One of the most therapeutic things to do when getting divorced is to establish a routine. Going about your every-day in the Triad can help you get up in the morning, compartmentalize when necessary, and generally stay moving (even if it is in a zombie-like manner). However, no matter how you try to stick with what you know, there are going to be some people that don’t seem quite the same. Yesterday, when you were married, your interactions with these folks were mundane and average. Today, now that you’re separated, they’re scraping their nails down the chalkboard of your life. Here are a dozen individuals who can drive you batty if you let them:
#1: Your Postal Carrier. You’ve filled out three change of address forms, went to the post office on your knees to beg, and written “Return to Sender” on more envelopes than Elvis had records, but it just keeps coming: Your ex’s mail. With narrowed eyes and Clint Eastwood show-down music playing in your head, you watch your USPS delivery person marching up your walkway with their big canvas bag of emotional damage. And every day, you get a letter with your ex’s name slathered across it – a little reminder of what used to be; another chink in your armor of “normal.” As you try to move forward, the least little thing can set you back – and seeing your husband’s Outdoor magazine or your wife’s Kohl’s coupon will do just nicely. You know your carrier knows your ex doesn’t live here anymore – you know they know because last week you wrote it on your husband’s tax bill in red sharpie and stuffed it in his/her front pocket. But here they come anyway bearing a daily reminder of your pitiful situation. It kind of makes you want to put a cactus in the box, doesn’t it?
#2: Your Mother. I really don’t think this needs further explaining. Just remember – she loves you, she means well, and she controls your inheritance.
#3: The Cashier at the Grocery Store. I’m not referring to any old Food Lion. I mean the one you go to almost daily because it’s a block from your house; the one you run to when you’re making pasta and realize you ran out of parmesan. The employees know your name and what shampoo you use, so they’re going to notice a significant change in your shopping habits. When I got divorced, my cart went from fresh veggies, brown rice, and bottled water to frozen pizza, chocolate frosting, and three bottles of cabernet. Is it me, or is Wilma at Walgreens looking a little judge-y?
#4: Your Best Friend. One might think that a best friend would be a source of emotional support – and they probably are. That doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t irritate the heck out of you in your time of distress. One of three scenarios can play out here:
a. Your best friend was never married, and therefore doesn’t 100% “get it.” She may even be secretly happy you’re breaking up. Maybe she resented your marriage because it meant you were no longer available to hold her hair back at 3:00 a.m. Now her life’s mission is to fix you up to help you “move on.” This is counterproductive to your intense desire to wallow in grief. Conflict ensues.
b. Your best friend is currently married, and happily so. You can’t fully express how you feel for fear of darkening her sunshine. You hold back, worried your litany of gripes will have the same effect Psychology 101 has on a first-year college student – your friend will see all the disorders she never knew her marriage had. While you try to shield her from reality, she sits on her unicorn and harbors hope that the two of you will “work it out.” Because you know, you didn’t try that.
c. Your best friend is also divorced, and now he has an ally! It’s the two of you against the world! When you’re ready to talk about something else, he wants to compare estranged spouses. He got stuck along the way and has let bitterness consume him; now his misery has company, and he’s pretty excited about it. When you start to move forward, he’s clinging to your ankle, begging you to come back.
Numbers 5-8 are headed your way soon!