Ask Will anything about divorce

 

Will Limón, MSW is an internationally-published author.  He has been a facilitator of the Fisher Rebuilding Seminar for 20 years and a teacher of relationship skills for almost 30 years.  Send him questions about your divorce situation.  He’ll help you get insights into the divorce process and how to heal from relationship loss.  Post your question in the comment field. 

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4 Comments

  1. Melanie Green
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    My exhusband is still very bitter towards me & controlling, despite the fact it’s been over five years and he’s been remarried for three years. He refuses to parent w/me, refuses to pay correct amount of child support, continuely threatins to take custody away. Not to mention he married someone who doesn’t have any children and doesn’t want children. My daughter was eleven and son nine at seperation. They are seventeen and fifteen now and I feel like I’m running out of time. I knew my ex would make it as hard as possible for me because of divorce, but prayed he would be over his bitterness by now. I truely think he would be easier to parent with and more willing toget along with, if it was not for his new wife. She tells my kids they are a strain on her marriage. She tells them she doesn’t have to let them eat her food or use the washer and dryer. I know she can make any rules she wants, but she is not putting my kids needs or feelings before hers. She told me before they married that all their decsions they made as a married couple, wouldn’t be the best for my kids. She didn’t lie. Any advice you have would be appreciated!

  2. Will Limon
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Dear Melanie,

    Yours is a difficult and, unfortunately, not an uncommon situation. It would be nice if divorce ended with the decree. But, it’s the emotional part of the process that’s hard, and that can linger for a long time. Some things to consider:
    1) As you know, the most important relationships are with your kids. You need to be sure they get what they need and that they’re not exposed to abuse and neglect at the other house. If you suspect that, suspend their time there or, if necessary, get social services to look into it.
    2) The kids are old enough to decide whether they want to visit their father in that home environment. Allow them to ask for alternatives – seeing their father for the day away from his wife, etc., or at least limiting the amount of time spent there. If they decide not to go, that’s his consequence.
    3) Reinforce to the children that they are lovable and worthy. They’ll see the difference in how you treat them and what their father and stepmother do, and they’ll make the right inferences as to who has problems.
    4) Document his lack of proper child support. Enforce this through social services if you must. This will sabotage his claims about getting custody.
    5) Get the adult support you need. It’s not easy raising two teenagers. Join a parenting group, get involved in Parents Without Partners, find a resource at your kid’s school or through a church or social services group.

    Good luck to you. It takes courage to do what you’re doing. Celebrate yourself!
    Will Limon, MSW

  3. Michelle Burkhardt
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    After finding out that my husband of 20 years was having an affair with a co-worker, I did everything I thought possible to make him “fall back in love with me.” He made it clear there was no chance for us, and I was devastated. After going through many of the normal reactions I’ve since read about (large amount of weight loss, depression, no sleep, inability to concentrate, etc.) I began to feel I couldn’t even parent my children, and I moved out. One night the other woman’s husband and I “found each other” and exposed their continuing affair. We were told that our respective marriages were over, and we turned to each other for comfort. This rebound quickly led to a relationship, sex, and us moving in together. I poured all of the energy I could into the new relationship, trying to forget and get over my previous marriage, and I became a happier parent as I had something else to keep my mind off of my sadness. Now, 2 years later, I am already married to this man. We obviously have challenges in our relationship due to the connection with our ex-spouses, and the “stepchildren” are with each other 100 percent of the time, since the parents have basically switched spouses. However, my biggest challenge is getting over my divorce, and hiding the fact that I’m doing that. I still see and imagine my life with my first husband, who I always considered the best friend I ever had and ever would have. I went into the new marriage knowing I was doing the wrong thing, but thinking that if I didn’t do this, I would completely fall apart without the distraction of a new relationship. I have even been afraid to tell my counselor, because I have needed to keep up the facade that my new marriage was the right thing to do. I guess I would like some direction in getting past my former relationship, so that I can work on my new marriage. I have also never read or heard of another relationship such as ours working out… I’d be interested to know if we’re as weird as I think we are.

  4. Will Limon, MSW
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Dear Michelle,

    The only way out of your dilemma is rigorous honesty – first, with yourself, then appropriately with others. Sharing this with me indicates you are beginning to open up to the reality of your situation. You must, however, walk the whole path.

    Take heart. There are specific steps to healing from a past love-relationship. Dr. Bruce Fisher’s rebuilding blocks as described on DivorceSeminarCenter.com will give you the steps you need to take. I’ve had participants in my Rebuilding Seminars (based on Dr. Fisher’s work) take the seminar successfully for previous marriages even though they were already in another relationship.

    The first step right now is for you to be honest with your therapist so that person can help you. Your work here can help you separate the leftover hopes and dreams you had in the old marriage from the reality that it is over and will not resume. As you heal and let go, the reality of your present marriage will become more apparent. These must be faced also. At some point it will be helpful (with the assistance of your therapist) to bring your current spouse into this process. The honesty and integrity with which you deal with your life is the most fertile ground for building true intimacy and connection with your present husband. Secrets erode trust and sabotage the love you’d like in your life.

    When you’ve let go of the past and see the present for what it is, you can then plan for your future. This process is the best path for you and your children as it will bring forth the necessary authenticity out of which healthy relationships are built. All this will challenge you to learn new skills and be a better person, partner and parent. That is the best reward for you regardless of how this all turns out.

    Thank you for your courage to reach out. Best of luck to you in this challenge.

    Will Limon, MSW


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