What To Do When The Alimony Runs Out
by Dear DDD

Dear DDD,

After many years of being divorced, I am once again finding myself in a state of emotional distress. Why am I feeling like this? Well, my alimony has run its course and very soon will end.

After my divorce was final I had to make a decision to either stay at home with my children or as many of my friends told me to do, “Get a job.”   My alimony supported me to stay home and raise my children, so why would I go back to work? I loved being a stay at home mom, raising my children and being involved in their lives. The decision was made; I was staying home with my children.

Fast forward twelve years, my alimony ends in a few months and I am totally screwed. I raised three amazing children and I have not one bit of regret for making the decision to be a stay at home mom.

Why did I wait so long to worry about this? I guess I was busy raising my children and never thought the day would come. I’m finally at the place that parents wait for, I’m going to be an empty nester, no kids at home and finally I can concentrate on me. I shouldn’t have to be thinking about starting a career now. Not my reality! I needed to figure out my plan B that would enable me to pay my half of college tuitions, my mortgage, bills and to support myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been really fortunate that my Ex supported our children and me for so many years but know I need to figure out what I am going to do, and do it quickly. Time has gone by so fast; I never thought the day would ever come when the money would run dry.

The first thing I needed to do was to put together my résumé. The résumé process was just great! All of my accomplishments were based on a career I had 24 years ago, running a household and family, fundraising and running events at my children’s schools. Not to promising!

Interview after interview, and competing against fresh new college graduates, by no surprise I never got a job. I was ready to jump!

Who was I kidding, the thought of sitting in traffic, working for someone else and helping to make them rich made me want to vomit. I thought about starting a business but I didn’t have the money to invest.

Month after month went by with no results. What did I do? I kept telling myself everything was going to be ok, and avoiding how bad my situation really was. I was hoping for a miraculous miracle to make everything better.

Finally, my prayers were answered. I got a call from a college friend who wanted to meet me for coffee and to tell me about her new business. I really didn’t want to go and listen to another friends success story, great life and amazing career while I am literally struggling to make ends meet but after much deliberation, I decided to go. What did I have to lose; maybe she would offer me a job.

I walked into Starbucks searching for my friend and finally made eye contact with her. I couldn’t believe how amazing she looked, She had lost weight, her skin was glowing and she had a complete look of confidence. We chatted for a few minutes and then came the dreaded question. “So, how are you?” I was really embarrassed and hesitant to tell her about my situation and changed the subject as quickly as possible. She got the hint that I was not too willing to tell her so she turned the topic to herself. She told me that she recently quit her job. The long hours, getting home when her children were sleeping, the constant worry about her job stability and never having enough money at the end of the month was taking a toll on her. I was shocked to hear this, she was the woman I always admired; I thought her life was so perfect. She had a successful career, she was a working mother with four children, and she was the super mom that managed everything in her life. Deep down inside I was always jealous of her success.

About a year ago she started her own global health and wellness business, working part-time from home and along side of her work commitment. She recently quit her job because the money she was making working 10 hours a week had outnumbered the money she earned at the job that was killing her mentally and financially. She couldn’t stress enough that she had finally reached true success in her life. She was building a global home-based business that revolved around her family and life and finally reached financial freedom.

“WOW, tell me more.” My ears were like sponges. My friend started a Virtual Health and Wellness Business. Hmm.. What is this all about? She told me, “ It’s a 37-year-old modern-day network marketing company with over 250 products that are pure safe and beneficial,” meaning there are no nasty chemicals or byproducts in any of their products. After 15 minutes of listening to her outline her business, how she teaches and trains other friends to start their own business, about companies compensation plan, Mercedes-Benz incentive program, trips and so much more, I was really intrigued. What really got me was when she asked me, “If you continue doing what you are doing now, where will you be in five years?” Wow! That was the million-dollar question that really got my lazy mind thinking.

I was taking it all in and before she could say another word, I told her, “ I’m in!” What did I have to lose? I can start my business and if she could do it, I can do it!! I wanted what she had plus I knew the network marketing industry was booming. I had nothing to lose at this point of my life but everything to gain.

Three months ago I was in the worst situation of my life and now I am growing my own global business. In 2 months I became an Area Manager and I have shared this opportunity with my family, friends, and strangers in other states and countries.  I am growing my network of business partners, working part-time and from my home. I teach and train others how to start their business and build their organization of business partners so they too can earn an extra income, have a plan B and fulfill their dreams. For the first time in my life I am able to support myself, and I am doing it without my EX’s alimony check. I am working my way to the top of this company so I can have success, financial freedom, travel and do all the things that an Empty Nester dreams of doing.

