You do not know Jack about the Big D (and I don't mean Dallas) until you've survived the ordeal. It's tumultuous, it's horrible and there are no winners, just degrees of losers. But hey, there are brighter days ahead...
I don’t have all of your answers; I’m just taking my chances as I see them. Someone get me home, every day I feel a little more alone. I see the looks on their faces and I don’t feel the same… And it’s getting old. Trying to do what I’ve been told, I see it all in front of me now; Waiting on someone to feel the same, waiting for someone who can talk straight and it’s getting late… Let me Out, Let Me Out. (lyrics to a song)
Nobody said it would be easy. Divorce sucks, plain and simple. Especially if you have kids. Actually, it really sucks for the kids, but good news: kids are super resilient. The fact is that more kids today are in divorced or blended families. It’s becoming more of the norm than the exception, and that fact sucks too.
Life is hard, and no one can make you happy, other than yourself. There are others to consider besides yourself. But when you’ve concluded that there is no other path for you, you need to get out. Having your personal budget in place financially is a semi-no-brainer; enumerating the cost of living single, figuring out how much to spend or save is just a math problem. We can help you set up your personal budget spreadsheet and teach you how to track and live within your means. You don't need the high cost of finding a CPA (yet). But allowing and budgeting for the emotional cost is much more difficult when transitioning to a single income and living alone or living without spousal support.
And here are a few things about the cost of Divorce you won’t learn or believe until you take the plunge and begin your freedom journey:
- Joined Forever. As a parent you will ALWAYS have interaction with your ex spouse. No matter how much you believe you will be totally free from that jerk, you will cross paths with them eternally and their new significant others and their bonus kids. And you best learn how to deal with this otherwise you will completely stress out your kids as they will hate the icy confrontations. Learn to fake or feign friendliness.
- Unintended Consequences. Arguing cost more than money; it cost your sanity and worse, your trust not only in others but in yourself. You will become disenchanted with everything for a while. You will not feel comfortable making decisions due to fear of negative outcomes.
- Spoiled Kids. Since you have your children every other weekend, both parents will do something extra special to make those weekends fun. Thus, children of divorce get indulged with special weekends every weekend. Also, summer trips are doubled, Christmas or Hanukkah and birthday presents doubled and yep, even allowances seem to get doubled for the children. But most of all, the kids will always have an escape route and will certainly use it to perfection, unless you communicate constantly with the “ex.” (see item #1 above)
- Friendships End. It is a Noah’s world out there – everybody is paired up. At first, your married buddies and friends will be so supportive, but that won’t last long. You will not be “set up” as much as you think. And your married friends won’t dig their spouse hanging out with the “free single person” much. They’ll be a little jealous of your new freedom and as hard as you try, the drama of the split will be a novelty at first but it will fade very quickly. And your old friends will not want the guilt, hassle or confrontation of figuring out “which one” to include in social events; ergo you’re both out.
- Welcome to Therapy. Therapy not only for you but for your children, and that’s not cheap. And neither your lawyer nor your friends (soon to be former friends, see item #2) are therapists, and both of them will ultimately cost you way more than professional help. As hard as you may try, try even harder to not discuss anything with anybody (other than your paid professional therapist or help group) about your divorce, ex and kid issues. Remember, divorce sucks, no one else wants to hear about it for more than a very brief time and whatever you say, may and will be “used against you” in social situations for years to come.
- Crazy Singles. It may seem exciting to fantasize about being free and single at least every other weekend but it’s nutso out there… literally crazy. You’ll go through the nightlife and cool evenings out and meet other “really super cool” divorced people, but it’s get old fast. You’ll miss those random “boring” Tuesday nights of just going home to your spouse and kiddo’s and the comfort of a home, simple dinner and schedule. And those super cool new friends will disappear as suddenly as they appeared when they meet a mate. Note: the first serious relationship post-divorce rarely ever works out.
- Imagination Lost. You’ll have to focus very hard to not become jaded and cynical. In the end, imagine a happier future for yourself. It will happen. But it is all up to you.
Stay positive, get into support groups with other folks going through transitions, divorce or loss. Divorce is similar to a death in the family. Often it may seem like the death of the family, but it’s not. Eventually you will be happier and it will have been worth the pain and effort. Just be prepared and stay strong. If you just can't reconcile with your spouse, then we are here to help. Seek out professional guidance and budgeting for personal help, advice and protection. Thinks of it as a new birth and if you think that's easy, well you must not have kids! www.MyMoneyTrack.com and if you're looking for an expert speaker for your group or function on Divorce, Michael Ham of Dallas Tx is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) and a member of MENSA who can break the message down beyond facts and figures, numbers and eqautions; he can tell you real life, funny and truly collaborative divorce stories. Check Michael out www.TheSalesTalk.com and look for other postings on Dallas Divorce and Dallas Collaborative Divorce Issues.