Life After Divorce











{November 28, 2009}   Changing Your Life in 61 Easy Days!

I know… I know…

It’s been a while since I have posted anything.  No, I didn’t go back.  No, I didn’t abandon the blog and spiral down into the abyss of depression eating ice cream for days.  I gave up ice cream this summer.  And the depression, well, that was no worse than usual.

What I HAVE been doing is getting an uncontested divorce!!!  If you live in Texas, have no children, and want to get out of your sham of a marriage relatively painlessly… let me tell you how!

I was really dreading the actual divorce part, but only because I knew that I really couldn’t afford a lawyer.  But, I remembered that I have like 500 friends in the District Clerk’s Office, where I used to work, who could probably give me some advice.  I called my dear friend Joella and asked her what I needed to do.  She says, “Oh honey… that’s easy!”  And she walked me through the steps.

**Please note that, although I can argue like one, I am not, in fact, a Lawyer, and therefore can provide zero legal advice.  This is merely what I personally went through**

Step 1:  Visit http://www.texaslawhelp.org and choose the divorce paperwork that best meets your situation – No Cost!

Step 2:  Complete the Petition for Divorce paperwork, make two copies, and take it to the District Clerk’s office (Family law) to file the papers.  Make sure they stamp all three copies. ($220 for my particular county)

Step 3:  Serve your louse… I mean “spouse” with the papers, either personally or hire a process-server.  I chose to serve mine personally, to cut down on the cost.  The spouse needs to sign either the Waiver or Citation, or the Answer papers.  By signing the Waiver, with a notary, they agree that they do not need to be served, informed, or present for anything further in the case, and allows the judge to make decisions on his behalf.  (This was the option I chose).

Step 4: Return the Waiver of Citation or Answer (where they want to be there for the court proceedings) to the Clerk.

Step 5:  Impatiently wait for 61 days after the original filing date.  And I do mean impatiently.  Also, make sure you worry over totally unnecessary things… allow him to harass you stupidly, and border on threatening.

Oh… wait… you can probably skip most of Step 5.  I wish I would have.  The only thing you really have to do is wait the 61 days.  During this time, complete the “Final Decree of Divorce” paperwork from the above-mentioned website.  If you plan to represent yourself, as I did, make sure you get the Volunteer Lawyers Association to review the case for you before you show up to get on the uncontested docket.  I missed that step, and it add a little extra stress to my divorce court day to run down there and get them to approve it before I could go to the judge.

Step 6:  Show up (early) to your assigned court and sign up on the uncontested docket.  There is a paper to fill out, and then take the form immediately to the Clerk.  She may have other things for you to fill out, so allow extra time.  It is also wise to call the court a day or two before you want to go so that you don’t show up on a day where they do not hear uncontested cases.  I almost got burned on that!  Glad I thought ahead to call!!!

The divorce proceeding itself took less than 5 minutes.  The judge called me up, and I literally had to read testimonial from a form they had in the courtroom stating who I was, who I was married to, and stating that I request a divorce, no chance of reconciliation, blah blah blah.  That was it.  The judge granted my divorce, signed my papers, and sent me on my merry way.  I was out the door by 9:15 am.

As I exited the building, I had to pause as I swore I heard “Free Bird” playing softly on the wind behind me.  It was a liberating and overwhelming freedom.  I do not hate my ex-husband.  I don’t feel sorry for him, and don’t really love him anymore either.  He was an important part of my maturation process – good, bad, and ugly – and I wouldn’t be the same person today without those experiences.  Not to say that I wouldn’t be a happy person, but it would have been different.  I wish him the best… but it is time for me to move on.

I will eventually segue this part of the blog, with many more amusing/humiliating stories into a book… but not this day.

Moving forward, I will be transitioning into a “Life after Divorce” section where I can recount my struggles as a newly single lady.  Lord help me!!

Thank you for helping me through this transition.  As I sit now, I have been divorced for 9 days and it has already been a million times better than I could have imagined.  For those out there thinking about divorce, let me give you this piece of advice…  As soon as you KNOW that it is really over… file.  I mean you REALLY know that you don’t want to go back and never want to be married to that person again.  It is the scariest feeling in the world, being in Limbo.  It sucks, and trust me when I tell you to rip off the band-aid as quick as you can.  You will be so much happier later.

 

**Funny quirk about the Texas legal system – You MUST wait 30 days after your divorce is final to marry someone new…… UNLESS that person is the person you just divorced.  There is NO waiting period to remarry the person you just divorced.  Doesn’t this seems a little backwards???  Just my opinion…

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{July 1, 2009}   Woman in the Mirror

2:22 am

So.  I can’t sleep tonight.  I should start by saying that I have been sick.  Oh yes.  Very sick for the past 3 weeks or so.  Like lost 25 lbs in 8 days sick.  And for no apparent reason that anyone can explain.  Except for the Anxiety.  Oh yes… there has been anxiety.  And vomiting.  And missed days at work… And… And… And…

I am sick of it.  No pun intended.

