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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » I'm 23, been married for four years, and I'm getting a divorce. (Page 1)

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Author Topic: I'm 23, been married for four years, and I'm getting a divorce.
When Your Mind's Made Up
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I'm 23, been married for four years, and am getting a divorce from my wife. (Is this the right place for a thread like this?) Yes, I am getting counseling, and just for the benefit of anyone out there reading this, she's the third counselor I've seen in my life and she's way, way, by far my favorite of the three. I always look forward to seeing her.

So even though I'm a bit older than most of the users here, I thought I'd post this. I have two very good friends and family members that I'm turning to for support, but they're a few hundreds of miles away, so we've been communicating via email. Actually, in the process of reading some of the threads here, I got to feeling a bit better, so I don't actually have that much to say at the moment! But if it's quite all right with you all, I'll leave this post here for when I might want to say more.

I feel a little silly coming here. I'm going through a divorce; breaking up after a four-year relationship. People come here all the time to vent or get help after breakups; mine isn't that different from lots of other people's breakups. I know it just takes time. But... it's just hard. Thanks for reading. You all are rockstars for doing what you do at Scarleteen.

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Cian
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I'm sorry to hear you're going through such hard time. I doubt ending relationships we find significant is ever easy and yes, it'll likely take time for it to feel better. I'm sure it's fine for you to return here to share your feelings and seek support. I have personally found Scarleteen the safest place on the internet to express difficult feelings, without any fear of ridicule or someone harassing you for your experiences, something I've faced elsewhere when sharing thoughts that were very difficult for me. Hope you find Scarleteen just as good for you to safely express your difficult feelings and thoughts!
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When Your Mind's Made Up
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Having Thanksgiving break with my folks... doing better than expected.
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Heather
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Just FYI? Our primary userbase tends to range in age from around 15 to 25. So, you're in good company with plenty of our users, not outside our intended age range. [Smile]

How can we best support you right now?

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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To answer your question, Heather: I have no earthly idea. I want someone, anyone, to swoop along and say something to me or hug me just right so that everything will stop and all my pain will go away. Thus far, no luck.
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Heather
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Well, what's your own support network like? Do you have friends and family you're leaning on for care and support?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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I got onto an online dating site to fight off the lonelies, with the caveat that I'd be casual, so as not to fly into a rebound relationship. And that's definitely been a source of comfort; I've been spending lots of time with this one girl I met online. I was feeling so good that I thought I was getting over all this, but I'm acting like the divorced zombie boy again. (By which I mean I've spent a lot of time this weekend sleeping and staring into space.)

This girl I've started seeing, she just sent me this text: "Your life isn't falling apart! It's changing direction, and in my opinion for the better. Let it. Grow and explore yourself. Because you haven't been doing very much of that. This divorce is the best thing that's ever happened to you and you just don't know it yet." So you see, I've met a very good friend.

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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My own immediate family: loves me, doesn't know me very well at all. They try, but I'm not too inclined to confide much in any of them.

My wife's family: closer to me than my own. But her mom, in particular, feels like she can't be a source of support for me when Kate (my soon-to-be ex-wife) is furious and hurting over me.

Both of these groups live hundreds of miles away.

Here in NOLA, I've got a few people. Just not enough. The one couple I'd really been hanging out with and talking to, they just seem kind of stressed lately, and I don't want to come knocking at their door if they don't want to see me. Especially given how much I've seen them already. There's one guy I know who I might give a call, though. Hm. I'd forgotten about him.

[ 12-06-2010, 04:13 PM: Message edited by: When Your Mind's Made Up ]

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Heather
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A tip?

Dating is probably not the best choice right now. Ideally, you want to be getting support from people you are not in a romantic or potential romantic relationships with: friends, family, people who also know you well.

If you're thinking of someone brand-new who you're dating as your biggest support right now, and a "very good friend," I'd suggest that might not be so sound, healthy or realistic.

So, gonna ask again: NOT with romances or people you might be dating, but people already in your life who you have other kinds of relationships with -- who of folks like that have you been leaning on for support?

(Also? A big part of being supported well in something like this is getting more than cheerleading. We need to grieve losses, not have them blown off. So, someone presenting a divorce as only something good when we don't feel all good about it is of limited help, but not surprising if that person doesn't know you or your history well and is someone in a dating relationship with you.)

[ 12-06-2010, 04:16 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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Yeah.

