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Old 12-13-2012, 12:51 PM   #1
JBurke
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Divorce and the holidays

I am going through a seperation/divorce right now and I am obviously having a hard time with it all.
I want to make Christmas good for the kids (12, 15 and 19) but I find it very hard to be in Christmas spirit when I am sad inside about what is happening to my family.
For those of you who have been through this, any advice for this sad ole Mom?
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:02 PM   #2
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No advise. Just hugs since I am a single mama too.
Hard to have Christmas magic sometimes, but knowing my kids and I are family and are not "broken" helps. I surround myself with good people from church and community (facebook for example) to know I'm not alone.
This Christmas is the first since my divorce 3 years ago that I'm able to see the blessings of the season.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:13 PM   #3
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Been there

Keep your family traditions, and add some new ones. My kids were a bit younger than yours when I got separated and divorced, but we started some new things that continued until they became adults. We made spending time together even more of a priority, which was more difficult as they grew older because of sports, etc., but it was also more fun because of the absence of the tension and fear that had been present in our home before. One of our new traditions was riding bicycles around the neighborhood on Christmas Eve to see the Christmas lights after church early that evening. That was FUN and led to a lot of laughter and visiting with neighbors, etc. After that, we put pajamas on and played games like Trivial Pursuit. Even as teenagers, they enjoyed that. Of course, we continued the photo wearing new PJ's, holding cookies for Santa, sitting on the fireplace with the dogs. Christmas breakfast was a big deal that we were all involved in.

We continued our tradition of each family member buying a silly stocking stuffer for each other, which remained a secret until Christmas morning.

Hang in there. It gets better
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:43 PM   #4
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No advice from me either...just . My DH and I separated for a week recently and I was really thinking we were headed for divorce...I actually really want to go that route, but it is a very intimidating to think about the logistics of it all...who lives where, how we pay for lawyers and fees, how we sell our house, how we divide responsibilities with the kids, how I'd need to get a job, how we deal with the kids' disappointment and feelings about it...etc. And all this happening right before the holidays which is a crazy time already. So, I went against everything in me and allowed DH to come back home. I just don't have it in me to proceed with a divorce right now (we had a heck of a year with DS-15...crazy horrible situation since April that we had just got through and resolved with a lot of time, hard work and money...things were looking up and- bam- my marital issues resurfaced). So, OP, I am so sorry and I know it isn't going to be an easy several weeks. I didn't know how I was going to get through it...and still wonder if I can fake marital bliss while at the family gatherings. It's going to be an awkward Christmas for sure. But, I'll just 'get her done' and pray with everything in me that 2013 will be a better year.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:14 PM   #5
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My two cents - don't worry about being super happy over the holidays, that's too high of a standard right now. Focus on "enjoyable" and staying healthy. Eat well, get some exercise, and address any emotional needs. Spend time with your kids. No toy, boots, game, or iAnything will ever be as valuable as simply spending time with your kids. My only other advice - take the high road. There were some very ugly details in my divorce that I could have used to make XDW (is XDW an acceptable disboard thing?) look very bad. She likely would have lost her job, as would a coworker. I kept them to myself and have to this day. I never did anything that would make me look bad in the eyes of my kids, family, friends, or higher authority. I keep a quote taped to the top of my computer monitor - "It's never the wrong time to do the right thing".
Have a great holiday!
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:22 PM   #6
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I know too many parents who feel so guilty about their divorce that they tend to overcompensate with presents, then the bill hits them in January and they feel even worse. Don't feel the need to compete, either. Just enjoy the time you spend together. I agree that now is a great time to start some new traditions.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:39 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=dominiondad;46917853]My two cents - don't worry about being super happy over the holidays, that's too high of a standard right now. Focus on "enjoyable" and staying healthy. Eat well, get some exercise, and address any emotional needs. Spend time with your kids. No toy, boots, game, or iAnything will ever be as valuable as simply spending time with your kids. My only other advice - take the high road. There were some very ugly details in my divorce that I could have used to make XDW (is XDW an acceptable disboard thing?) look very bad. She likely would have lost her job, as would a coworker. I kept them to myself and have to this day. I never did anything that would make me look bad in the eyes of my kids, family, friends, or higher authority. I keep a quote taped to the top of my computer monitor - "It's never the wrong time to do the right thing".
Have a great holiday![/Q

