I Got a Divorce – Where Do I Go From Here?

So you’ve reached the end. You improved your life in part one and you filed for divorce in part two. Now you have that paper with the judge’s signature on it and you are “finally” rid of her…. Or are you? The goal should always be to eliminate ANY and ALL unnecessary contact with the other party from this point on. This is best for all involved. Yet you MUST be civil in every contact you have with her. If things get heated and emotions are raw, make sure you have a witness for all your contacts. That will help with the “he said/ she said” bullshit. I’ll go into detail about how to best accomplish that in each section below.

Picking Up the Pieces

You went through one of the most stressful events in life. On most evaluations of stressful life events, divorce ranks higher than the death of a family member or incarceration in jail. In fact, according to The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, the only life event that is more stressful than divorce is the death of that spouse. I can only assume that you must be blissfully married before that event for that to be the case, but I digress. Divorce is stressful and now that you are on the other side of an all-consuming life event where do you go from here?

A New Normal

You will need a “new normal.” This involves a new place to live, new routines, new hobbies and a new outlook on life. I remember very vividly a night after the divorce where I was laying in bed, trying to figure out “what did I enjoy doing.” Hopefully you aren’t in this place. It was a really shitty place for me to be. I was completely reactive in my divorce and paid for it. Not only financially but also in figuring out who I was, what I liked and what my hobbies really were. Ultimately this is what led me to several of the blogs I still read and to my personal transformation. Growth and change can be painful but if you do it right the other side is incredible.

The only thing we hate more than change, is for things to remain the same.

Her Friends, Your Friends

If you haven’t noticed this by now, some friends will drift toward you or toward her. Your “couple” friends will have to pick between you or her. You must avoid those that “don’t pick sides” – often they are seeking to vicariously live through your drama. Do you really want to hear what your ex is doing? Or, turn it around, do you want her to hear about what you are doing? If you have any doubt, just move on. It will save you grief in the long run.

The Opposite of Love…

I’ll give you a hint, it’s not hate. Hate requires just as much energy as love. You are equally obsessed with the individual and it’s equally as consuming. Hate takes work. Hate takes effort. Hate saps your energy. No, hate isn’t the answer. The answer is quite simple: It’s indifference. If you drive by a church and see a wedding, do you really care who is getting married? If you hear about someone on the other side of the world who just died does it really matter to you? Not really. That’s ultimately where you want to be with your ex. Oh, she just got married? Cool, pass me the chips and salsa. Every second you spend thinking about your ex is one less second you aren’t working on yourself. And hopefully, by now, you’ve realized she isn’t worth your time.

Work On Yourself

Revisit the first post and work on the first 5 steps outlined in Dread Game 101. If you want to look at it in a dating context, this will make you more attractive to the opposite sex. However, I prefer to look at it from a selfish perspective. There is no better time than NOW to work on yourself. Want to get a motorcycle? Do it, just don’t be a squid. Now is the time to do what you have dreamed of doing but never could.

Is This the Right Order For Me?

What the courts seek with the orders is consistency. That order you have in your hot little hands needs time to breathe – at least as far as the courts are concerned. Courts move at a glacial pace; even “emergency hearings” can take weeks to happen. If you believe you got screwed over by your order (join the club) you may want to revisit it. If you have anything less than half custody of your children you need to revisit your order. If you are paying alimony and your ex just became employed you may need to revisit your order.

Revisiting the order means filing in court again and having a judge order on why you think the circumstances should be different. I’ll say this right now, NEVER go against a court order. There really isn’t a better way to anger a judge. You need to know the order like the back of your hand. If ANY modification needs to be made, you and your ex MUST agree IN WRITING. This should go without saying but all communication should be in writing.

When To Revisit Your Order

The court deals with what can be proven, not your feelings or the nasty words your ex told you. Proof is the keyword in court. You MUST prove your case and proving requires evidence. For example, if you want to increase your time with the children you shouldn’t miss any of the scheduled time you currently have.

Additionally, you should offer to take the children as often as possible. You need to document all of this and after a year or so try to solidify that extra time into an agreement with the ex. If that won’t work, head back to court. If you only have the children every other weekend and you go for a 50/50 type custody it is unlikely the court will approve of it. Remember the court glacial pace thing. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

How Do I Deal With Crazy?

Everyone thinks they have a crazy ex but only a few are actually crazy. Read this definition from the DSM 5 (that’s the manual shrinks use to tell you what’s wrong with you) for Borderline Personality Disorder:

The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits. To diagnose borderline personality disorder, the following criteria must be met:
A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:
1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):
a. Identity: Markedly impoverished, poorly developed, or unstable self-image, often associated with excessive self-criticism; chronic feelings of emptiness; dissociative states under stress.
b. Self-direction: Instability in goals, aspirations, values, or career plans.
AND
2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):
a. Empathy: Compromised ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others associated with interpersonal hypersensitivity (i.e., prone to feel slighted or insulted); perceptions of others selectively biased toward negative attributes or vulnerabilities.
b. Intimacy: Intense, unstable, and conflicted close relationships, marked by mistrust, neediness, and anxious preoccupation with real or imagined abandonment; close relationships often viewed in extremes of idealization and devaluation and alternating between over involvement and withdrawal.

DSM 5

The Crazy Ex™ is not someone you want to take lightly. One of the best books on the subject is “Say Goodbye to Crazy” by Dr. Palmatier and Paul Elam or if you would rather youtube check this out here:

Automation

I’m not talking about a robot, although that would be awesome. I’m talking about set it and forget it type things. If you have a decent ex, I’d suggest doing an automatic bill pay to send any monthly amount you owe her. Ideally have it go out of another account of yours but the goal is to just set it and forget it. Also, have a shared google calendar. Here you can put kid events on them so the other parent won’t be left in the dark. I have a week-on/week-off schedule with my children so I make sure to update the calendar with anything that comes up during my time with the children. It limits the amount of interaction with her and keeps us all on the same page. That’s a win/win in my book.

Go Live Your Life

This is the most important part. Live your life for you. Don’t rush out and get into another relationship. You might even try the subtle art of not fucking at all. Point is, you need to take time and reflect on what happened. Take a good look inside and see where you fucked up. Choose a goal and change your life. Push out of your comfort zone, see the world, live your dreams and remember to always…

Stay Superior!!


Photo by Miguel Orós on Unsplash


 

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Matt
Matt is a husband, a father, an avid motorcycle rider, and an all around awesome guy.