Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | June 27, 2011

Divorce: Those left out of the loop

Hello, my friends.

After the divorce was finalized, and the nearly simultaneous foreclosure on the marital home, I have suddenly found myself with the occasional block of… time that is not already committed to work, the kids, or the burden of crap I’ve been dealing with for the past year and a half. What I need to do with this occasional chunk of “free” time is resume building the life I want to live. Instead, I find myself vegging out. I watch DVDs. I cook myself dinner. I pay bills and do other chores that take little thought, and spend way too much time doing them.

I should be writing. I should be cleaning out the garage and putting up new shelves. I should be exercising. Hell, I suppose I should be dating. But I’m simply never in the mood. I rarely have the energy. If I do venture out of the house, I go out with “safe” friends — good friends who pre-date the marriage and who are allowing me to acclimate to my new small windows of freedom without a lot of pressure.

There have been some exceptions, to be sure. A fantastic visit with an awesome new friend. A couple of meet-ups with fellow bloggers (and more in the works) who are simply amazing and helping me to stretch my wings. A pen pal who I really need to write to more frequently. And a good friend and co-worker who continues to challenge me and my perspective.

Heh. That sounds like I’m actually doing a lot, but when you figure how long a time frame I’m talking about… no, most of my occasional evenings to myself are spent catching up on The Daily Show or otherwise stalling.

What am I waiting for?

I don’t suppose it’s all wasted time. I imagine that some of this is just recuperating and decompressing from a long, hard few years. And let’s face it; time alone with the kids can tap one’s reserves of mental energy.

But as time slips by, it’s becoming increasingly odd to note that a great many of my friends (especially mutual friends) are unaware that Penny and I have divorced. This past weekend was funny; we had previously agreed to take the kids to a concert at the zoo (“Zoo Tunes!”) to see a performer we all like, and we bumped into an old, dear friend whom we haven’t seen in years. It was like old times. And when the questions arise, “How are you all doing?”, it just seems awkward to say, “Well, the house was foreclosed and we’re divorced, but the kids are doing well and the business is picking up.” Especially in front of the kids. And especially while here we were, toting the kids along to a concert as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

A year and a half ago, I posted the question of when to let people know about our (then upcoming) divorce. The general consensus among commentors was to tell a few friends and allow the news to slowly filter out from there. A sound strategy. In fact, it was comforting to me just to re-read those comments as I prepared to write today’s post.

But while I’ve told some friends at the martial arts studio, I also ended up damaging my knee, and haven’t fully returned yet. A few co-workers know, including my relevent managers (who have been very gracious and tactful about allowing me the time I needed to take care of matters.) And when it comes to our mutual friends… I find I simply haven’t been up for talking about it.

It’s not that the divorce is a sensitive subject. I’m just… a bit talked out at the moment on that subject. Perhaps this is part of the reason I haven’t been posting here as frequently as I used to, as well. Again, there are exceptions… I do seem to keep bringing up Penny when I’m around one friend in particular, and my penchant for self-deprecation sometimes rears its ugly head in strange ways. I’m glad I have good friends who gently but firmly give me the nudge I need when I start wandering down that path.

But I’ve got some truly dear friends who I have I simply lost touch with over these past few drawn-out months, and they don’t even know that Penny and I are living in separate houses, let alone divorced. How odd is that?

I’ve toyed with the idea of putting out a FAQ, sending it out the way you’d send out a birth or an engagement announcement:

We’ve moved!

His address is [my place], and her address is [Penny’s place]

What? Why do we have separate addresses? Because we’ve divorced.

Why have we divorced? Nobody did anybody wrong. But it truly was a case of irreconcilable differences.

How are the kids? They’re doing well, and they live half the time with him, half the time with her, and both within walking distance of each other and their new elementary school…

Perhaps it’s time to shout it out on Facebook. Or my “real life” blog (which hasn’t been updated in over a year at this point.)

Several people have suggested, and I’ve long considered the idea (as has Penny) of throwing a divorce party. Would that be making too light of the situation? I don’t know. Again… I’m not feeling up to it at the moment. That doesn’t mean I (we) shouldn’t do it anyway.

Or maybe we just let it be. Tell people on an ad hoc basis as we have been.

I need to shake this malaise and get on with figuring out the new me. But it still feels like I have some loose ends to tie up with regard to my former life.

