Newly separated people do stupid things. It’s not a cut down, I’m not trying to be hurtful, it’s just reality. Trust me, as a newly separated person, I probably did more stupid things than anyone I know.
The reason? It’s a difficult, emotional, unbelievably scary, precarious time during which people become temporarily different people. A confident, stable, gregarious person can become an insecure, emotional mess who is always unsure of him or herself and who can’t seem to do anything right. Because of the insecurities, the self-hatred, in some cases, and the lack of self-worth, people make bad choices. It is a time of weakness and extreme vulnerability. The good news is, that frame of mind isn’t permanent.
I recently heard the story of a divorced woman who told me that when she was separated several years ago, she had a few glasses of wine one night and left a long message on her soon-to-be ex’s voice mail, using several expletives, (lots of four letter words) and spewing out threats.
Her ex’s attorney played the voicemail in court and she ended up losing her children. Ugh. That made me sick to hear. Why? Because that could happen to anyone. It’s a combination of bad luck and a very bad choice.
When people are newly separated, they sometimes act crazy. I know I did. People do things that are so out of character because they really don’t know who they are momentarily. Probably the case with this woman.
For some, being newly separated feels like you are on trial, you are being watched and judged. It’s scary. You don’t know what your ex is going to do, or what moves he/she is going to make because all of a sudden, he or she has become the enemy, a total stranger. It’s a horrible feeling.
I think eventually, when a deal is made, when the divorce is final, everyone exhales and hopefully your relationship with your ex gets better because the pressure is off.
Here are some STUPID things you shouldn’t do as a newly separated person: (or EVER!)
- Leave voicemail messages for ANYONE after you’ve been drinking or ANYTIME, even if you are sober that might paint you in an unflattering light.
- Send an email or text that you wouldn’t want a judge or your ex’s attorney to see.
- Drink and drive
- Talk badly about your ex in front of your kids.
- Talk badly about your ex to people in your community who you don’t know very well.
- Send an email or text to your ex really quickly when you are really upset or right after you find something out.
- Call your attorney for every little detail.
- Change your standards when it comes to dating and how men/women treat you.
- Take drugs or drink excessively to try to numb your anxiety.
- Threaten your ex.
- Tear up old photos or throw away marriage mementos.
- Do anything out of spite or just to cause your ex pain or to anger him/her.
Being newly separated is really really hard. I can remember lots of crying, lots of anger, frequent feelings of hopelessness, a dramatic loss of self-esteem and of course, STUPIDITY.
It’s okay. The stupidity eventually goes away (hopefully.) They key is not to do anything damaging. Because if you do stupid things, there could be real consequences, resulting in things you will regret forever. So, next time your ex sends you a nasty email, don’t furiously hit your key buttons answering him/her, spewing venom. Wait until you are calm and rational. Actually, you can answer the email and say whatever you’d like. It’s healthy to vent. Just don’t hit “send!”