In an ideal world, all marriages would thrive, we’d procreate the optimum 2.2 children and alongside them, rear uber-obedient companion dogs that the children would walk every day after they’d done homework and a handful of chores.
The children would grow well, flourish in their educative years and contribute to their local communities via the voluntary sector and as a nuclear unit you’d watch reruns of the Waltons on Sunday afternoons and you’d hum the theme tune as the kids did the washing up and you sat and read a book…
Or maybe, they’d have the odd divorce to contend with and perhaps a remarriage to work into their emotional schedule and life would be a little trickier.
Being inaugurated into the role of a potential step-parent is hurdle enough, being fully welcomed and loved as one is a sought after major achievement and it doesn’t matter how lovely you are as a person, sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
Be patient, be loving and above all be yourself to create the best circumstances to forge a good relationship but remember, ‘The best laid schemes of mice and men oft go awry’.
Recently, I’ve talked about an ‘out of character niceness’ in your old partner, that you’d be wise to be wary of.
Having sex with an ex can be as simple and superficial as that, but you must bear in mind, this a serious step, there might be several motivating factors behind a sojourn between the sheets.
From getting pregnant, to inflicting a pregnancy, or spreading something unpleasant and unrealised (STD), not to mention the pure and simple upset of knowing you are supposed to be over.
Be careful and be prepared for the multi-layered consequences of Paolo Nutini’s ‘Last Request to Lay Down Beside Me’…
You might think that peaceful, seemingly compliant negotiations of the split of worldly goods and chattel between you and your ex, are a good sign; you’re right, they might be!
However, do ponder the fact that it doesn’t matter how calm you feel the dialogue has been, hindsight might advise you not to trust them as far as you could throw the top tier of your wedding cake.
The person we metamorphose into during the divorce era, is a million miles away from the person we fell in love with and whispered, ‘I do’ to.
Don’t be confused or deludedly seduced into thinking they are one and the same.
Anger, frustration, sadness, desperation and pure and simple shock that you’ve gone can evoke some very powerful reactions, so be on your guard if you’re lucky enough to see an out of character ‘nice’ side to their personality that you never knew existed, because it probably doesn’t!
Creativity is a wonderful thing and I’m always in awe of artists who, during their deepest, darkest moments, created pictures of resplendent beauty and intrigue.
However, if you don’t know the front end of a pallet from the back end of an easel, you might struggle to do anything more than blob paint on paper. I’ve never painted anything other than walls, but last week, I threw some thoughts onto a canvas and it was my interpretation of coming out of a nightmare and heading the day through a field of relaxing lavender…hey, I like it!
Your colourful blobs can be the most fun to throw onto a canvas and the resulting colour collective doesn’t have to look like anything, it just has to be a pleasing process to undertake.
Charity and thrift shops are veritable Aladdin’s caves and you are highly likely to find very inexpensive artist materials there and on good old Ebay and other auction websites.
Finally, remember, beauty in art is in the eye of the beholder; so be bold and go behold!
Find a new recipe for something easy to eat that comforts you and also something you could make a batch of and freeze or store easily.
How about a delicious mixed vegetable curry, a red lentil dahl, cream of chicken soup, cheese on toast with chorizo, or an organic egg boosted rice pudding or custard, just like your nanny used to make.
I’m not suggesting you eat your way out of the angst, but your appetite is likely to fluctuate during the particularly stressful bits and if you have something warm and tasty a few clicks away from doing its job, it might help take the sting out of some of the proceedings.
Also, batch cooking is an efficient way of keeping yourself fed in many respects, saving you time and money, both are very handy in abundance.
Now where did you put that vegetable peeler?
The repetitive daily drudge of divorce can make you feel as though you’re living your entire life in beige.
If you feel you’ve embraced a little too much convention of late, perhaps it’s time to push the boundaries and light yourself up with some colour.
Changing clothes and hairstyles is radical and can be expensive, but it won’t break the bank buying 10 pots of nail varnish to paint your toes and fingers a multitude of shades.
This booster isn’t restricted to women either, male toe colour is very enigmatic and positively funky.
If you don’t want anyone to notice or make a fuss about it, just go for the toes and make a splashy impact on yourself but if you do decide to wear sandals when you go out, you’ll be sure to evoke a few smiles along the way.
If all your ex has done since you broke up, is make a great deal of intolerable noise, whilst they flail around in the death throes of your marriage, hold onto the fact that you might soon be given the silent treatment.
A riled ex can jump from one extreme behaviour to another and it’s interesting to note that each situation holds benefits and negative points.
Silence is golden, until you are trying to set up a line of communication for say, children, collecting post or splitting possessions, in which case silence is no help whatsoever. Slamming the phone down is another common juvenile action which generally leads to enormous frustration.
Conversely, noise via abusive texts, angry emails, constant phone calls, door knocking and more is also an utter invasion that can leave you exhausted and feeling unable to go anywhere for fear of another barrage.
Extreme forms of the latter can be classed as harassment and if you are in this situation, seek advice from your solicitor or call the police for measures to be put in place to stop it.
Create a nice ritual to tag onto the end of a necessary visit to your solicitor or any other authorities – mediators or counsellors etc – relating to your divorce.
Make up a tasty flask of something that comforts you, a velvety milk-based hot chocolate or a vibrantly stiff black coffee perhaps and pack a fuelling snack or a naughty treat that you can look forward to consuming once the official dialogue is all over.
As soon as you exit their offices, find a pleasant place to settle down on a bench to enjoy your victuals as you compose yourself and regroup.
There are few topics I’m reticent to dip into because of the enormity of them. This is one such and if this tip is relevant to you, please seek further advice and assistance, it is not something you need to deal with on your own.
So, you say you’re going to leave and they reply, ‘You can’t do that, I’ll kill myself’.
Where on earth do you go from here?
Threatened self-harm or suicide is indeed a cry for help, but not one you are qualified to treat. It is often deep rooted and even if you believe you know what the underlying causes are (dubious it’s simply your unveiled plans to leave) it’s unlikely to be something you’ll be able to handle well.
If the situation seems fairly calm, you may be able to buy time and put things on ice while you find breathing space to contact their doctor to explain what’s happened. However, if things are out of hand and danger is possibly imminent, call the emergency services and request assistance from the police.
Mental health instability is very real and should be treated seriously, it is not however, a reason to keep you living with the person who is threatening it and your mental health and wellbeing need to be taken into account too. Make an appointment to see your doctor and download the situation, you may need a little of their TLC also.
If you ran a business with your ex, splitting the house and matrimonial assets is one thing, splitting the business is quite another.
Even the most straightforward of businesses will be complicated enough to divide and it may be prudent to speak to an accountant in the very early stages to assess where you are and how they best recommend the hammer to fall.
Once this has been established, the solicitors will have to draw up agreements to reflect your decisions but of course, you still have to make the ultimate choice of whether you continue to work together or not.
Nobody can best advise you. You are the only person who can make that decision and if you have an analytical business mind, I hope it helps you calmly lay out the potential consequences of taking the Yes or the No path.
Good luck with your decision.