Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Getting a divorce? Make peace with change

So many people have traveled the painful path of divorce that an understanding allegiance of divorcees should be easy to find.

Yet instead of finding an axis of exes, I keep finding divorced husbands and wives who are more judgmental than my married friends.

Like I need people to make my decision more difficult?

It has been six months since I asked for a divorce. New problems arise every day, hindsight becomes clearer and you start to realize just how much of yourself you sacrificed. You struggle with your perception of your marriage while you were in it, and your new reality now that you're out.

For anyone out there considering divorce, know that you will struggle with many things.

You'll see relationships fade and sides taken.

You'll watch your ex date someone new and your kids will treat this new person better than you recall being treated.

You'll miss your kids, but you'll learn to enjoy the downtime.

You'll then feel guilty for enjoying that downtime.

You'll hope for civility with your ex, but emotions will flare up and verbal venom will be spewed when you least expect it.

You'll begin to doubt any chance of civility.

You'll see a new side of your ex that makes you wonder if you ever knew your spouse.

You'll begin to piece yourself back together.

You'll resent missing out on this new "you" for all those years.

You'll second-guess your decision because your kids will struggle with a multitude of emotions.

You'll often be the target of their anger and pain. It will hurt.

You'll wonder how divorce will alter your children in the long term.

You'll wonder if you should go back, if just for the kids.

You'll convince yourself that the kids would rather come from a broken home than live in one.

• • •

I'm not condoning divorce. It's a personal choice.

But I don't want myself — or anyone else going through this — to allow another human to make me feel inferior for a decision I believe was ultimately right.

You have to let go of what others will think. Let people choose sides. It saves you the trouble of weeding them out. Trust that your kids will be fine. Life alters all of us. Just be there for them.

Don't let the venom spewed by your ex get to you. Easier said than done, I know. There's a reason you aren't together. And you aren't going to get your spouse's approval at this point.

Be civil and speak kindly of the other parent to the kids. You can only control your actions.

Of course, you'll miss them when they're with the ex, but it's acceptable to enjoy your time without them. Guilt is natural. We're parents. That downtime you get will give you the energy and mind-set to make the best of the time you do have with them.

No more resentment or regret. There's no time for dwelling on what you should've done. All you can do now is take what life has taught you and use it.

If ever there was a time your kids truly need the best of you, it's when you divorce. The best gift you can give your kids is to show them what it means to live a happy life as your authentic self.

So go on. Live again. As you were meant to. You're allowed.

I promise.

Even if the divorcee in the bleachers at the football game holds a different opinion.

Heather Tempesta is a Brandon mother of two sons, 17 and 10, and a daughter, 15.

Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Pride weekend kicks off in St. Petersburg Friday with a free concert hosted by a RuPaul’s Drag Race star, a parade along the downtown waterfront on Saturday and an expanded expo of vendors and art on Sunday in the Grand Central District that ga...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Mom/daughter dynamic feels controlling

Q: I am afraid I may be a controlling mom of my young adult daughter, but we have a dynamic in which she seeks me out often, solicits my advice, and makes me too important in her life. I admit to offering that advice because it is hard for me to draw...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Regretting staying too long in bad romance

Q: I recently broke up with someone after two years. Even though there were things that bothered me while we were together, I would convince myself I was overreacting, he didnít really mean it, etc.Now that itís over, I feel like a fool for not havin...
Published: 06/18/18

Tell Me About It: After years of depression, a diagnosis

Q: Iím 33 and have dealt with depression on and off since my adolescence. I grew up in a household with every kind of abuse you can think of, but I didnít start seeking help until my early 20s via talk therapy, and cut ties entirely with my abusers. ...
Published: 06/17/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 18-24

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 18-24

St. Pete Pride: One of the largest Pride celebration in the Southeast happens this weekend, bringing a rainbow of activities. Things set off on Friday with the free SP2 Concert at North Straub Park, hosted by Coco Montrese of RuPaul’s Drag Race...
Published: 06/15/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Tell Me About It: Pregnancy news confirms estrangement

Q: I just found out my son and his wife are going to be parents. Iím very excited and somewhat confused and a little hurt: Sheís seven months along. I donít know why the long wait to tell me. They live in another state, and I havenít seen them in abo...
Published: 06/15/18

Tell Me About It: Sister must face her poor choices in men

Q: Last night, I received my umpteenth call from my sobbing, devastated sister (mid-20s) over yet another semi-hookup-flirty-thing guy that didnít work out. He is moving away and she found out via an announcement at work, not from him.This is a years...
Published: 06/15/18
High-tech nighttime lagoon show coming to Universal Orlando this summer

High-tech nighttime lagoon show coming to Universal Orlando this summer

A gliding, wraith-like figure of a Dementor from the Harry Potter films enters Central Park, and the exteriors of the surrounding buildings immediately are covered in a layer of ice, a sign of their power to drain happiness out of the air around them...
Published: 06/14/18
Things to do this weekend: Fatherís Day, Maroon 5, The Illusionists, Mr. Rogers film, fireworks at Busch Gardens

Things to do this weekend: Fatherís Day, Maroon 5, The Illusionists, Mr. Rogers film, fireworks at Busch Gardens

HolidayFatherís Day: Sunday brings us a day to honor the guy who cheered us on, called us down and blamed us for his bald spot. Itís Fatherís Day! A number of local attractions are offering free admission for dads if at least one ungrateful progeny t...
Published: 06/14/18

Tell Me About It: Group resists suggestion of sober vacation

Q: I have a friend I have known since high school who has recently been in recovery for drinking. He is about six weeks into an outpatient system and has been doing well. A group of friends including my friend in recovery have been going on two campi...
Published: 06/14/18