The 6 Ill Effects of Talking About Your Divorce on the Internet

The 6 Ill Effects of Talking About Your Divorce on the Internet

WOW. Now you’re divorced. And you’re pissed off because you were pissed on. You didn’t deserve this. And, you want to spout off to the world. Talking about your divorce on the internet is tempting. Your computer is the perfect weapon – it’s right there, just sitting on your desk. It’s the perfect solution to tell the world how you just got screwed and weren’t able to lay back and enjoy it.

Your phone, laptop, keyboard awaits, yon Master. Just get on Facebook, or Twitter, or Tumblr, and let it all pour out like a fountain of righteous indignation. She’ll rue the day she screwed you over, once you let her have it over the Internet.

 

Talking about your divorce on the internet

Well, here’s the problem, though. As tempting and understandable as it may be, the repercussions talking about your divorce on the internet is huge.  Tweeting that tweet, posting that status, writing that blog may extend beyond your ten minutes of glory behind the keyboard. Indeed, in ways you may not even consider.

Here is a list of the 6 ill effects of talking about your divorce on the internet, even if it does make you feel better. And yes, I am speaking from experience.

You look like a jerk. Yes, you are probably at your lowest point imaginable after splitting from your love, the mother of your beautiful kids. Raging about it doesn’t help anything however. It’s one thing to put a faceless corporation on blast with a series of tweets, or with a strongly worded Facebook post. It’s another to do it to another human being, no matter how much (you feel) she deserves it.

You hurt your children. Now, I’m as guilty as anyone in very matter of factly telling my kids (who I do have custody of) that despite the fact we were married for close to fifteen years, I really don’t like their mother very much. It’s just how it is, and that’s that. When you take to the Internet in telling everyone you know this, in excruciating detail, sooner or later, your kids will find out what you said about their mother, whom they more than likely still love and care for quite a bit. And they will more than likely find out about it through their mother. Because no matter how many blocks you have on someone, eventually there’s a mutual friend of a friend out there that will see it, and then it cascades…

And speaking of “sooner or later”…

Everything you say stays on the Internet… in some form or another. No, I’m not getting Edward Snowden on you, but the fact is, even if you delete the post within an hour, there is an archive of you saying it, somewhere out there. The net has always had a way of preserving its data. Sooner or later, someone who is looking for anything to do with your situation can, and eventually will, find it. And that someone can be her attorney. Because…

Everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Now, don’t worry. You can’t be arrested for saying nasty things about someone (Well, unless you make threats against them, and yes, at that point you deserve it). However, if you’re still going through your proceedings, any of your online rants can be used as ammunition by opposing counsel. Especially if you’re in the middle of a custody battle.

You can alienate even your most ardent supporters. At a time when you need friends more than any other in your life, you don’t want to do anything that will push them away. Constant, or even occasional, polemics about how evil she is will push them away. Trust me, it about happened to me, with someone I know in my “real” profession, who was going through something very similar, snapping me back into reality. She’s not worth the friends you lose, because you can’t stop kvetching about her.

You look like a jerk. This needs to be reiterated and emphasized. No matter how justified you are, or how well-received your posts are, you look like a jerk. And if you let your mouth get the better of you, you will probably say some things you’ll regret later. Things that maybe make you look worse than an asshole.

As with anything to do with online writing, think before you post. Remember actions can, and often do, have consequences. And besides, if you want to prove you’re the better person in this argument, act like it. Screaming how you’re the better person and a great guy to boot… well, typically, it shows the exact opposite result.

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Finding Good Advice and a Good Divorce Lawyer

Finding Good Advice and a Good Divorce Lawyer

Divorce. Yeah, it’s the one word we men hate. It evokes all kinds of unsettling emotions. And, in no uncertain terms, during your break up, separation and divorce you’re extremely vulnerable, emotionally, financially, and God forbid, maybe even physically. And, good advice is hard to find, especially during divorce.

Recently, there’s been a whole cottage industry devoted to providing good advice for men. And there in lie the opportunities – to make money off your troubles, to push an agenda, and any host of other insidious schemes to be ‘your pal’ and provide the things you need, when you need them. And, be forewarned, this is opportunity time for divorce attorneys. Here are a few things to be wary of.

Good Advice for the Divorcing Man

Divorce Lawyers, especially the ones that advertise, don’t necessarily offer good advice. Come on, we’ve all seen it before – billboards, radio ads, TV ads, newspapers, even flyers in the mail. Lawyers typically don’t need to advertise their services. The ones that do are usually only in it to drum up business. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. It’s the American Way. But there’s one firm I can think of, here in my faire city that’s especially slimy about it, and they’ll go so low (or so I’ve been told) as to charge you for the staples they use to bind your documents together.

