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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A Photo Competition With My Ex
by Dear DDD

A Photo Competition with my Ex via @divorcedrama

Dear DDD,

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a picture of your children is priceless. Today, having a cell phone with a camera makes picture-taking, and sharing photos, easier than ever. At any given moment, I am ready; a snap here, a snap there, “Smile,” “Say Cheese,” and I can capture that special moment. My EX and I don’t often see eye to eye, and communication is usually a nightmare, but sharing photos with each other is where we excel in the co-parenting department. We are actually courteous to each other when we are sharing photos of our children. Sharing our photos gives each of us the ability to hold onto the memory of a vacation, special event or a time when our kids were just being silly. For years our photo communication has been great but recently our picture sharing has taken a turn for the worse. (more…)

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When Your Youngest Gets His Drivers License
by Dear DDD

When your youngest gets his drivers license. Why am I feeling so sad? via @divorcedrama

Dear DDD,

My youngest child is out the door this morning excitedly greeting his driving instructor for the first time. I can’t believe my baby is preparing to drive. It feels like yesterday when I desperately chased behind him as he took off on the sidewalks driving his battery operated Hot Wheels truck. As the door shut behind him today, I suddenly felt a feeling of sadness.

Why am I feeling so sad? (more…)

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My Ex’s Demand For The Kids To Have A Cell Phone
by Dear DDD

#DivorceDrama My Ex wants my kids to have cell phones via @divorcedrama
Dear DDD,

Tonight was a girl’s night out with friends. Dinner, a few drinks, and then the conversation really got rolling. Listening to the recent details of everyone’s lives, what their children have been up to and the dilemmas some of us are facing brought to me a sigh of relief. The back and forth chatter enlightened my own daily drama of family, kids, and an EX husband. One conversation that seemed to get a lot of attention was regarding cell phones. Who knew a conversation about cell phones would bring anger, frustration, opinions and a lot of advice.

A newly divorced friend was aggravated that her EX was constantly calling her home looking for their children. (more…)

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Why Do I Still Care About What My Ex Does?
by Dear DDD

Why do I still care what my ex does after #divorce? via @divorcedrama

Dear DDD,

I have been divorced for nine years now and I find myself still upset over my EX’s actions and how it affects my kids. I guess seeing my children’s feelings hurt or seeing them upset will always keep me in this mode of finding fault with my EX and letting him know what an ass he really is. Why do I care about what he does or does not do? His actions will only affect his relationship with his kids, not mine.

Trying to explain over and over again, to this idiot EX of mine, that what he does, the actions he chooses, and how it affects our children is exhausting. Why do I let it drive me crazy? Why? Because I love my kids? Because my EX thinks he is above the law? Because my Ex is a narcissistic pig who thinks he does no wrong? Sometimes I think maybe it’s just me, me trying to prove that I’m right. But here is the crazy thing: in my EX’s eyes, I will never be right. He sees his actions as perfect because no one ever tells him differently. Of course his wife is going to agree with him, because she encourages his bad behavior towards his children and me. The less time spent with his children is the more time spent with her and their family. She sees me as the CRAZY BITCH! His friends will always agree with him because he is not telling them the full story. (more…)

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