What are your thoughts, my friends?



  1. Personally, I would concentrate (mentally) on moving forward, while accepting exactly where I am at any given moment, and do my very best not to dwell on the past.
    Translation: No divorce party, no feeling guilty for “vegging” or not dating, or not doing things you think you “should” be doing.
    Just live your life, do what makes you happy, make sure your kids are taken care of. That’s it. The right woman will find you, (when you least expect it) and then your life will change again. You don’t really have to do anything!

  2. I think, for me, things just started to take a natural course. Sometimes it needed said (still does) other times it doesn’t. There is nothing wrong with a decompressing time. You have to get to know you again. It takes time. Truly this moment is all about you. No one else.

  3. You know, I can’t even remember how I announced it. It was easy enough to do at work. I let them know there were major problems and then, a few months later, when asked how things were, I simply said “We’re splitting up”.

    For family…well, my mum has a big mouth. I’m pretty sure she called family in far off places who didn’t even know I was married to announce I was getting divorced.

    I have a very small circle of friends, so it was easy enough to tell one and know that they would spread the word.

    As for vegging…if that’s what you need to do in order to make the rest of your life happen…don’t worry about it. Dating? Too soon. But you should maybe get laid soon 😉 Make a point of meeting new people as your new divorced single dad self. I made a whole new set of friends as a single mum and it meant that the ppl I keep closest to me absolutely understand me, my kid, my near-poverty income. Much easier than explaining to old friends why I can’t ever really go out for dinner, movie and drinks.

  4. I think it’s normal to just sit with it… it’s a new you, after all! Maybe challenge yourself to get out once a week or every other week to do something. I’d definitely try some gentle exercise like yoga or taking walks or swimming. Start easy and then allow your body to tell you when it’s ready.

    You could update your Facebook status to say single or divorced. That’ll cover a wide range of folks. But again, do it when you’re ready for the barrage of questions. Or just put up a simple FAQ in a note on your FB page telling everyone that way. I’m sure you’ll get a few more questions but maybe some will get what they need to know.

    Divorce freaks people out. Don’t be surprised if some people run the other way until it settles in. People act like it’s a disease or something…


  5. I agree with Leah for the most part on this, however, I think you are completely allowed the time you need to decompress, as long as it doesn’t become, well, too long, doing so. As for ‘announcing’ I think I would personally go with an as-need basis, and it’ll start filtering out, eventually updating your FB (when you are comfortable) too. That’s what I did. First I hyphenated on FB, then I dropped my married name (and took off my relationship status from visibility for awhile) and then finally put single, when I was fully ready. I agree with being talked out on the subject though…I was too, everyone wants to talk about it or offer condolences and then it gets awkward and weird. It DOES freak people out, and when yours, at this point, is amicable, you end up reassuring THEM that it’s ok, you are fine (as is Penny) etc.

  6. The quicker you are at a point where you can freely talk about it with people other than your closest friends, the better, but that being said, don’t rush it for the sake of getting to that point.

    Once you’ve fully accepted the divorce, it’s easier to talk about. Also, for people who knew you as married, and don’t know, its easier to just get it out there, and honestly, it is for their benefit as much as yours because they won’t feel as if they are tip-toeing around something.

    It’s an 800lb gorilla. Smack it in the head and tell it to get off its ass, and have a laugh with it.

  7. I love what “T” said: “Or just put up a simple FAQ in a note on your FB page telling everyone that way” … because if ANYONE can write a witty, funny, interesting FB Note on this subject, YOU can. The only thing I would add, is that if you decided to do that, it might be in your best interest to make sure Penny is okay with it…since you have mutual FB friends.

  8. this is such a weird emotional journey. there is nothing wrong with resting yourself and taking time to ingest it all. but i would definitely start spreading the news. it is real, after all. and that’s the best part of all of it: the truth has set you free.

  9. Well, you know my belief is that if a marriage begins with cake, it should end with cake. Of course, that could be an excuse because I love cake. I also think that it’s good to find something to celebrate even in the worst of times. Divorce really can be a good thing for all parties involved. As for letting people know, a relationship change of Facebook tends to start the conversation. It will always get easier with time. Trust me on that. Let nature take its course and time heal all wounds. Stop trying to force yourself to do anything. Take time to breath. Then press on and build that life you’ve always wanted.

