Anyone who has ever gone through a divorce has at one point or another (probably more than once, maybe ongoing) felt that sickening feeling of hopelessness and frustration by the way their ex is acting.
One month, he just decides he's not paying child support, another month, she won't answer your texts, emails or phone calls regarding an issue with the kids, and the worst feeling of all, you receive your monthly attorney bill, (that you can't afford) when your case is no further along than it was a year ago.
It's exhausting. It's maddeningly frustrating. It wakes you up at 4:30 in the morning, unable to sleep because you are so worried and your options seem to be down to two things: do nothing and remain unhappy, or spend more money on attorneys and remain unhappy.
Here are the five things that I believe would drive any divorced man or woman absolutely crazy:
1. Non-communication: It's very typical of a lot of men and women to stay angry about their divorce for a long time, sometimes forever. So, they decide to act like a third grader and just not speak to you. They don't return your calls, emails or texts regarding things that have to do with the kids, even something as simple as a scheduling conflict. They decide they are "burning you" or "sticking it to you" by not responding. Who they are really sticking it to is their kids. There's really nothing you can do, except tell you attorney, which only means spending more money with no result. (I'm not bashing divorce attorneys, by the way. I'm just stating that the money you spend is more than what you will get as a result of making things a legal issue.)
2. Nickel and diming: I am constantly amazed at men and women who make in excess of $200,000 a year, and who still count every single penny when it comes to splitting kids expenses. One of my friends (whose husband is in that category) got an email from her ex that she owed him 82 cents. I swear I'm not kidding. The nickel and diming is really disgusting to me.
3. Being rude and angry in front of the kids: This is by far the worst one. Why do adults put themselves and their emotions ahead of their children?? Even more so, why can't people let their anger and resentment go? Do you hold onto it forever? I just don't get it. It's so sad to me and knowing it's hurting children drives me insane, because they do feel it. The fact that one of their parents hates the other is embedded in their core, and strikes at their hearts, and they will feel that for the rest of their lives. So, people, get over it! Think of your kids, not yourself.
4. Acting like their job is more important than yours: This comes down to just being plain old self-centered, and not having the ability to see that your spouse has a job, too. We are all trying to make money and do our jobs to the best of our abilities. Is one person's job more important than the other's because he or she makes more money? Absolutely not.
5. Attorneys fees: This is still is a raw subject for me, in that there was a time when every month, I would receive a bill, and I look at it and I think, 'This is money I could be putting away for college.' Instead, it's being spent because my ex and I can't agree on things, and we have to use attorneys to have our conversations. Again, I am not faulting attorneys. The attorneys are just doing their jobs. But, if people could put their emotions aside, and think of the kids, the divorce attorney business would barely even exist. And that's the way it should be. But the reality is, divorce attorneys clean up because of people's anger and emotions.
In closing, here's the positive spin on this VERY NEGATIVE article. Even with all the aggravation, being divorced is still better than being married to the wrong person. The gifts of being divorced are freedom, peace, less conflict, and the opportunity for a better, happier life ahead. And the biggest one, a better life for the kids, because as much as the two divorced people are at odds, the kids would probably be a lot worse off if the two were still married and living together.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of the blog, Divorced Girl Smiling. She is also the author of the comedic novel, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE about life after divorce. Ms. Pilossoph is a weekly business features reporter and columnist for Sun-Times Media. She lives in Chicago with her two kids. And she's divorced (obviously.)