I’ve spent the last few days navigating governmental agency processes & I was reminded of some of the strange & surprising moments (& resulting disbelief) that happen due to the divorce experience.
“Official” people, places, & processes often ask for your emergency contact. For two decades my emergency contact was my “wasbund”, even following our divorce. After he remarried (& other significant events), keeping the “wasbund” as ICE no longer felt right. But, WHO to put on that ubiquitous emergency contact line? Afterall, relationships (dating & friendship) can shift. I don’t know about you, but I run down the list…:
- Do I put my family… who lives 6 hours away?
- Do I name my in-town bestie who is available & helpful but often out of town & not tied to their phone?
- The retired neighbor who may or may not be able to ambulate?
- Work colleague?
- Person I’m dating?
- My Gen Z son gonna pick up the phone call?!?
Can you relate?
These “othering” moments can be a complete sucker punch & … other times are just annoying AF. Maybe it’s not designating “ICE”, but it’s:
- The language of “primary” versus “secondary” household. (Who & what makes one household primary in a 50/50 custody arrangement?)
- When you must ask schools or doctor offices to accommodate communication needs related to the divorce & two households. (This is a challenge for working moms anyway but in 2022 I’m shocked this is a special consideration.)
- The first time or most recent time you want to share a parenting challenge or triumph, but a basic friendship is no longer intact or available with the co-parent.
There are things that sneak up on you, out of nowhere. For me, it was an overwhelming urge to lose my married name – get this: 4 years after keeping it in the divorce!
Here’s some advice I continue to borrow. When engaged, I recall chatting with the jeweler & family friend of my in-laws who designed our rings. I asked for his advice for a successful marriage; his response was … “to be open to & ready for change”. I now apply this perspective to divorce too as divorce is an ever-changing journey.
There are no hard & fast rules: each marriage, divorce, & post-divorce/co-parenting situation is unique. You will intersect with traditional structures, processes, & people that fail to be inclusive.
I hope you do not take it personally; & instead free yourself to do what is best for you. Remember to acknowledge the progress you have made & are making in your divorce recovery!
As always, I invite you to contact me for service or to follow my professional social media accounts.
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