SingleDad Blog is designed to feature post-divorce Q & A topics from our members. Learn, share, and get in the conversation from Dads who are feeling just like you. This month, one of our members asks about post-divorce life. When does life start feeling normal again? Read more.
Single Dad Blog: When do I
start feeling Normal?
My name is Dennis and I am a 43-year old divorced father
living in Fort Collins, Colorado. I have a 6 year-old son and I am a couple
months away from being divorced for a full year. I have joint-custody with my
ex-spouse and she lives within a 20-minute drive from my home. My son’s school
year has been tough on me because of the many friends that I used to have when
I was married. Not to go into great detail, but let’s just say that I have had
many friends, "un-friend" me over the past year because of my divorce.
I was a far from a perfect husband, but from my divorced, I
have re-committed on my fatherhood and co-parenting responsibilities. As tough
as the last 10 months have been, I feel like the experience has taught me
humility, focus and a stronger relationship with my son. My relationship with
my ex has been somewhat civil and often an ongoing heartache. She has already
moved on with a new man and I have to hear about him through my son and the
activities that they share together.
Anyways, aside from these events, I am grateful that my son
has adjusted so well under these circumstances and that I am able to have the
time that I have on my custody schedule.
My question is this: How long does it take before I start
feeling like myself again?
These past eight months have been filled with a variety of
feelings such as anxiety, frustration and a general lack of hope of moving
forward in my life. I am grateful that I have my health, I have a stable job
and that I am right with God and go to church every Sunday and count my
Sometimes, I catch myself daydreaming about past events or
regret in old conversations that I had with friends and loved ones. I can’t
seem to resolve some past issues and I wanted to know if this is common for men
of my age to go through this and more importantly; when does it end?
Your advice is appreciated,
Getting Back to Normal
Thanks for your email and sharing with our members on
SingleDad. A couple disclosures to share with you:
I am not a doctor, nor am I giving you medical advice.
I am a divorced dad sharing my past experiences and my
opinions in hopes they will find you peace in your mind and heart.
Now for my thoughts:
What you are going through in my opinion is normal and I
have had these feelings before as well. It is perfectly normal for you to often
find yourself reflecting on past, un-resolved events or issues involving your
previous relationships. It is difficult, but necessary to think these things
through, but always remember that those events have already happened. You
cannot change those particular events.
Like a big football game when one team with the ball is down
by a point and the game is down to the last few seconds. The coach calls a time
out and brings his kicker in to make the field goal to win the game. The field
goal is missed and the team loses.
For the most part, the game is forgotten a week later,
however, the kicker has to live with that missed kick for the rest of his life…
what does he do with that?
You are the kicker Dennis.
Sometimes it takes a while to get over the missed kick. I
think it took me just over a year before I started feeling "normal" again. Keep
your focus and attention on all the things that matter:
Diet is important and I want to challenge you to "change
things up" in your diet. Explore different foods and learn how to cook
different dishes. There are a variety of free resources to help teach you new
cooking techniques such as CookLikeADad.com or go to YouTube and search popular
Don’t forget to keep your fitness up and allow yourself
plenty of rest. Exercise is important but more studies are now focusing on recovery
and the importance of getting enough rest. Sleep is one of the most precious
factors in your overall Dad Health, so keep this in mind.
Make every day count. In joint custody, that means you only
get 182 days a year. Believe me, I saw that number and it made me realize how
important each holiday, birthday, tooth-fairy event in my children’s life
mattered to me as a father. Don’t waste it on BIG fancy events either. I found
that one of the most important gifts my children wanted was "face to face,
alone time" with me. Your son will remember more alone time with you than any
"Chuckie Cheese Party". Enough said.
Your Stable Job
Nothing wrecks a Single Parent household faster than a loss
of a job or drop in income. Make sure you "get real" with your boss and do
everything you can to let your supervisor know your commitment to your work and
your role as a single parent. Most employers these days have "flex time" and
are more accepting when an employee is up-front in their communication and goes
beyond effort to make up any lost time owed to work.
Look at your work like having a checking account. The "extra
effort " you put into your job is like making a deposit in the account. You
will need to build up reserves so when your have to request, "flex time" due to
family commitments, you are not writing "bad checks" to your employer or
company. Does this make sense?
It appears that you are on track Dennis and you are doing
all the right things. These "past un-resolved" events in your past will subside
and eventually fade away. Learn to forgive yourself first, before forgiving
others. As simple as this sounds, it’s no easy task. Keep the same priorities
you had mentioned and review my tips from above to stay on track and check in
with me in a couple of months.
Got A Post Divorce Question?
Do you have a Single Dad, post-divorce topic you want to
share with our members? Please send us an email and tell us about your
situation. We will review and may post it on SingleDad. Email us at: SDD@SingleDad.com we will get
back to you right away!
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”