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Ever since President Obama's 2009 "beer summit", there's been a lot of talk of "teachable moments". And while divorce is far from a "moment" – it's more like what Hollywood types would call a "sprawling epic" – we can't help but wonder: Is there any life event that is more of a "teachable moment" than divorce?

Think about it. There is so much to be learned through the process of divorce (both about yourself and the world around you), and equally as much that can be taught to others. Just as Oprah's childhood struggles enabled her to help millions of others to overcome their demons and get on the right track, a woman who has gone through divorce has the ability to help countless other women when they find themselves navigating treacherous waters.

Thanks to a group called "Divorce Words of Wisdom", women on the Social Network have begun sharing their own "teachable moments" with fellow members. One member named Allie even compiled a list of 12 Hard Truths she learned from her own divorce. After reading over her list, feel free to add your own discoveries and hard truths in the comments section below, or join the Social Network to sound off!

12 Hard Truths I Was Forced to Learn Through My Divorce

  1. There are no books out there that can perfectly address your specific divorce situation.
  2. Divorce changes people and your ex will be no different.
  3. Be prepared for the ex to go for the jugular, especially if the divorce is due to infidelity.
  4. Prepare yourself for going for the jugular. It is the only option your ex will leave you.
  5. Kindness in divorce gives you about a 95% chance of getting screwed by your Ex in some way. More so if children are involved.
  6. You are working to get that other person out of your life. Give in on the small things and don't let small fights take up time that could be used for pushing that person out the door.
  7. It's over. Accept it. You tried. This isn't about you anymore. No matter how many times you think that if you had "just said" or "just done" something differently. When he walked, cheated, lied, it broke. You know it or you wouldn't be in this network. You need to put aside the pain for the moment and begin protecting yourself.
  8. Cry. don't be afraid to scream at your ceiling. It is natural. It is part of the process. Give into that inner woman who wants to just fall to the floor and sob. You will rise strong and even more prepared to do what has to be done.
  9. Cut contact with the Ex and his family as much as possible. If it's not a business phone call or text or email, it isn't answered. He chose to no longer be a part of your life. Help him realize exactly what that choice is going to get him.
  10. Be prepared to hear "I want to work this out" whenever you have him by the neck in the divorce. Don't fall for it. Don't be cruel but do not swallow an obvious lie. Ask yourself if he'd "want to work it out" if you were still the woman you were in the marriage. The answer is almost always no.
  11. Trust your gut. If you think you are about to get a raw deal, double check your facts and make no move without talking to a lawyer.
  12. Divorce is forever. Its effects are forever as well. Learn to deal with that now, or be prepared to suffer later.

These are the hard truths I've been forced to learn in my divorce. Hopefully someone out there will benefit from my hard-gained wisdom.

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  • Comment Link temp Thursday, 15 August 2013 18:50 posted by temp

    I have a list which pertains to those of us who are divorcing a mentally ill or incapacitated STBX: 1. Don't focus on having tried for too long. 2. Stop focusing on having given him so much help and making so many excuses. Really. Stop. Does no good. 3. When he is using symptoms to drag out the proceedings, stop all phone contact. Keep email contact, just in case. 4. Tell your attorney exactly how it is. What you want (custody, psych tests for him, supervised visitation, treatment, etc etc.) 5. If your attorney sees you as demanding, smile and repeat what needs to happen. 6. If you're arguing your case to your attorney, find another. 7. Find a counselor for yourself and your children 8. For every hard day, be grateful he isn't there making it even more so. 9. Share details only with friends who have known you as a couple for a long time. Otherwise keep quiet. 10. I haven't been to court yet, but I know I will be able to stand quietly and proud of my decision to end this marriage.

  • Comment Link Guest Monday, 19 November 2012 21:09 posted by Guest

    This sounds a little oblivious.: It is well understood that a woman needs to protect herself from getting severe emotional pain during a divorce. But if she only learns that without realizing how her part was played in the marriage that ended up divorce, it's not much of a learning. Not all the divorce is due to husband's infidelity issue.

  • Comment Link Guest Saturday, 22 September 2012 02:18 posted by Guest

    Guest said in April 2010,:

    Guest said in April 2010, "...hopefully if you have children with your EX then your heart won't be hardened too much that it is transferred to your kids. The one area I will comment on that I disagree with and that is with the EX's family. I have found that those that loved me and have built a honest relationship with me did not abandon me..."