I meant to indicate by the phrase "very good friend" that she dispenses very good advice. But yeah. You're probably right.

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Heather
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Going to try this one more time. [Smile]

Friends? Family? Maybe even a counselor or therapist?

Who are you getting support from in relationships where you can really be best supported without the other person having a romantic agenda or feeling of their own?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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If I felt like I had a ton of people to turn to, I might not have jumped into this dating business. But I've asked myself many times just who I have to turn to, and the results are as I summarized above. I've been in this city for a year and a half, but I've managed to stay pretty socially isolated. I can think of three people who I'd feel comfortable crying with, and I'll give them a shot. Two of them are that couple I mentioned earlier, and I have a certain amount of hesitation there. But I suppose I can give it a go.
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Heather
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Gotcha.

So, how about you start by being in more contact with them?

Also, how about some counseling? Counseling can be so helpful during major life transitions. is that something you'd be open to? If so, do you have any health insurance or any public healthcare coverage?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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I'm seeing an excellent counselor. I only didn't mention her because I mention her in the very first post. (But I guess that post was a long time ago.)
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Heather
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Great (sorry I missed that)! Have you talked to her about feeling unsupported? What have her suggestions been for you right now?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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She hasn't offered a ton of suggestions. Her main goal seems to be to get me to understand my behavior, like why I might have been attracted to Kati in particular - what needs I have that she might have met. Usually she asks if I'm eating and sleeping OK, if the meds are giving me any problems - but not so many suggestions.
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When Your Mind's Made Up
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She's much quicker to ask questions than to make statements.
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Heather
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Have you asked her for some?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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Actually, no. That's an idea.

And while I'm waiting for the 120-second window to close (before I can post again) - you've advised me against dating; what then is to be done about this girl I've gotten familiar with? Do you suggest a total, cold-turkey cutoff?

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Heather
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Heh. Sometimes you have to ask for what you need. Often, really. [Smile]

You know, I don't ever see a need to cut off otherwise good relationships that just aren't at the right time or in the right model for us at a given time. Since you seem to like this person, and they you, how about you just ask if you two can't shift to a platonic friendship instead?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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I could do that, though that doesn't sound like any fun at all. That can't be an easy thing to do when there are romantic feelings involved.

Also, just so I can hear it from you, what are the dangers of dating so soon after this breakup of mine?

[ 12-06-2010, 04:48 PM: Message edited by: When Your Mind's Made Up ]

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Heather
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Well, the biggest one is rebounding or inadvertently using someone else for romantic escapism (which they probably wouldn't be so keen on). It's also about not giving yourself the kind of emotional breather you need to process all your feelings about the divorce and the end of this long relationship, rather that just sort of skipping past them, only to have them inevitably resurface later on, often in whatever relationship you jumped to next.

Too, relationships ending tends to give us a lot of information to sit with for a while about what works for us in relationships and doesn't, about what we do and don't want, about what we might need to work on before entering a new one. If we don't take that time, we're less likely to find what we want and need in our next relationships, and more likely to just get stuck in our own patterns.

Did you talk to your counselor about dating now? What did she say?

You know, I'll be frank: dating someone who is just starting a divorce is something where you have got to know that they are so NOT going to be ready for any kind of romance, and it is going to be a LONG HAUL before they are. So, sure, stepping back and saying, "You know, I like you a lot, but I so tried to jump forward to dating before I was anywhere close to the place to do that, so can we try being friends instead?" can be kind of a bummer for a little bit -- but shouldn't be a big one if someone really likes you and also wants whatever relationship is best for you both at a given time -- but it also shouldn't be a shocker to someone dating someone in your position unless she just had no idea what she was getting herself into.

[ 12-06-2010, 04:55 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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She knew my story, and still took me home on our first date. In fact, much of our first date was spent talking about it.

All my counselor has said about this - me dating - thus far is that it seems uncharacteristically fast of me.

The girl - K. - mentions a breakup of her own pretty often. I think she feels a certain amount of "I've been there too" sympathy toward me.

And, to ask an embarrassing question, I suppose "friends" don't hold hands or kiss? Because she actually proposed that we stop having sex until I got clearer about what I wanted; at present we are existing in a hard-to-name, half-friend, half-dating universe, where we don't have sex, but we occasionally make out a bit.

[ 12-06-2010, 07:58 PM: Message edited by: When Your Mind's Made Up ]

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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Ah, "romantic escapism". That is a particularly telling phrase, and one that rings pretty true for me.
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Heather
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I can't tell you what any given friendship is like.