Mind you, unscrupulous lawyers are just as much a part of the American milieu as cowboys and wagon trains. And one particular law firm is hardly the problem all by itself. But the minute words like “We’re fighting for your rights as a father” start coming out of mouths, research the law firm you’re thinking about hiring. Father’s Rights is a particularly coded way of claiming “We think the law is lopsided in favor of women and by golly we’re going to prove that!”

There is no evidence of this whatsoever. In fact, speaking from experience, my own Ex was under the impression that we lived in a “Mother State” and therefore, despite the fact she had given up on the kids, she thought she was going to skate. Haha, well…

Make no mistake: lawyers are absolutely essential in some divorces, especially if a custody battle is in the works. But there are options out there other than the ones who advertise on the back of the phone book. Check your state or country’s legal aid services, for one. Google law firms in your area too, and see what past clients have to say about them. Even better – know a lawyer? You may not get pro bono work out of them, but s/he can at least point you in a better direction. Or consider a divorce mediator. They are non-confrontational, non-adversarial, and they mediate, without taking sides.

Long story short – anyone who advertises that they’re there for you, and for all men, are only out to get your money, which you’re going to need to support your kids, custodial parent and/or yourself.

Extremists. In recent times, there has been a sharp increase in the rise of men’s extremism. One of the many ways this has manifested has been in the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement.” On the surface, the MRM says they are just looking out for men in this world, much like Father’s Rights proponents, trampled as they are by the law and society more inclined to side with the biological mother and women in general.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong in this world with finding like-minded persons in similar situations as yourself to socialize with and get into support group situations with. However, outward misogyny or any concerted efforts to antagonize your Ex using Your Rights and Your Kids as sticking points is not time well spent.

Men’s support groups are fine. Most men’s support groups worth their salt don’t encourage internet harassment campaigns against women who have an opinion that differ from yours. If you feel like you need to be amongst “your own people,” I would suggest looking into groups that foster positive advice and positive messages of some kind, religious or otherwise, which best suits your emotional needs. There are groups that focus on men, not as a method of extracting revenge against your Ex or fostering other agendas, but to better yourself, to take stock of what your failures might have been, take responsibility for what may have happened with your ex and your children, and to improve on them, for yourself and your relationships, present and future.

Again, nothing wrong with that at all! Everybody on this earth has room for improvements in their lives. Just don’t let that be a springboard for other, less scrupulous opportunists to further their potentially harmful agenda.

These are but three examples of good advice and what to watch out for. The moral of the story, however, is this: don’t let your personal pain and hardships become an open door for predators. There are people in this world who actively seek out men who are going through divorce, especially when kids are involved. And not necessarily for altruistic reasons, either. Anyone who says they’re your friend when they’re trying to sign you up for something, typically isn’t. Be smarter. Do your research. And, watch your back. The consequences of being the next mark can last a lifetime.

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I’m Not Locked In Here With You

I’m Not Locked In Here With You

I’m not locked in here with you. You’re locked in here with me.
— Rorschach in Watchmen, by Alan Moore

Let’s get one thing straight from the start. You’re divorced. You have kids with the Ex. The truth of the matter in dealing with your Ex is this – YOU HAVE TO. It’s a necessary evil. You’re locked in to having to deal with your Ex.  I realize you don’t want to. Neither did I. I get it. But, you’re going to have to deal with her about visitations, child support, alimony, kids activities, and any of a countless number of other things.

Locked In With the Ex

Your kids, like most kids in this nuclear world, are going to be involved in any number of outside activities, science fairs, dance, concerts, sports, plays, graduations. Most of these activities will be reason to run into the Ex, and may involve collaboration with the Ex. No matter how much you wish it NOT to be so, it’s going to happen. It’s inevitable.

Sorry to bring the stark fatalism into this article, but I’m just sayin’. You made babies with this woman, you’re gonna have endure some social functions as her Ex when the kids are involved. So, the best thing to do is swallow your pride, and make the best of what is surely a tough situation.

There are a few ways this can be achieved, of course. One of the easiest is to be on opposite sides of the space, whatever it is. If she sits stage left, sit stage right. At a basketball game, go to the other set of bleachers to cheer your daughter or son on. Just because you are in the same place, doesn’t mean you have to actively engage her. It’s probably going to happen, even if it’s just in passing. But there’s nothing that says you need to be locked in with each other as she or he delivers that Shakespearean soliloquy.