If I didn’t meet my friend for coffee that day, I would still be complaining about my situation. Meeting her for coffee was the best decision I ever made. I am truly thankful to her for sharing with me this amazing opportunity. If I can do it, you can do it!

 

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I’m Having an Identity Crisis
by Dear DDD

Dear DDD,

I am so excited! I finally made the decision to go back to my maiden name. I have wanted to do this for years but my attorney advised me to wait until my children were older. As my children grew up, the thought of doing this was always on my mind but something always held me back – somehow the time never felt right. Well, here I am: a child in college, another heading to college and my youngest in high school. I now have three older children and I am ready for the change.

Recently a friend asked me why I never changed my name and I explained all the reasons of why I didn’t; After that conversation I really started to think about this, and I thought long and hard about this process. The time never felt right for me to do this. The most important reason I have not changed my name is because of my three children.

This is not an easy process. Once the court approves, here’s my name-change To Do list: change my name on countless documents, tell every one of the name change, which includes schools, sports organizations, associations, doctors, health care providers, postal service, insurance companies, the DMV, passport agency, social security card, bank accounts… the list goes on but I can tell you this – it’s time consuming.

Whenever I started to feel I had the guts to finally do this, something always stopped me. But now I’m ready, and right this moment the time feels right. It is time for me to go back to my identity. My identity before I married my EX.

My EX and his new wife and I live in the same town and I’m tired of being the third wheel. Tired of people asking me if I’m related to my EX and his wife. Finally I will have my identity back!

Once I made this decision I immediately called an attorney friend to ask for help.  She was happy to hear the news and offered to prepare the paperwork to get the process rolling. The next step was to set  an appointment to discuss the paper work and the court filing.

The night before my appointment, my youngest child and I went out for dinner and during our dinner conversation I casually mentioned that I was changing my name.

“I’m really happy I am meeting with an attorney tomorrow to change my name.” And then the conversation went quiet.

It’s like pulling a tooth to have a conversation with a teenager.

“How was school today?” No comment.

“How is your dinner?” Again, no comment.

“Honey, is something bothering you?”

As I was chatting away, my child stared at me with a look of disappointment.

“What’s wrong?”

“Mom, I can’t believe you are doing this. What is going to happen to us?”

“What do you mean?”

“Mom, how can you change your last name? You won’t be part of our family if you change your last name.”

“Of course I am going to be part of your family, nothing is going to happen to you, I am changing my name and you will continue to have your last name. I changed my name when I married your father, we have been divorced for a long time and his last name is not who I am anymore.”

“Mom, when we go to visit your family, we will always be the ones left out, not feeling like we are family because the three of us will have a different last name. We are never with Daddy, we are always with you but now our family will change. Our last name is who we are; it’s our family name. The four of us share this last name and our last name identifies us. It will be awkward for me to explain to my friends why you have a different last name.”

Shit! I wasn’t expecting this response. Thank God I casually mentioned this at our dinner. I feel horrible and it never crossed my mind to sit down with my children to discuss this. I just assumed everyone would be okay with my decision.

I was caught off guard – I never thought my children would be upset if I changed my last name but boy oh boy was I wrong.  Now I’m confronted  with the sad rejected face sitting across from me.

“I am so sorry, I never thought this would be so upsetting to you. I should have discussed this with you before I made my decision. I completely understand how you feel and changing my name can wait for a later time.”

Damn it! Well, maybe I can add my maiden name to my existing name – put a hyphen between my married name and maiden name…? NO it’s not the same. I want complete independence. If I am going to make this change I want it done right.

My children have been faced with so many obstacles and disappointments from this divorce. I have always been the parent lifting them up when they are down, the parent protecting them; the parent that has made decisions with an outcome that benefits all of us. I can’t let them down now. I just can’t move forward with this name change knowing how disappointed my children would be.

For now, I am sticking with my EX’s last name and maybe someday soon my identity independence will come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get Over It!
by Dear DDD

Dear DDD,

“For God’s sake, GET OVER IT!!”

NO, NO, PLEASE tell me she did not say that to me. Again.

Yep, she did say it again.

But that was the third and final time she will ever say those words to me…

I went to New York this weekend for my niece’s engagement party. It’s always great to go home to see family but it doesn’t take long before tension starts brewing; mouths start moving and comments suddenly shoot across the room.

Family – you have to love them but at times you want to kill them.

My mother, sisters-in-law and my nieces met for a girls’ lunch and I thought, what a great way to start the celebration weekend! I was surrounded by everyone I love, all my favorite woman, great conversation, amazing food and too many glasses of sangria. I was starting to feel a bit tipsy, my words were slurring and jet lag was setting in.

When out of nowhere…

“So I hear your EX is in town this weekend. He said he may stop by the party.”

