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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    9,572

    Divorce Is this a hot potato thread - too hot to handle?

    It seems like we all know someone who is divorced or the child of divorced parents. So I was wondering if you have been involved in this situation and if you have any tips, ideas or helpful information to others because divorce has been part of your life path?

    I don't want to start a thread that becomes acrimonious because of the issues people have experienced, I am more interested in what the common problem areas might be and things .that you found helpful.

    So, if you feel that you want to discuss something as personal as this and have some really good ideas on how to navigate what must be a very difficult path thank you for sharing.
    Last edited by rollo; January 20th, 2014 at 12:44 PM.
    Psalm 23

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    2,064
    I've never been divorced (or married lol) but I did grow up as the child of divorced parents. I think the most important thing I took away from my personal experiences was not to badmouth the other parent in front of your kids. My mom was very good at being respectful when she was talking about my dad and even his new wife, but the other way around not so much. I remember both my dad and stepmom insulting my mom in front of me and when talking directly to me, and it really drove a rift between us. There were other things going on in that house though too - disinterest bordering on neglect, and a level of verbal/emotional abuse and manipulation - that definitely contributed to my bad relationship with my dad and his wife. Also I think it's really important when you have joint custody of a child to make an effort to be there even if you have the smaller amount of custody, like my dad only had me every other weekend and some holidays, but if it wasn't his weekend he never called to check in, he wouldn't make an effort to see me or attend special events like concerts or recitals, and especially as a little girl you really want your daddy to be there. It'd be the same thing with either parent.
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  3. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    3,516
    My parents were never married so divorce isn’t really the right term and they broke up before I was born. But my mom said that some of the best advice she ever got was to try her best and be fair towards my dad. My dad wasn’t around for a long while but she always made sure I knew he called or wrote, she encouraged me to have a relationship with him away from her. They are actually now really good friends - mostly because she was able to support me without having to rely on him financially. (Don’t get me wrong he helped out when he could - but it kept them from fighting which helped with the relationship between them and me a lot. I realize this isn’t always an option for everyone but if it is, I think it’s really beneficial.)
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  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,067
    My parents divorced when I was 7 and my mom's second marriage imploded (quite messily) when I was around 20, so divorce has been a part of my life for as long as I remember. I guess I would have tips for people at various relationships with the journey.

    For those going through a divorce (with kids): I echo Greyer's point about not bad-mouthing the other parent. My parents were great about this, and also about not letting their friends do it. My mom told me once, "I wanted you to be free to love your dad." I understand this can be hard if one parent is a deadbeat or otherwise unreliable (which thankfully was not the case for me). Even so, kids will figure out pretty quickly on their own that mom/dad is not reliable. There's no need to point it out to them. It will only make them feel the pressure of being in the middle.

    Also, when starting a new relationship, remember that it takes a while for kids to adjust to change. Introduce new people to their life gradually and don't push it. Make sure they know that their dad/mom is not being replaced.

    If your parents are going through a divorce: I'm sorry. It's hard. It's NOT your fault and it never has been. This is means you may be rethinking all the future events of your life (graduations, wedding, family Christmases, etc.), wondering how life will look, but you will adjust and be okay. I used to cry at weddings when couples lit a "unity candle", thinking that my wedding would never signify two families uniting. It's totally normal to feel sad about the divorce years later, especially during special occasions. If at all possible, don't let your parents put you in the middle. It's okay to walk away or say, "I don't want to hear you talk about Mom/Dad like that."

    For those on the outside, watching someone go through a divorce: It's hard. Be a friend. Don't bad mouth the ex; it might seem like a good idea, but it can backfire. (To paraphrase my mom again: "I was married to this guy for 16 years. I don't want you to tell me he's a jerk. That makes me feel like an idiot for having married him.") Also, don't push people to make decisions. You may feel enough time has passed that s/he should "get over it" and take the next step (could be getting a lawyer, filing papers, selling the family home, getting rid of the ex's stuff, etc.) Everyone grieves at a different pace. By pushing an issue, you may end up pushing the friend away.

    If you're friend's parents are going through a divorce: be sympathetic. When I went through my mom's second divorce, I felt like no one around me noticed or cared. Just because you're an adult doesn't mean it won't hurt.

    Well, that was a novel! I hope it is helpful to someone out there.
    Last edited by maggiefromcanada; January 20th, 2014 at 03:24 PM. Reason: Punctuation
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  5. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    9,572
    Oh you lovely girls what insightful and helpful advice.
    Psalm 23

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