Parenting after the death of an ex spouse.

My ex-wife, the woman I knew from our time in college and who I had 3 kids with, passed away three days ago, after a 14 year battle with breast cancer.

If you have read my other posts you will know that her almost 4 year affair ended our marriage, and the resulting fallout was complicated and full of conflict.

In the last 3 months I went from being a part-time single dad, to a partial full-time single dad (my daughter was told to leave the other house in April by my ex-mother-in-law and the affair partner), to a completely full-time single dad with my ex’s passing.

Over the last few days my thoughts and emotions have been all over the place. I don’t know if I am feeling some version of grief, or if I am just a witness to the grief my kids are feeling from her passing. The complicated nature of the last 4-7 years has made her passing complicated.

I decided to process the onslaught of feelings by listing the thoughts and questions that have been running through my head the last few days. For better or for worse, in no particular order: Continue reading “Parenting after the death of an ex spouse.”

Advertisements

5 New Year Habits of Mind for the Divorced Dad

As divorced dads we have survived the holidays. Whether we were with family or trying to make it through on our own, we are now on the other side. The New Year has begun. Here are 5 things to consider when planning out our new beginnings. These are not resolutions. Resolutions tend to be broken. These are habits, frames of mind that can guide our choices in the new year.

One. We will be better about NOT reacting when triggered by our ex. Continue reading “5 New Year Habits of Mind for the Divorced Dad”

Who Calls You on Your Bullshit?

Have you ever found yourself frustrated by someone else?

Continually?

Could it be that you are doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results, and then ending up frustrated when the other person’s behavior is no different?

Who do you have to call you on your bullshit? Continue reading “Who Calls You on Your Bullshit?”

Top 5 Dark and Angry “Break-up” Songs

Break up songs and divorce.

If you are a child of the 80’s, like me, you may recall this classic scene from the movie Better of Dead (which my kids love by the way…in case you are looking for something funny to watch with your over 10-ish kids):

john Cusack had it wrong though. It is music that can help you make it through the worst days post-separation from your spouse. The real question is what music?

I used to DJ, so I had many options of musical stylings to choose from. I could have turned to the Blues, but most blues songs lament the women who have left. I wasn’t going to pine after the woman who cheated on me as Muddy Waters did in Long Distance Call. Continue reading “Top 5 Dark and Angry “Break-up” Songs”

Is it a Mid-life Crisis or Something Even More Transformative?

“Yeah. I think you’re going through a mid-life crisis.”sports car

I picked my son up at the airport yesterday morning. He had been traveling for the previous week, visiting and auditioning at music schools. As we talked I told him that I had bought tickets for an upcoming metal show. He responded by proclaiming that his father was half way to death, and that this mid-life status was causing him to try and reclaim his lost youth.

I have been trying to figure out since whether I am indeed going through this thing people call a mid-life crisis, or whether something else is going on. Here is the evidence:

Can you still be a metalhead in your 40s?

Slayer and Testament are coming to town. Continue reading “Is it a Mid-life Crisis or Something Even More Transformative?”

The Xs and Os of Responding to Your Ex-Spouse’s Texts

man-person-hands-appleThe game was on.

“Yes Divorced Dad, everything is my fault. You may hate me for the rest of your life, if you wish.”

My ex had sent this text in the middle of a disagreement over the children’s schedule. I had three plays to consider in response.

Play #1: The Rookie Mistake

Soon after a separation we want to respond. We really really really want to let the our ex know how wrong they are (or in the case of this type of text, if we are angry, how very perceptive they are). We want to argue our point. We want to have the last word. Continue reading “The Xs and Os of Responding to Your Ex-Spouse’s Texts”

If I’m not married, then who am I?

If I’m not a married father, then who the hell am I?

Two weeks after I learned about my ex-wife’s affair, and soon after I realized that she had no intention of leaving her affair partner, I went hiking. By myself. To clear my mind.

Those first few weeks the issue of identity was one that I could not shake from my thoughts. I had been with my wife since college; 18 years together, 15 married. I had been raising kids with her for basically the same amount of time. And since she was diagnosed with cancer 10 years prior, with a recurrence the year prior, I was her primary caretaker. I was with her during appointments, surgeries, and late night ER visits. Taking care of her was a huge part of who I was. IMG_5919

Her infidelity took my identity from me. Or so the thought kept running through my head. In fact, in a moment of real cruelty, she had told me that I wasn’t that good of a caregiver anyway. I wondered, if I wasn’t taking care of her, then who the hell was I? Continue reading “If I’m not married, then who am I?”

5 Tips For Not Letting Emotions Ruin Your Divorce

Come check out my guest blog over at MensDivorce.com.

“5 Tips For Not Letting Your Emotions Ruin Your Divorce”

You should let yourself feel all of these emotions and seek out the support you need to get through the hurt; however, when it comes to the divorce process itself, controlling your emotions is key to getting the outcome that you are looking for…

Emotional triggers abound during divorce, but knowing where those triggers might lie can help you better prepare to manage your emotions when they do pop up.

When you have no more to give…breathe. Divorced Dad gives a speech.

When you have given and have no more to give, will you know where to go to replenish the energy you need to keep going?

It has been a while since I posted. Between the end of a semester at work, trying to bring closure to an agreement that my ex had been dragging her feet on to avoid court, my daughter struggling with the impending death of our dog and her mother’s cancer battle, my son’s academic struggles, and my other son’s college application process, Divorced Dad 101 had to take a back seat.

This morning much of this came to a head. I couldn’t decide whether the pain in my chest was a heart attack, remnants of a failed massage last night, or just the stress of being a divorced dad had finally caught up to me in physical form. Breathing was hard.

And tonight I recalled some of my own advice that I had given out to an audience a few years back. I have decided to share it here. A few years back the graduating class at my school invited me to give one of the faculty speeches at their graduation. Copied below is what I said:

Continue reading “When you have no more to give…breathe. Divorced Dad gives a speech.”