Thank you for the great quote. I do find it VERY hard to live by those words a lot. Sometimes when I'm in the shower to shout out all the things I really want to say!
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:33 PM   #8
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I'm going through this right now as well- my ds (15) and I moved into our own place the weekend after Thanksgiving. It was a hard decision, and this time of year make it worse, but we are both very relaxed and happy in our new home. We got unpacked and put up a tree... My mother in law asked me what goes in that corner when the tree isn't there and I laughed and said, "I have NO idea!" I'm sad that my marriage didn't work out the way I always thought it would, but I'm determined to not let my disappointment and hurt negatively effect the holidays.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:53 AM   #9
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I am sorry you are going through this. The first week of December eight years ago, my wife (now ex) took off with her trainer at the gym. I know, it sounds like a bad movie. She left me and our two small children, five and three yrs old. It was very hard to get in the Christmas spirit. I finally came around and did my best for my kids.

I hate to say it, but Christmas this year will likely not be the special event you have celebrated in the past. With that in mind, you may want to do something a little un-traditional for your family. Maybe take a trip instead of buying presents.

Good luck. I will not lie to you, there are tough days ahead... but there are also better days ahead. Fast forward in my life -- I remarried, have custody of my two older children, and have three more now. My older kids adore their younger sisters and brother. We aren't a traditional family, but we love each other and we do the best we can.
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dominiondad View Post
My two cents - don't worry about being super happy over the holidays, that's too high of a standard right now. Focus on "enjoyable" and staying healthy. Eat well, get some exercise, and address any emotional needs. Spend time with your kids. No toy, boots, game, or iAnything will ever be as valuable as simply spending time with your kids. My only other advice - take the high road. There were some very ugly details in my divorce that I could have used to make XDW (is XDW an acceptable disboard thing?) look very bad. She likely would have lost her job, as would a coworker. I kept them to myself and have to this day. I never did anything that would make me look bad in the eyes of my kids, family, friends, or higher authority. I keep a quote taped to the top of my computer monitor - "It's never the wrong time to do the right thing".
Have a great holiday!
Very good advice. I chose not to make comments about my ex in front of my children. She chose the other route and would make statements that were completely false about me. The only thing it did was create resentment towards her from my children.

I decided not to be vindictive. I figured that the best revenge I could have was to live a full life. We started traveling a lot more, I would take the kids out of class to go to a museum or zoo, etc. It drove my ex nuts as she couldn't travel. Apparently fitness trainers don't rake in the cash. Initially I took some pleasure in this, but quickly I became indifferent. I was enjoying my family and couldn't have cared less about her.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:25 AM   #11
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Good for you bigredbill!

I have always loved that saying "The best revenge is living well".

We have a friend who divorced a woman who chose to do nothing to mitigate her mental issues, and there are many.

He is dating a lovely person who is good to him and his family. he is alovely gentleman who deserves happiness because he spent many difficult years staying with his wife in order to protect his children.

She is bitter and alone. Her children want little to do with her because of her unchecked mental issues and while they sympathize with her, at this point they all feel as if she doesn't care because she is doing nothing to help herself and there is only so long one can tolerate that kind of nasty unpredictable behavior.

Very sad....
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:59 AM   #12
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OP I know exactly how you feel. My now ex left in October so that 1st Christmas was rough. Every year they have become easier and easier and now I enjoy them maybe even more than I did when I was still married. We still have a few of the "old" traditions but in the last 5+ years we've added in new ones that have really become special to us.

It's hard to not dwell on the past/what was/what isn't but just know it will get better. For this holiday just focus on what is "right' rather than what is "wrong" That was one of the best pieces of advice I was given. It has helped me get through so many rough spots.

One day you'll look back on this and realize that not only are you ok but you are probably even better than you could have imagined. Take it 1 min/hour/day at a time.
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