Why can’t I sleep?  Well, today, I went back to work for the first time in a week and a half.  Well, I went back one day last week, but let’s just say that ended in disaster.  I went in to work today at 2:45 pm and stayed until 7:15 pm.  I got a lot accomplished and felt really good for the first time in weeks.  I had another doctor’s appointment this morning where Dr. Hottie, as cute as he is, was unable to tell me anything helpful.  He has recommended more testing.  Another doctor.  And a psychiatrist.  Ugh.  But I am willing to do what it takes to get better.  I hate being sick.

Why else can’t I sleep?  I slept about 16-20 hours yesterday.  I guess I am just not that tired.  Oh yes… and at 1:45 am I got a text from HIM… wondering when I was going to be able to pay MY half of HIS rent.  On a place I haven’t lived in 6 months (tomorrow!).  GRRR.

I have been told that I have a lot going on and that it is totally understandable that I have anxiety.  Ok.  I accept that.  But the last few days, with a slight nod to the untimely passing of the Late, Great Michael Jackson, I have been looking at the Woman in the Mirror.  I know that there are things beyond my control… but what about the things within my grasp?  I have not done a thing about those things.  Nor anything, really, to move in a forward direction.  I think in order to really move on and get well, and, better yet, BE HAPPY… I have to take a hard look at all of the things causing me stress and try to see what I can do about those things.

So, in no particular order, here are some things that have been weighing heavy on my mind.  If you don’t care… then skip it.  This is my blog <smirk>

  1. Codependency – I hate to realize that I totally became a co-dependent enabler during the course of my 11 year relationship.  Please note that I am not yet 33, so this relationship effectively has lasted 1/3 of my total life.  I hold two degrees in psychology, and it makes me feel REALLY lame to fall into this trap.
  2. Steve – Enough said.  Well, I must add this part:  I had an epiphany, of sorts today.  I realized (and I know it sounds stupid, but leave me alone… I am new to this break up shit) that in order for me to be happy and do the things I need to do to move on with life… Steve won’t be happy.  He isn’t going to be ok.  Not yet, anyway.  I really wanted this to be a situation where we could amicably part ways like adults and move on with our lives.  Man… was I living in an after school special!  I can’t break up with him AND have him be happy.  He is going to have to mourn the loss and find his own way to move on.  I have to accept that bit of information and just do what I need to do.  It sounds harsh… but that is HIS problem.  I can’t keep taking on the pain and emotion of everyone else, at the expense of my own happiness, and worse, health!  (See co-dependency!!!)
  3. BFF – I had a really inconclusive ending to a friendship that I have held dear since my Sophomore year in high school.  It was really a devastating blow, and I have been going through the hardest situation of my life, and I don’t think she even knows about it.
  4. Finances – I make pretty good money and love what I do, but since I have been financing (out of guilt and some retarded sense of obligation to someone who roped me into a new lease when I was on pain killers) the rent for my soon-to-be-ex-husband’s apartment and some of his bills.
  5. Automotive – I am currently driving a car old enough to have it’s own driver’s license.  I have several bad tires and no spare.  Shouldn’t be an issue… except for the paying of the douchebag’s rent

These are just to name a few… I won’t put you into a coma with the details.  But in looking at this list, there are things within my realm of control… I just have to do it.  So, that is my goal.  My wonderful roommate has been helping me get these things out of my brain and onto paper, which is much more helpful than it sounds.  Once on paper, we can break them down into manageable tasks.

Today when I went into work, I felt lighter.  I was able to get A LOT accomplished, and left feeling upbeat and happy.  I even managed a true dinner… A first in several weeks, let me tell you!

So… in summary… I still don’t know if I can get to sleep anytime soon, but it feels good to start working things out.  As for the doctor’s and psychiatrists, I will be a good little patient and do what they tell me to do.  But I know that action creates happiness.  As I always say… Utopia is not by chance, but by choice.  What are you choosing today??

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been any clearer

If you wanna make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself

And then make a change.

~Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror

Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson.  I will always treasure my time on stage in the 2nd grade talent show… Beat It will always live in my heart.

Christmas 1984-049

Beat It, 2nd Grade Talent Show

(I’m the blurry blonde)



{May 8, 2009}   Anti-versary

April 21, 2009

Playlist Choice: Over You by Daughtry

This day, eight years ago, I married the man I was in love with.  The person I loved most in this world.  The person I wanted to be with more than anything… It should be a day of celebration.

But on this day, eight years later, it is a day of sadness and reflection.  Sadness because things did not work out the way I planned.  Sadness for the children I never had.  Sadness for the misery I allowed this man to inflict on me over the years.  Reflection for the red flags I saw and ignored, and the ones I never noticed.  Times like this allow you to look backward with perfect clarity and see every misstep… every altercation…. every indication that ‘he’s just not that into you.’

