Ask Divorce Coach is Women’s Divorce Coach’s divorce advice column. Have a question? Send it to Cindy here. It’s anonymous!
Dear Divorce Coach,
I was divorced three years ago but can’t seem to move on. My ex-wife has a serious boyfriend and I find myself feeling very jealous of their relationship. She has the kids more than I do and it really kills me when he drops my kids off at my house instead of her. The kids talk about him a lot and it sounds like he even takes care of them when she’s working a late shift. Should I look into getting more custody? Go back to court? I’m not sure he’s a bad influence but if a father figure is spending time with my kids, I want it to be me!
– Left behind dad
Dear Left Behind Dad,
I hear how sad it makes you feel to not have as much time with your kids. How much space have you allowed yourself to grieve the divorce? It can be hard to move on without going through that process. Have you talked to your ex about having the kids more? Sometimes what works for someone right after the divorce can shift and she may be open to suggestions. I can’t answer whether you should try for more legal custody but here are a few practical things to consider.
- Do you have the time and schedule to accommodate more kiddo time?
- Have you considered the cost of going to court and working with an attorney?
- Do you live close to the kids school and would you be able to get them back and forth easily to school and activities?
- What does your support system look like?
After considering these things, I hope you’ll have some more clarity! Good luck!
Dear Divorce Coach,
I am worried about my relationship with my teen daughter. I am currently separated and my husband has filled her head with all kinds of bad things about me. Admittedly, I did have a brief affair but he had a longer one. I want to tell her about all the bad things he did but I know in my heart that it’s not the right thing to do. What do you advise?
– Bad mom
Dear Bad Mom,
Taking the high road is not always easy and yet I hear you feel it’s the best path forward. It’s hard to keep those details away from your child when your husband is not doing the same. While there may be some short-term satisfaction in dishing the dirt, considering the long-term impact might give you the pause you desire. Your daughter might be mad at you for awhile but most adult kids of divorce say they appreciated their divorced parents keeping them out of the conflicts. In the meantime, continue being an engaged parent in your daughter’s life. Getting in touch with how you feel and act when you are your “best self” will help to keep you on track. Continuing to remind yourself that your love for your daughter is more important than your dislike or hatred for your ex can also help.
Dear Divorce Coach,
My husband of thirty years just told me he wants a divorce. The marriage has not been good for a long time but I am still stunned. I feel strongly that divorce is not a good option and I do not want my adult kids to start having to chose which of us to spend holidays with. I would honestly rather stay in a less than perfect marriage than go this route. He says I need to accept it and move on. How can I possibly do that?
– Do not want a divorce
Dear Do Not Want a Divorce,
It can be really hard to accept such a major shift in your life especially when you’ve been on one path for a long time. For some, going through a divorce can feel like a death. I encourage you to reach out to your support system and confide in trusted friends and family. Talking about it will help ground you in your present reality. You might also look for a divorce support group in your area. Connecting with others who are also getting out of long-term marriages can help you feel more understood. Hiring a divorce coach is also a good idea. They can help you get organized and consider all the aspects of divorcing while being an empathetic ear. I find that clients who refuse to accept the divorce often make the major mistake of throwing in the towel during the divorce process without carefully considering what they may need financially. This can lead to a lot of regret and resentment.
This is also a good time to take really good care of your mental and physical health. Good self-care is very important when dealing with major life transitions. I hope that you find the support you need during this difficult time.