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Monday, March 14, 2011

Disruption

When I got divorced, I gave my ex everything. I wanted as little disruption as possible for my kids. I had always been the primary breadwinner in the family and my ex wasn't very responsible financially so I felt like I had to do what I could to make this transition super-smooth. I took half the pictures, my books, 2 TVs and one TV stand, my clothes and personal effects. I left everything else in the home where my children would still have their "primary residence" in order to go to school where they'd always gone. I gave my ex, the house and its deduction, all three kids, I pay their medical, dental and vision insurance and expenses as well as child support to their dad even though we both have them half the time. I paid for all their school supplies and new clothes as we separated just before the next school year. I paid for Christmas, too.

I felt obligated to do all of that because it's about my kids and not about my ex. I continued to buy them clothes and shoes and get them haircuts and all sorts of other things throughout the school year and summer last year. I had gotten a promotion just before we separated and a raise just after I moved out in 2009. In 2010, just before the school year started again, I got a 20% pay reduction. I refused to buy everything again. I bought my daughter new clothes to have at my house and his mom bought clothes for all the kids (she gets a lot of hand me downs from friends in NY for them and buys more stuff throughout the year). Now, I am going to have to buy my son a wardrobe for my house as well so his dad doesn't have to send the stuff I already bought him back and forth. Yeah, having a bit of a WTF moment about that, but trying to keep my cool.

Last year, I owed the Federal government $4k in taxes because I was so eager to make things go well for my ex who now gets to claim head of household and all the exemptions/deductions while I had to file single even though my taxes were taken out as a married person the entire year. Yeah. Sucks. Why am I telling you all this? Because when the woman leaves the marriage (and maybe it's true of men, too, but I can only speak from the experience I am privy to), she gives up things that she normally would not. I saw my mom do this when she divorced my dad and my WM (work mom) did the same when she left her ex. Our guilt and desire to just move on makes us do things that consider the other person and not ourselves. And we screw ourselves because of it. Trying not to disrupt the lives of those affected by a divorce any more than they are already going to be because of the life changes associated with divorce does not mean that you should give up things that mean long-term disruption for YOU. Think about the long-term ramifications and not the short-term disruptions!

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