treating Your New Partner Like Your Child

I hear you…NO WAY! I would never treat my new partner like a child. Sure, you may not cut up his (her) meat but do you find yourself directing” him (her) the same way that your talk to your kids? It’s natural when you’ve been a single parent for a long time to assume the parental voice. You’re used to giving the orders and directing the house activities and chores.  Ask yourself the next time you bark out an order if that is the same manner and tone you would use with a guest? Chances are the answer is no. It’s a hard habit to break but if you don’t break it you’ll be headed to divorce #2.

Divorce and Grieving

Remember all the planning you put into the engagement and then the wedding? It was exciting and yet a relief when it was over. You thought you would live happily ever after and for those first two years (or add your specific number of years here) it was all hugs and kisses. And then all of a sudden it changed- she got fat…he got lazy…she had a headache…he had porn…the kids came along and tension rose between the both of you. The fact is none of that happened overnight. It took years and created battle scars. Some of those scars healed but many festered until you made the decision to divorce.

Now you want the pain of divorce to end immediately. It just doesn’t work that way. You give yourself a month to grieve and you’re surprised to find out that at the end of the month you still hurt. You miss your old life even if it was miserable enough to make you seek a divorce. You’re grieving for the good that was a component of your married life. You’re grieving for not seeing your kids everyday. You’re grieving for the loss of the person you thought of  as your best friend. Grieving takes time and the amount of time is specific to you. No one escapes grieving. Even when your EX looks happy, they have not escaped grieving.

You can make the grieving process easier by recognizing it for what it is…a process..not an end.  Reach out to family and friends; find organizations for single parents or the newly divorced; church works for some and others throw themselves into their work. Recognize too that this is a time to create a new you or to go back to those activities that made you happy before you were married. You’ve already found out that drinking makes the grieving process longer and the headaches should be your reminder of that. Start recreating your life.

If you have children, find more interactive activities you can share with them. A night at an Embassy Suites is very cool for kids because of the pool, the palm trees, the free snacks and sodas (for you a glass of wine), and the free breakfast where they can choose from  options. Jumping on the bed is not discouraged! You can go to a nearby movie and dinner out-it’s your vacation with the kids. A water park, Lego Playland, miniature golf (they do have indoor golf that glows in the dark), a playground (McDonalds’ play ground is great on a rainy day);  identify an activity that suits the age of your kids. You’ll be tempted to let them sit on the couch and play a game on their phone or tablet (especially if they are teens) but that does not create memories for you or for them. That being said, don’t just be the good-time parent–you still need to be a parent to your child so check homework and let them know behavior boundaries .

There is light at the end of divorce and grieving doesn’t last forever.

Summer Viewing

I am suggesting you view when the kids are out or when they are asleep. There are lessons in these movies.

  • Contemplating divorce – “The War of the Roses” and “Kramer v. Kramer” (old but great)
  • For those of you in the divorce process or if you have passed out of the darkness of divorce and into the light of being a single parent: “Bad Moms”(new movie)
  • For watching with your children” Inside Out.” Understand the emotions they feel.