Another way is to come to an agreement beforehand – you want a few minutes to talk to him after the game (or she does, if you are the custodial parent), then you definitely should be allowed to, in peace. But don’t just walk up afterwards and usher your daughter away either without so much as a Hello. Work it out beforehand. Communication, as it turns out, does work wonders, even in the most hateful and contentious of breakups.

In fact, that is probably the best bet for most things regarding your kids – come to agreements. This will inevitably end up involving compromises, whether anyone likes it or not. Not everyone can get their own way all of the time. Not even the most virulent case of “affluenza” will achieve that goal. Sometimes, as much as you can say No, others will be telling you No as well. Learn when to say Yes.

And I know that sometimes, especially with big life-events such as graduations or weddings, it’s not going to be just your former spouse present. Chances are, your former in-laws will be there as well. If you’ve maintained great relationships with them, fantastic! If not… well, best be on your guard there, and then some. You can’t help how others will act. But you can help how you react to others’ poor behavior. Lashing out, especially at a public event centered around your children’s achievements, is always poor form, bar none.

It may be easy to say “take the high road,” but it’s a lot more difficult to actually do it. Fortunately, there’s plenty of time to get used to the idea. That’s why you’re here, right? We all could use a little leg up from time to time. I know I still do to this day.

All that said – whatever you do, don’t panic. Nobody ever died from being locked in the same room as their Ex. At least, not for that reason. Just remember one thing most important of all – the reasons you may be in the same place at the same time is for the kids. It’s their events, it’s their time to shine. Swallow your pride, and realize, ultimately, it’s them what matter during these times. Save the drama for… another time.

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Perfect Strangers After Divorce

Perfect Strangers After Divorce

Kids. You love them. You hate them. But, they’re yours. And, after the divorce, they’re even more important to you than ever before. They become perfect strangers – disengaged, distressed, displaying avoidance at all cost. They’re lonely, upset, feeling left out, feeling unloved.

Time for you to move in on this dilemma. Show them some caring. Some trust. Some emotion. But, most importantly, engage with your kids. They need you more than ever.

Speaking as the rare custodial father, it really irks me to see parents that don’t seem to be involved with their children. Sadly, I’ve been dealing with that a bit myself today – my son’s been blowing up my phone with texts all day.

He’s clearly bored, and not being engaged whilst on his visitation with his mother. He even asked my partner (not me, strangely enough) to come pick him up.

Now, this is admittedly something that hasn’t happened in a good while. But it’s not the only time. And I see it with my own partner’s daughter, too, and her relationship with her own father.

Sure, parents and children shouldn’t necessarily be best of friends 24/7. And there’s always going to be some conflict of personality. It’s all part of them growing up.

But, speaking as a custodial parent, it does hurt me to see the kids feel like there’s no connection between the kids and their mother.

Therefore, here’s a few simple pieces of advice that would hopefully prevent some of the alienation that might occur between kids and their non-custodial parents. Hell, custodial parents may even get something out of these.

Perfect Strangers – Three Ways to Keep Your Kids Engaged

Talk to Them

No, seriously!

It really is as simple as that. Talk to them, regularly. About anything — that they might want to talk about, preferably  — at first. And don’t do it in a condescending way, either, even unintentionally. Children like to know that they’re being listened to. They want their opinions and thoughts validated.

“Parents just don’t understand,” remember that song?

Well, show them you do. They don’t need to be perfect strangers. They’ll start paying attention to you as well. And it doesn’t even have to end when their mother (or father) picks them up.

Heck, get them a cheap cellphone, one that doesn’t even need a plan that can be joined to WiFi (assuming they have it at their home), just so you can text with them. Trust me, they’ll appreciate that, even if you have to compete with Angry Birds for their attention.

Engage Kids in Activities

Boredom happens because, often, there’s nothing to do. They may be bored, because you’re being boring.

Now, yes, sometimes grown-ups have things to do. But, especially if you’re the non-custodial parent, your time with them is limited, and going back home reporting that “We just sat around and watched TV” isn’t going to inspire confidence. Nor is it really going to get you to connect with your children that you’ve already had a fair amount of disconnection from by virtue of the divorce.

So, sure, if they want to watch TV, why not watch it with them for a bit? You might not be totally up on Adventure Time or Regular Show, but that’s OK. You don’t have to be.

All that said, watching TV might not be the greatest activity to engage in. But, by the same token, don’t be perfect strangers either. Take them out. Head to the park and walk the trails a bit. Anything you can do together with your kids is good for the bonding experience. It’s one thing to say you’re there for them, another to put it into tangible actions.

Time is limited; make the most of it.

