Thanks for Reading Suburban Adventure

Monday, July 18, 2011

Today confirmed the fact that I clearly missed my calling in life. Giavanna often jokes that I should have a sign outside of my office that reads "The doctor is In". She loves Charlie Brown and I apparently remind her of Lucy- always giving advice as well as being asked for it. I suspect this naturally happens as Im a very friendly person who genuinely listens to the answer should I ask how someone is doing.  Prior to 7:45 this morning, I had already given marital advice to three people.  Two women and one man- same thing in common-unhappiness in their marriages. I know many couples that are incredibly frustrated with their spouses and the lack of excitement and enjoyment that comes from fighting all the time. An unhappy marriage is exhausting, irritating and sad, it always brings about many confusing thoughts. We marry with the intend of forever being happy and thrilled. It is unrealistic and not fair to think that the initial excitement of dating can survive for longer than the dating period.

This is not to say that a marriage can not be exciting, you have to make the effort and continually pay attention to it. When my ex and I first married, I told him that we were going to do a six month check in and discuss our marriage- what we were satisfied with along with any issues that need working on. We did this for many years and it was a wonderful way to open conversation about your relationship. If you have a set time to resolve conflict or to express gratitude, it's nice to have a regular date on the calendar so it's not intimidating.

There is a song that Im reluctant to quote as it is not exactly my style however if you can understand the message- I think it makes some sense.. Not sure who the singer is but the line is "you better check yourself- before you wreck yourself". I don't even remember the rest of the song but that line is imprinted in my brain as I believe it to be true.  You have to keep tabs on the happiness meter of your marriage.
You need to know how your spouse is truly feeling or else you may be caught off guard. Marriage is difficult and what I will honestly share with you the following - so is Divorce.

An unhappy marriage is unpleasant. I had a happy marriage for most of it- the exception was the last three years as outside factors wore down our union. As I have mentioned before- our marriage could not sustain the overwhelming difficulty of death, illness, depression and the nomadic lifestyle of entertainment. I needed to be rooted and I wanted the same for Christopher and Giavanna. My Mother had been diagnosed with cancer- a year after my father died from cancer and honestly- moving all the way to California was not an option for me. I could not leave my Mother nor could I mentally handle all of the losses that I was experiencing in a place that was so far away from the support of my family and friends.

My ex had to take the wonderful offer that was being presented to him in San Francisco. In radio, you have to follow the job if you want to remain on top. My understanding was that we would be living in Boston forever- disappointment number one.

I have read that it takes an average of three years from the first thought of getting divorce - to the point where a spouse actually announces it to their partner. The thought of being divorced is challenging. It rattles our sense of stability and crushes our dream of "happily ever-after".  We are confused about what are future will bring about.  The things one needs to truly consider are the following-

Can you support yourself and the manner in which will make you comfortable?
How do you truly feel?
How do you feel about being alone and the potential of lonliness?
How are your children doing- mentally and academically?
Do you feel you can live without your children?
Imagine another person in place of you, helping your children with their homework and potentially influencing them with all aspects of  life.
How do you feel about dating?
Think about your friendships as they may change the minute your divorce is final- are you capable of reinventing yourself and your friendships.
How do your parents feel about divorce?

I will tell you first hand that there is no such thing as a "good" divorce. My husband and I had a loving marriage complete with beautiful children. Our differences made our marriage a challenge and when he was offered a job across the country and I did not go- it was a natural separation. We were always respectful toward each other in our difficuties but it is was not without pain.

 I think his pain was the reality of losing his family while mine was giving up the idea that this man would be my lifetime partner. My "happily ever after" didn't work out and that was very upsetting to me. I never dreamed I would be a single parent. I  is challenging and everything falls on me- alone. Thankfully.
This is the part that I could not handle and I personally would not get divorced if I had to share my children. It would be too difficult for me and I know always knew that.

I would have stayed married if I were not financially sound. I would have stayed married if my children had to live with both of us - alternating weekly and I would have stayed married had I not the support of my family that I knew that I could count on. Divorce is hard- and here is the biggest surprise that NO ONE shares with you. If you are sharing custody of your children- you STILL have to deal with your ex. You have to talk to them, you have to see them and you have to have an active working relationship with them. You have to meet their new spouses and kiss your children goodbye as they all get in to your ex husbands new luxury vehicle. It used to be you sitting in the front seat, now it's a stranger. A stranger that will be taking care of your children. Your children perhaps may have an entirely new set of people that they are associating with every other week. You may not like these people and in fact, they may be the exact opposite of you and the example you are trying to set for your children.

Innocense disintegrates with divorce. It changes forever the way we perceive love and expecations in a relationship. Divorce is nor positive and it means letting go of the illusion that someone can truly make all aspects of life happy.  All of your fears will come to the surface and you will have to manage each and every one of them.  As I said, Im happily divorced but my situation is extremely different. My ex lives across the country. I raise my children without any interference and I have kept everything stable and similar for my children. They were also young when he was offered the job in California. Three and Five- and in fact I didn't tell them we were divorced until a year afterwards. I told them as they were about to enter school in the fall but they were already used to their Dad living away and I told them that nothing would change. My children are thriving socially, academically and personally. I was very strategic in my approach to my divorce, and I have handled it with the well being of my children being my first priority. I have always put their needs and desires before mine. One example would be that- if it were up to me- I would be living on Commonwealth Avenue right now in the Back Bay of Boston in a four bedroom townhouse. I would be living in a city that has my heart and back to the city that I left- to accomodate the career of my ex husband. I won't do that however as my children are now rooted here in Easton. We are not going anywhere- we have friends and we are now home.

If your marriage in not abusive - please try to stay married. Divorce will bring you many good things but it is not easy and can be challenging. Prior to even uttering the words to your spouse- go talk to a therapist. A good one will be open and honest and will help you understand many things that you are not even aware of . They are trained to deal with this challenge.  I went once with my exhusband and it confirmed to me that I was making the right decision in staying here in Connecticut. I continued to go after I got divorced and it truly helped me understand the many factors that lead to my discontent. Make an appointment to share your feelings with someone and you can always write to me- I will certainly tell you the truth. Mend your marriage, forgive your spouse and try to make it work. If you can't then proceed along but please know that their are challenges that you will face on the otherside. The challenges will be different than the challenge of being unhappily married but I assure you - they will indeed be there.
xo "Lucy"

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