Umm… did I just hear someone say, my EX may stop by my niece’s engagement party?!

“Excuse me?” I managed to utter before choking on a piece of apple from the sangria, getting the Heimlich from a friend and spitting fruit wine all over my youngest niece. Nice.

“Who told you this?”

My sister-in-law casually said, “Now, now, don’t get your panties in a ruffle. Your EX emailed me last week congratulating me on my daughter’s engagement. He mentioned he was going to be in New York this week and said he may stay the weekend. He said if he was still in town he would like to stop by the party to say hi, so… I told him to stop by.”

You did what?

Then they came… the words that she has said to me twice before – after which I had promised myself that if I ever heard this from her again, I would grab her by her neck and choke her like a chicken.

“Oh, get over it already.”

Suddenly, the happy, loud, drunken group froze. Tension filled the room and slowly, one by one, every woman there had to “use the ladies room.”

So, I didn’t choke her but I did unleash a bit of built up rage:

“I AM over it and I’m sick of you saying that to me. He’d better not show his face this weekend. How dare he and HOW DARE YOU for not thinking about my feelings.”

My sister-in-law’s shock lasted only a moment before she responded, “Well it’s true. It’s been a long time and you need to get over it. I would love to see him.”

WTF?! I can’t believe the nerve of my EX – how dare he invite himself to my family’s party? When we were first divorced, my miserable ex-father-in-law forbade everyone in his family from ever speaking to me again – and if they did, they would pay a price. From that day forward, I never heard from anyone in his family. My EX hates my family! He says mean and degrading things about them constantly and now my pompous ass EX wants to stop by the party?!

Again, I implore you… WTF?

Well, here’s my answer to that:

Over my dead body will he casually stop by. When my EX and I have to be in each other’s company for our children I always take the high road and I try my hardest to be nice. Being invited to any events for my family is crossing the line.

If my EX did show up, my family would be courteous to him, avoiding confrontation and would go out of their way to make him feel comfortable.

Why would my family want to be nice to a person who made me go through hell? How quickly everyone forgot the mean things he did to me, the mean comments he made, the mean wishes he wished (like wanting me dead in a gutter).

I am over it! But this doesn’t mean I will ever forget. Saying those words to me was like a slap in my face. What about my feelings, and what about family loyalty? I don’t want to be friends with my EX; I don’t even want to be in the same room with him unless it’s absolutely necessary.

It is mind-boggling to think my EX wanted to come to my family’s event but maybe in his mind, he knew showing up at that party would bother me, make me feel uncomfortable and ruin my night. Was this his agenda? To rub his popularity among my family in my face, and to make me look like the crazy scorned ex-wife that “can’t get over it?”

It was clear that no one in the group understood why I was so irate. My mother rolled her eyes and sent me dirty looks from across the table to deter me from any confrontation. I was obviously the bad seed that ruined our lunch, all because I didn’t let my sister-in-law’s comments go in one ear and out the other.

Enough is enough!!

I calmly stood up, walked over to my sister-in-law, grabbed her as if I was going to kiss her good-bye, and whispered into her ear, “It’s him or me. And if you ever say “Get over it” to me again, then those will be the last words you and I ever speak to each other. Am I making myself clear? Great! So, ‘Get over it!!’”

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A TEENAGE GIRL’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING VALENTINE’S DAY
by Dear DDD

Dear DDD,

This morning a friend sent me a copy of an article her teenage daughter wrote for her school newspaper.

Young or old, we all get caught up in Cupid’s sweet madness, hoping for that special someone to bring us candy or flowers or just to hear them say, “I love you.”

Unfortunately, that pain-in-the-ass cupid needs more target practice and when his arrow does pass us by we need a back up plan – so here is Jessica Romoff’s Singles Guide to Surviving Valentine’s Day.

1. See “50 Shades of Grey” in theatres
Make sure to sit next to a couple. Continually comment on how awkward the movie is: out loud.

2. Go get sushi
Make up awkward scenarios involving all the couples around you.

3. Watch “Twilight”
Analyze how creepy Edward is. Thank god you’re not in a relationship.

4. Photo-bomb couple pictures
Go to the promenade, it will be flooding with awkward middle school relationships: your ideal victims.

5. Post pictures on Instagram
Inform all of your insta followers of the romantic date you and your In-N-Out burger are on.

6. Go see a good 70s horror film
The Amityville Horror. The Omen. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Remind yourself what happens when relationships go wrong.

7. Buy the last of the Valentine’s Day chocolates
​Make sure that the last minute people rushing to get their lover a present have nothing.

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Happy Valentine’s Day
by Dear DDD

valentines day

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