There is much about the free-floating misery of divorce that is public domain knowledge. Like the logistics of the JFK's assassination or the phrasing of the Golden Rule, no one owns the rights on these nuggets of wisdom: divorce will likely make you poorer; custody battles are bad for kids; and rebound relationships generally fizzle when the hot sex cools.
But there is an underbelly of subtler knowledge not-oft referenced that each of us learns bit-by-bit, often with no elders guiding us through its dark valleys. It is time to break the silence.
1.Socks will disappear. Yes, it's a long held truism that socks disappear, the dryer, of course, being the leading suspect. But, Divorce Sock Disappearance occurs at an exponentially greater rate Married Sock Disappearance. No matter how many socks you buy for your kids, once every six weeks you will hear the cry, "There's no socks in my drawer!" As many times as I've asked my kids, "Do you think they might be at your dad's?" and they've answered emphatically, "No," I've pictured a dark backroom in my ex's house. In the center: a mountain of socks of every color and stripe.
2.You will experience anger that will turn you into that Torch character from the Fantastic Four. No matter how sweet, gentle and kind you were before divorce, there will be times after divorce when you will be angrier than you ever thought possible. It would be great if this weren't true, if we could all be peaceful going into that divorce night like little divorcing Dalai Lamas, but it isn't. So, flame on!
3.You will bore your friends. Even if you try not to talk about your divorce too much, you will. And that's if you try. At first, they will be very sympathetic, even interested, maybe even very interested. Then, interest begins to fade. Then, fading quickly. Then, watch for a glazed look in the eyes. And try to change the subject. Ask about your friend maybe?
4.You will be doing more driving than ever. If you thought you were shuttling the
kids around a lot before, get ready to change your address to 1234 Minivan Lane as you add the shuttle between you and your ex's house into your already scheduled routes.
5.Pets are part of the big shakeup too. If you don't have kids, your entire divorce battle might be over the dog, but if you are a parent, it's easy to forget during the whole divorce legal kafuffle that the family pets belong to both of you. And, you just might not be living with your furry friend full time anymore.
6.Your insomnia will qualify you for the Guinness World Records. You'll sleep so little, you'll feel like you're in college -- without the parties, good music, or general sense of purpose.
7.You will avoid acquaintances like they were bill collectors. Of course, all your good friends know ALL about your divorce (See #3), but what about Suzy's piano teacher from the third grade or that woman from Pilates you once chatted with after class? Where's the guidebook for telling them about this mess?
A year or so after my divorce, I ran into a dad from one of my kids' old schools. When he asked, "Hey, how's K. doing?" I paused for a second. Does this guy really want to know that we're divorced? And, what should I say, "Actually..."?
I took a breath and said, "Pretty good!"