    Perhaps I misread/missed if OP said if there are children. I am wondering if OP's EX's family are like my former in-laws/extended family... Feigning spirituality yet hypocritically religious people who attend church regularly who do not practice what they preach...

    My EX chose to leave after 22+ years of what I thought was a happy marriage---EX's method of communicating his unilateral decision to divorce me was that he left a letter for me on the kitchen counter informing me that he had already filed the divorce papers for "incompatibility" the week before, EX claimed he wasn't happy with my housekeeping, then I found out during the divorce process via a private investigator that EX had 2 girlfriends--one for 14 yrs, the other for 3 yrs--and had been hiding assets from me for 8 years, all the stuff of huge trauma/betrayal. He moved in with GF#2. Scorned GF#1 got angry with him, called me to tattle and asked me to agree to allow her to testify against him in court in favor of me. Yes, I feel like I've been living a bad made-for-TV movie. When the EX and I married, he told me I would never have to worry about infidelity because he saw what harm and hurt his mother experienced from his father's affairs. I believed him and trusted him. There were no indications that he was following in his father's footsteps. My therapist's diagnosis of the EX is sociopath with narcissistic personality disorder. My diagnosis is post-traumatic stress disorder with secondary anxiety and depression. But I digress...

    Blood being thicker than water, EX's family, not me, chose to cut communication. They never bothered to visit or call to check on me. It was as if I lost my husband plus my extended family; people I had known/loved HALF my life... people I THOUGHT genuinely loved me.

    I was profoundly devastated by all the trauma and betrayal of the EX. I was deeply hurt by EX's family's lack of care/compassion. And when my elderly father died during the divorce ordeal, the EX and his family did NOTHING in my or my son's direction. It hasn't been my "hardened heart" that my son has witnessed. He has seen/experienced the insensitive hypocritical behaviors of his paternal grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins. OH, and my son actually found out about the the GFs independently of me, as I had been advised by my church minister and my therapist to not disparage dad, even though dad deserved it. Son ironically/accidentally discovered pictures on his dad's camera that he borrowed, with dad's permission, to copy pictures from a hunting & fishing trip. Son is 21 yrs old and divorce was finalized a few months ago, after over 18 months. IMHO, people who say that young adults are not affected/harmed by divorce are WRONG.

    Ultimately, I grew a backbone and countersued on the grounds of marital misconduct/adultery. My son tells me he is proud of me and that he is angry with his dad and that he feels uncomfortable with dad's side of the family.

    Perhaps the OP has had a similar experience with her EX and his family, hence her truth. Had my EX handled things in a half-way humane/decent manner, perhaps my son and I would have faired better through the devastating life-altering event of having our family destroyed. Clearly my EX is a PRODUCT of his family of origin, but EX had free will to make his behavioral choices that have had far-reaching serious consequences. God-willing, my son with fare better from having at least one parent who took the marriage covenant/vows seriously.

    So, for me, the OP's advice of cutting off contact/communication with the EX and EX's family seems perfectly appropriate. In my own life, I no longer want nor do I need THEIR kind of love. That's my release of hurt and anger. That's my forgiveness, as I'm focused on being a good mom and love/support my son in whatever decision Son makes on how/if he decides to have a relationship with his father, GirlFriend#2, and that side of the family. So far, Son seldom sees his father because his father makes very little effort. Son dislikes the GF but has attempted to be polite even though the GF has disparaged me. The extended family continues to show Son that they don't care.

  • Comment Link Guest Tuesday, 03 July 2012 21:15 posted by Guest

    12 Hard Truths: This really brought it home for me. The words are blunt and more helpful than any other advice I've seen or been given. I have printed it out and keeping it in my wallet to view often. Thank you.

  • Comment Link Guest Friday, 16 April 2010 15:47 posted by Guest

    12 Hard Truths: Thank you for your insights on 12 of the many things you've learned in your divorce. Sadly, these truths are your reality and hopefully if you have children with your EX then your heart won't be hardened too much that it is transferred to your kids.

    The one area I will comment on that I disagree with and that is with the EX's family. I have found that those that loved me and have built a honest relationship with me did not abandon me when my EX decided to divorce. Each of them that wanted me in their lives have told me so and we've maintained a relationship regardless of what his choices were. Even more so having a decent relationship if there are kids involved.

    As much as divorce hurts and disappoints, it's just as harmful to hold on to regret, anger and unforgiveness.

    Hope the best for you and your family.