The days of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole are over.  A friend reminded me that even when you try to trim the edges to make it fit, there is always friction.  I am not looking for perfection.  I wouldn’t even desire that, being a behavioralist… I know that is not possible.  I know that passion and desire don’t always come in a neat package.  We don’t always fall in love with the person who is best for us…

Sometimes it is just the person who fills the void.

Other times, we love that person with all our might, but it just isn’t enough.  Sometimes you have to make the ultimate sacrifice and do what is best for BOTH parties.  That is what I feel I have done.  It would be EASY to stay.  To ignore things.  To keep moving in a quasi-forward direction.  To grow further apart until we are that old couple living in different rooms and rarely speaking… oh wait… we were already there… at age 32.

It is HARD to implement change.  It is even HARDER to stick with it once the decision has been made.  Not because I wanted to go back, but because it was what I knew.  People never understand this concept until they are in the situation.  Believe me… it is HARD.

But, on this day, I gave myself a silent pat on the back for sticking it out and doing what I feel is right for me, for once.  If he really thought about it… he would realize that too. 

But he didn’t.  He asked me out to celebrate instead. [shaking head]

But what can I say?

I’m a catch!  And it is HIS loss.

😉



Ok, so they probably weren’t whores, but its a good line (Tommy Boy).

After the first year, of living together (year two of our relationship), we learned to get along fairly well.  We still argued a lot, because that is what happens when you take people who were never meant to be and put them together in a one bedroom apartment and try to force a relationship.  I was still in school and working, so we didn’t spend a ton of time together, despite living together.  Our relationship seems to work best that way.

On our 2 year anniversary, we moved into a larger apartment.  I had just graduated college with my Bachelor’s degree and he had a decent job working at the post office.  I was about to start graduate school to work on my Master’s degree.  Things had been pretty good.

One night when I got home from work, I got a really strange phone call asking for “Michael.”  I told her she had the wrong number.  She insisted that she had been called by a Michael from my phone number.  I was immediately suspicious because Steve’s middle name is [wait for it…] Michael.  I immediately questioned him about this and he claimed that he didn’t know what I was talking about and that he hadn’t been talking to anyone.

Now, one phone call… not enough to call Scottland Yard.  But… this trend continued to the point where I was ready to change my number and file a restraining order against anyone who called.  They knew my name, but kept referring to me as a “roommate.”  He kept saying that it wasn’t him.  He said maybe it had been his brother… who had lived with us briefly.  Maybe it was the maintenance man sneaking in during the day… he just couldn’t convince me.  I was uber pissed.  This continued until I finally did change our number.

You would think it would have stopped, right?  I wish.  I don’t know why I didn’t dump him then.  I guess I felt really invested in the relationship.  Comfortable in my misery.  It is sad that we can get that way so quickly where the fear of leaving outweighs what you already know to suck.



Steve and I worked on our relationship for several months.  After the incident, I was terribly insecure and became a little obsessive and neutotic (you would be too, admit it).  I was always worried about where he was or what (who) he was doing.  I hate being clingy, but there I was… I was THAT GIRL.  I hate that girl.

So, things are going along just fine for a while.  We would enjoy each other’s company, and I practically moved into the apartment with Steve and his roommate, Billy.  Billy was gay and a ton of fun.  I remember the day when Steve gave me a key to the apartment.  It was really sweet.

Then, one night, we are talking and he tells me that he thinks we might want to go out with other people.  He says to me, “I love you, but I don’t know if I am IN LOVE with you.”  I seriously could have stabbed him in the eye with a spork for that.  I told him, “Look… we have both been around the block.  I do not need to date someone else in order to know that I love you.  If you don’t know that yet, dating someone else will not help, and I refuse to stick around for that.  You are either with me, or we break up.”  Of course, he didn’t like that.  What is it with guys wanting to have their cake and eat it too?  I would understand if we were each others’ first, or if we had been high school sweethearts or something.  But, believe me when I say, that was not the case.  I am not the kind of girl who is going to sit at home while my boyfriend is out on a date with someone else.

It is interesting looking back just how many red flags there were to the eventual demise of our relationship.  In fact, those red flags are now on fire in the dark – signaling me to get out.  But I didn’t.  I stayed.  After learning that I was not going to allow him to date other people AND still be with me, he decided that being with me was good enough. 

We moved in together after one year of dating.  That second year was really hard.  We fought about everything.  Money, mostly.  Oh cursed money, how I hate you.  We had an agreement when we moved in together that we would have an unlisted number in my name.  We had a problem in the first year where girls he had dated would call, and he would never tell them he was dating someone.  The unlisted number in my name was a test of his loyalty.  I would know if any of them (or new ones) called, it would be because he gave them the number.  This was 1999, and before people were carrying cell phones all the time.  This was during the big pager rage.  During that second year, there were no calls from girls, other than those on the “approved” list (friends, family, co-workers, etc – basically no one he had ever slept with).  So, I was lulled into a false sense of security…



et cetera