  10. Wow, I’m so glad I found your blog. I feel like I’m reading about my life.

  11. Meh… I don’t see why you have to make a thing of it. Just live your life and people will figure it out in time. No point hiding it, but no point shouting it from the rooftops either.

  12. As amusing as I find the announcement (and I so do), it probably isn’t in good form. But with that said, I have no idea how to tell people. Let me know when you figure it out.

    As for the “should be”s, don’t worry so much. Things will happen when you’re ready. But if it makes you feel better, if you’re still stuck in this place in two years, we’ll stage an intervention.

  13. Honestly, I’ve never been married which means no divorce, but when the break up happened after a very long relationship I had – we just basically told those we felt needed to be told (parents, close friends) and from there it found its way around. If people asked, we would correct them. Other than that, people talk a lot in today’s society – the news is bound to get out. It may already have reached farther than you think, it’s just nobody is bringing it up.

  14. I think you should just focus on establishing new rhythms in your life. This isn’t a time to be burying your self in additional tasks that can wait. You need to take the time to establish a solid base for that new life you want to create, and you can’t do that if you are completely buried in work and your kids and feeling like you have to contact everyone in your address book and shout the news that you’re now divorced.

    And what if Penny doesn’t want some of these people to know? What if she isn’t ready to spread the word as you seem to be?

    There will be plenty of time for these things when you are ready for them. Right now, you would only be keeping yourself in the familiar and too busy to explore the new.

  15. My sister was killed four years ago by her recently estranged boyfriend. It took me more than three years to say that without wanting to cry or explain or anything. I can now say it matter-of-factly, while recognizing the sadness and the hurt, but with emphasis on moving on and living.

    That said, I questioned all the time how I should “shout it from the rooftops.” I found blogging about my thoughts the most helpful, and if people wanted to read it, great. If not, at least I know I processed.

    Something piques my interest about the idea of a party. It’s awkward sounding. It’s uncomfortable sounding, but I actually LOVE the idea. Especially given you and Penny BOTH thought of it.

    Why not? Why not have a (an undetermined number) gaggle of friends come over to celebrate this NEW trek in life that you both agreed to. Change the paradigm from a time of mourning to a time of celebration while recognizing the grief that must be felt, in order to heal. If you do this, certainly be thoughtful about its construction — I could see where it would be detrimental, perhaps, to do a roast or something equally negative.

  16. I agree with IntrigueMe. I had never really considered this issue before not being divorced and all. It’s far more complicated than I would have guessed. Let things be as natural as possible and live your life like you want.

  17. I wouldn’t do the FB thing, personally, but then – maybe that’s just me, and the way I feel about FB announcements.

    But I would take all the time you need to recuperate and decompress. Divorcing is exhausting. And adjusting to what comes after takes time.

  18. Hi…just catching back up. It’s KT from WhenDidIBecomeaGrownUp? I tried a new blog, but quickly lost interest in the writing. Not sure why, as it really is cathartic. My point, though, is that like you..after the divorce was final, I spent a lot of time just vegging. I’ve finally started getting back out there and socializing and went through what I think is the obligatory “party phase” where you hit the bars with the single friends and troll for members of the opposite sex. Why, I have no idea, because I neither want a boyfriend or a one night stand. Yet…I do want some male companionship. Anyhow, I still find myself spending excessive hours in front of the tv, just reading or (like you said) taking WAY too long to clean the kitchen and fold laundry. I’m sure some of it is the necessary time to decompress and heal. And we need to find more out there that interests us as individuals; the part of us that isn’t a parent or the 1/2 of a couple. The question is how or what? As for telling everyone else? I say, just let them figure it out when they figure it out. I toyed wtih a Divorce party, but I didn’t feel like celebrating. A year later (now) my birthday is coming up and I’ve invited just about everyone I know on FB to the local Irish Pub. It will be the first time I’ve seen many of these people, and some will be surprised to see I’m divorced. Also, I changed my status on FB to “divorced” as stupid as that seemed, it seemed to do the trick.

    You sound ok…seem to be doing pretty well. I didn’t realize the divorce was final. I’ve been out of touch for a while. I want to catch back up on you and some others, but I don’t have it in me to feel responsible for a blog right now. I’m enjoying being lazy when I’m not being Mom.


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