But when I suggest that now is probably not the best time for dating, I'm talking about romance and sex. So, if holding hands and kissing, for you, are about sexual or romantic feelings, then yes.

It also sounds like it's possible that already, this person has suggested making steps towards not being in a romance, or choosing a relationship model that better fits where you're at right now. If what you have still feels confusing, why don't you talk about that and set clearer boundaries together?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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But what's so bad about romantic escapism anyway? Or to ask in a clearer fashion, do you think it's always a bad idea to have relationships that are mostly about sex? For the first time in my life I was experimenting with the idea of having (relatively) casual sex.
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When Your Mind's Made Up
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Actually, on that note, let me go afk for awhile. I've got to go grab something to eat and maybe even study for the exam I have in 45 minutes. I'll come back to this.
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Heather
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Well, I'd say it depends on what you want, especially what you want in a) the relationship you're creating, which doesn't sound casual to me at all and b) from your process of coming out of your divorce.

In other words, with coming out of this, do you want to use some of it in order to better figure out what you want and need, so that you're more likely to get that in your next relationships? Do you want to use some of this to gain more self-awareness and more insight on what you need in relationships?

You don't have to, mind. That's up to you. But with a relationship that long, and a relationship that's that much work and this painful to dissolve, were it me, I'd want to be trying to get as much good stuff as I could from it.

(Caveat: I did NOT know that when I was 23. Learned it the hard way a few times, the hard way for me, the hard way for a couple other people. Just saying that so you don't get the idea that when I was your age I really groked that, because I SO didn't. But then, no one told me about that then, either. If only!)

Also, if on a first date, you are totally unloading something as huge as your divorce, and seeing this person as your primarily emotional support, does that really seem casual to you? We're all going to have different definitions of what that means, obviously, but that doesn't sound like casual sex to me at all. Also, if you're talking about friendship being a bummer because you two have romantic feelings, again, that's not sounding casual.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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OK, agreed, what I've got going with K. is *not* casual. But now that I'm on an online dating site, I do have opportunities to have all kinds of unpredictable sexual liaisons with people I hardly know. (Which, when you put it that way, sounds pretty unsavory). So my stubborn little question is, would that necessarily be a bad idea?

[ 12-06-2010, 07:57 PM: Message edited by: When Your Mind's Made Up ]

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Heather
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That really depends on you: casual sex isn't for everyone, nor is it the right thing for us at every given time or phase of life, or with just any partner.

But I think the big issue with dating right now is that isn't about getting involved in another romantic relationship so soon, both per that level of intimacy and that level of commitment and investment.

Having a lover every now and again, on the other hand, where you're not getting very emotionally involved, investing a lot of time and heart-energy, and not potentially pursuing or creating something long-term is something very different.

Do you feel like you're at a point where you could be casual in that way with someone right now? Could you be involved and sexual without sharing all your deep-darks, looking to turn that into something else, or having a connect with someone that wasn't about getting emotional support?

I would say, though, we probably want to talk a little bit about safety and how to manage that, if you'd like, since it looks like you got married awfully young, so some of what managing those kinds of interchanges entails might be news to you or outside what you've dealt with so far in your life.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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Do I feel like I'm at a point where I could be casual in that way with someone right now?

I really don't know. It would be a first, as you've mentioned. I think I'd like to try. You mentioned "having a connect with someone that wasn't about getting emotional support". And that is a toughie. I am hurting pretty often these days. I mentioned wanting to be held... yeah, it sounds pretty emotional to me.

As far as safety goes, I've stuck with condoms thus far; K., fortunately, is also on birth control.

It's about escapism, I think. I'm trying to escape feeling so damned lonely.

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Heather
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So, what I'm hearing is that it sounds like you might still be a little too raw for this just yet. It sounds to me, also, like you getting emotional support would fill your immediate needs right now better than some sex would.

One thing to also know is that when you're feeling very lonely, casual sex can sometimes make you feel a little less lonely, but sometimes it can actually make you feel a lot MORE lonely, especially after whoever it is you slept with leaves.

Maybe this is something to talk about with your counselor?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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Yeah, probably. I will, don't you worry.
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When Your Mind's Made Up
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Sorry if that sounded snarky. It wasn't really meant to be.
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Heather
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It didn't. It's all good. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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