Life After Divorce

{January 23, 2009}   Dear Younger, Dumber Me:

Dear 21-year old Me,

I am writing to you from the future.  Hey!  Stop thinking about Michael J. Fox, the Fish Under the Sea Dance, and a flux capacitor! – Focus!!  I am writing to you to tell you a few things that might save you some pain, and also identify a few red flags that you missed.

First, I would like the opportunity to congratulate you on being focused and working on your degree.  You will go on to obtain your Master’s degree with little or no effort on your part.  A word of warning – put some effort in and fix your grades undergrad.  I will thank you later.  Don’t worry – your graduate GPA is MUCH more impressive.  Hehe

Second – and this could be the most important lesson – You will become a REALLY cool chick.  Someone who is WAY too cool for lessons learned in this blog.  Seriously.  I know it doesn’t feel that way now.  You are insecure about your weight, looks, intelligence – everything.  That is normal at your age.  PLEASE don’t settle for the first guy that sticks around for more than three months… especially when the first three months suck.  You don’t know who you are yet.  You will grow into a really amazing, successful person and can be ALL the things you want to be without settling for something crappy.

Here’s the deal – Steve is not a bad guy.  He is just not that into you.  You can keep pushing the relationship where it doesn’t want to go, but it WILL end badly.  He will love you, but he will also take you for granted.  He will marry you – but you have to decide if the pain that will come is worth it.

Red Flag Identification:

  • 2 weeks into the relationship – He will stop calling you.  He will blame you for some fake illness that he doesn’t actually have.  He is a hypochondriac… this pattern of behavior will continue for YEARS.
  • 3 months into the relationship – He will cheat on you.  RUN, MORON… RUN!!!  Do not stick around for that!  I don’t care HOW much he cries… or how badly it hurts.  Accepting this behavior will really mess you up for a long time.
  • 6 months in – “I love you, but I am not IN love with you” – Again… You are too smart for this kind of crap!  Please stop self-deprecating and thinking that you won’t find someone new!  The man of your dreams was waiting to bump into you at the grocery store, and you were doing some asshole’s laundry.  Fantastic.

I think you can see where I am going with this, Liz.  You won’t really come into yourself until you are 30, or so.  You will be much happier and more confident.  Maybe you need some of these experiences to shape who you will become, but I hate to see you suffer needlessly.  Other words of advice:

  • Never marry a man who has you buy your own wedding ring
  • If your groom has to be on anxiety medication to walk down the aisle… think about that.
  • If he wants to Honeymoon in COLONIEL FREAKIN WILLIAMSBURG – RUN!!!!!!!!!!
  • When he just stops going to work for no particular reason… move out.
  • If you catch him on the phone, internet, etc. with other women…. hit him in the head with a frying pan on your way out the door (Not really… ).
  • When he says HORRIBLE things to you to make you feel bad so he can feel better about himself… Tell him to SUCK IT…. as you throw all of his things into the gutter.
  • When you tell this man, who has hurt you more than anyone else on the face of the planet EVER could, that you want a divorce… and you will… and he cries… and begs… and pleads… and snots on everything you own…. Walk away.  Do not allow one minute of his crying manipulative rhetoric to convince you to give him another chance.  He has perfected his line of bullshit over the years, and you are too forgiving.

Here’s the bottom line, Liz… You have an AMAZING heart.  You would do anything in the world for the people you love.  To a fault.  You are easily seen as someone to try to befriend and use.  It has happened time and time again.  You don’t deserve that.  Sometimes, it might feel like your penance, but believe me… it is a series of bad choices made out of love for someone else.

It is time to take back your life and become the person you were born to be.  It is time to stop holding back due to fear of success… and failure.  You can do SO much more than you already do… you just have to allow yourself the space and time to do it.  It is time to do what we would tell our friends to do, if they were in the same situation.  Be the grown up and take care of yourself.