Stay Involved, Even When They’re Not There 

This might be the trickiest part. If your kids aren’t around, you might not be as inclined to try to keep up with the day to day activities of raising them. Out of sight, out of mind, even if you don’t mean it to be that way. Therefore, try to keep tabs on what’s going on with the activities they may not tell you about.

As non-custodial parents, you do have a right to know their teachers names and numbers, and be in contact with them to discuss their schoolwork and grades. Also, you have a right to know who their doctors are, and consult with them as well.

This is more background dealings, that the kids may not even be aware of until you say something. But it still shows you care, and try to engage them on that level. Believe me, even if they can’t consciously put it into words, they will appreciate the gestures.

In Closing

These are just a few ways that being connected, and being actively involved with your children, can be accomplished. The point here, is that just because you might be the non-custodial parent, doesn’t mean you have to be an absentee parent as well. Be involved. Talk to them. Do things with them. Just be an active part of their lives, like they really want you to be.

How do you stay connected with your kids when you’re not around? What do you do to keep your kids engaged when they’re with you? Let us know in the comments!

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My Wife Walked Out : Now What?

My Wife Walked Out : Now What?

Yeah, so your wife walked out on you. Or told you to get out, one of the two. Hey, I know the feeling. I’ve been there. One day my wife of thirteen years up and left, leaving myself and our children hanging out to dry. It wasn’t like the signs weren’t there, but you live in hope, right?

I had been working two jobs for the majority of our time together, just so we could get by. I suddenly had to quit one of them after almost ten years for the sake of childcare. (The next week, I got let go at my other one, the “day job,” but that was more coincidence than anything)

And then there were the questions I had to dodge from the kids about where Mom was, keep making excuses because the shock and anger and confusion was so fresh I didn’t know up from down.

The Getting Past It Process

This is really the first step in the whole Getting Past It process – resetting your mental state from Married to Not Married. It’s like the old saying: the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Once you realize that things are now no longer what they were, it’s easier to move on.

And no, it’s not going to be easy. I know that. There are going to be days you don’t want to go to work, get out of bed, shower, any of that. It’s natural. You just had a total system shock that has disrupted all your routines and functions, and you aren’t going to know what to do next.

This is why it’s important to get your head back into the game of Life sooner than later. If you don’t have your old routines and associations to fall back on, it’s imperative you find new ones of some kind. Humans are generally, by nature, social creatures, even if it just happens to be over the Internet. It is also completely natural to tend to isolate yourself in a time of extreme duress. Or worse, engage in self-destructive behaviors.

Don’t Give In

It’s a little reductive and simplistic to say “Don’t do that,” but, seriously, don’t do that. The temptation to drink until your heart stops may be great, but it never helps anyone. Least of all, you.

The temptation to drink until your heart stops may be great, but it never helps anyone. Least of all, you.

It’s also imperative not to succumb to the sort of bitterness and anger that will accompany events like these. It’s OK to feel this way; in fact, it’s perfectly natural, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But let’s not let it become the driving force in your life. Yes, Guy Talk sometimes revolves around how the Woman Done You Wrong. But even the most avid sports fans don’t want to talk football 24/7. Likewise, even your best friend doesn’t want to hear about your evil bitch ex from you either. Or worse, see your rage in action against people who more than likely don’t deserve to be on the receiving end of it.

Furthermore, it’s important to not let any of these feelings show with your kids. It had nothing to do with them, so as much as you don’t want to take it out on any innocent bystanders as I said above, that goes triple for your kids. And hey, things will slip out. I’m just as guilty of it too. But moving on also means knowing when you screwed up, and learning from it. If you slag off their mother in front of them, you screwed up. And trust me, you will hear about it at some point.

Really, it’s in everybody’s best interests to move on, and more importantly, move forward, after your wife walked out on you. Yes, it sucks. Yes, there’s messy divorce hearings coming up with custody questions and child support and division of property and division of debt and all that. Which is precisely why moving on sooner, rather than later, will be beneficial to you – you can deal with these problems with a clearer head, without overriding feelings of pain and anger complicating an already complicated process.

Reclaiming Your Life After Your Wife Walked Out

Seriously, go read a book. Write a book. Pick up a hobby (but not too expensive!). Reassess your life, your career. Make new friends. Reconnect with old ones you haven’t seen in a while. Do something for your children. Do something for someone else’s children. Do anything that makes you see a world beyond the point where your wife walked out on you and your family. If nothing else, it’ll get your mind off of it for a little while, and sometimes a little while becomes a long while.

Otherwise… well. You ever watch that show King Of The Hill? Yeah, you know Bill? That’s not a good look on you, man.

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