Love Always,

Older, Wiser, Separated Liz


Liz, In your life you will hear these words many times, “Never settle”. Don’t listen to that…it is a fantasy. When it comes to love and relationships you SHOULD settle. Nobody will ever be perfect so unless you want to spend your whole life looking for something that only exists in movies…settle for someone that you will be comfortable with in general. Just
Secondly, every “little” thing that he does now that bothers you will a) Become the same things you will (almost subconciously) try and change in him once you are married…and he will fight you every step of the way AND those little things WILL become unbearable later on.

When you choose Mr. Reasonably Right instead of waiting for Mr. Perfect, remember that he is not perfect, decide whether you could live with him with all of his quirks and habits, even the irritating ones, decide whether he is worthy of you love and you of his…and enjoy your life.

Older, Wiser, Separated Guy that you thought was perfect in the beginning yet spent the rest of your time wishing he would change.

wjf says:

“Older, wiser, separated guy obviously has reading comprehension issues because you’re telling your younger self not to settle for an abusive jerk due to your self-esteem issues of youth. There’s a difference between compromise and reality and selling yourself completely and utterly short for someone not worthy of licking the bottom of your foot.
Why use a blog comment to be a total egomaniac trying to get over your own issues? The comment says “I’ve got issues” rather than addressing the post much at all. To even post it as applicable to this entry is a stretch.

Liz–you are one tough cookie to grow so much as a human being while spending ten years with the person you love most trying to crush your self-worth. I’m glad you won’t make that mistake again.

lsb says:

Dear Older, Wiser, Separated Liz ~ yeah. I agree with everything you said…not because I have watched too many movies, but because I have lived your life and, for the past year, have watched you live it as well. You don’t deserve that subpar existence. You don’t deserve emotional abuse or to be held back in any way by someone who is supposed to be encouraging. You are an amazing woman and deserve to be everything God made you to be. You will get there. It will take time. I am here to support you. (You know where I live.)

Dear Cocky, Bitter Commenter: I am sorry your wife left you. That is not Liz’s issue. Why don’t you find someone for which you can settle? In the meantime, on behalf of oddly beloved ex-wives everywhere, PLEASE stop calling. We have other things to do.

a friend says:

Liz… good for you!!! What an amazing release you have here!

One thing, though – GET YOUR NAME OFF THE LEASE!!!!!!

(just a concern, that’s all 😉

Melanie says:

How incredibly true your words are! You are a REALLY cool chick. You did grow into a really amazing and successful woman (in many ways).

You do have an amazing heart. And that has been to your detriment for too long now.

I wish I could have told my precious 21-year-old friend all the things you wrote in this letter. But, I had no inkling of all that would transpire (or even some of what had already transpired up to that point). Neither did you. (So stop beating yourself up about being deceived by a master manipulator.)

But you do now. And I can tell you this NOW.

Don’t look back. You’re much too good and smart and pretty and funny and generous and successful and kind and witty and responsible…and…and…and…for this kind of crap.

Cut your losses, move on, and don’t look back.

And, if you need a reminder of how amazing you are and what an unbelievably spectacular woman you are, call me. I know all too well.

I am not one to use the comments to debate with those that might not take my original comments in the way that I had intended, so won’t begin here. However I did wish the original author to “hear me right”.

Since I “assumed” that you were writing from the future, and “it was time to do what we would tell our friends to do, if they were in the same situation” I assumed that you had already moved on from the “jerk”. I was telling you, my friend some advice, more so reiterating what you obviously already know (by now). Watch for those signals…they will become problems AND at the same time don’t look forever for Mr. Perfect. You don’t have to settle for a jerk…but IF you wish to have a partner…you WILL have to “settle” for at least “human”.
Liz, in no way did I mean to suggest that you should “settle” for someone that does not treat you with respect. I was trying to point out that when you are looking for someone “in the future” be aware of the faults (just as you had listed), don’t expect perfection and move forward from there. It was my intent, however weak, to reiterate and agree with you.

This is a fantastic piece of writing. I would like to publish it on my website.

butterflyliz32 says:

Please feel free!

wellthenhowaboutthisone says:

Oh, man. How I wish Older, Wiser JD had written to 19-year-old JD. I would’ve saved myself 5 years of anguish as well as quite a bit of money.

Great post.

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