If I could do it over...

Tips on divorce for men considering or starting the divorce process. Get marriage separation tips for men in this divorce forum and child custody forum.

Re: If I could do it over...

Unread postby Havalu7 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:27 am

Fluff thank you for your service!

Maybe you should start a new thread with your details to help the new guys about to go or going through what you have been through with the battle on the Homefront.

We call it picking up a shovel and helping the boot or newbie.

Once again I do so appreciate your service as well as all of the Veterans here.
Last edited by Havalu7 on Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
"No." is a complete sentence.

Do not move out of your house.
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Re: If I could do it over...

Unread postby massdad1234 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:38 pm

I wouldn't because I have 3 great children. For others, I would say trust your gut. If you're making excuses before you get married and have kids when ish really hits the fan, what do you think will happen in the future?
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Re: If I could do it over...

Unread postby Ireadthelist » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:07 pm

I was lucky; I made some errors in the divorce process, and certainly lost some things I felt like I should`nt have, but I think my missteps in the beginning contributed to the unpreparedness from the other side during the final hearing. I can echo the sentiment from others that a good support network is really essential. Having someone to call, a clearly written out and spelled out plan on the wall(literally, I had it written out on the wall and hyperfocused on during the whole 1 year process), was really essentail for me. If I changed anything I would have fallen on my sword less, and negotiated from a perspective of strength when I started. I was in the weeds emotionally, and trying to placate an angry woman who wanted to destroy me. Once I treated it like the war it was, things went better. Transitioning from taking care of a woman to treating her like an adversary is not a flip of a switch, but had to be done....
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Re: If I could do it over...

Unread postby good dad » Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:09 am

I went through this once before. I married a woman 8 yrs my senior for 8 months. It should have been a casual sex hookup but I was trying to do the right thing. She was a widow with 2 (teenage) kids.
I went to her pastor who told me she had Borderline personality disorder- She would run down asking him for money to buy food , hop into her new car and go to Neiman Marcus to buy clothes.

I contacted her family asking if they can encourage her to go to counseling with me. Only to be told I was an a-hole for not helping her out financially and stealing her money.

In the end, the efforts were for nothing. We divorced and I do not speak to her or her kids. Her mother threatened to kill me.

I beat myself up thinking if I had more money , it would have been okay. I have no regrets over anything I did.

The marriage I am in now, I was able to buy a small house that needs work for cash and wife could stay home. Guess what- she refuses to speak to me. She did tell me that when I change baby's diaper, put it in a bag then the trash so it does not smell. She then went on to cook breakfast in front of me for her and the 2 kids this morning. Those things hurt but I accept the fact this is the reality I am in. Yes, my recorder was running.

My buddy said I sounded upbeat yesterday. I think it's because I know in my heart I have done nothing wrong to ruin this marriage. We should all be happy together. She insulted my work ( saying it's a little job) when in fact I worked years to get this job. Told me she wished she married someone from her own country as they know how to treat women. A guy from her own country would have taken her home and given her a free pair of sunglasses ( I think you get the reference).

To answer what I would do over- nothing. I tried to find the best woman I could to have children with. I put a bit too much stock in her outward display of religion thinking that would make her a good wife / mother and realize that was a mistake.

One has to take chances. I thought this morning how I will teach my boys about love and marriage. I will tell them to find the best woman they can from a decent home and go for it. It's a risk they should take and protect themselves at the same time. They should fight a bit for the marriage but not too much. Conduct themselves like a gentleman and if it's over or they are being disrespected, then man up and leave.

My wife and I were okay together until the baby. We were roommates really and not much to argue about living in an apt. There were issues but I could handle the small critiques.

It was when the baby came and we moved into the house that needed to be totally renovated, things changed. Maybe it was me unconsciously realizing too much was going on and I had to man -up and there was simply no time or need for the criticism. Or maybe it was her thinking I am an incompetent idiot and I should not even hold a hammer. Maybe a bit of both. That is the time things really got bad.

I tried pointing this out to her but of course she will not talk except to tell me I need to do a better job handling criticism.

I can see now her father is not as well-respected by her and her sisters as I thought. They do not trust his decision making skills. Yes, they yell at him when he tries to fix something as well. I see the parallels.

One question I have for you guys is this- This is probably the end of marriage #2. I can see what I am doing wrong is finding women who really did not want to be married or taking the time to get to know them before marriage thinking if we both do our parts, everything will be fine.

Am I crazy for thinking that is my only mistake?


I know I am not a bully in the house and women do not have to flee half naked with the children in their arms at 3am to escape me. Maybe I don't have enough "game" to keep my wife respecting me. My theory is if you are taking care of business and being a good husband and father, the wife should respect you. One does not really have much control over it. If I was abusive and controlling, she may fear me but that is not what I want.


I ask myself what my wife would say to a counselor about her problems with me. She would say everything she says he takes as criticism and she can now see he hates me. I told her I do not hate her but and angry and disappointed by our communication.

It blows my mind she cannot say things in a subtle and loving way. I think alot of it has to do with her need to feel in charge. I always consult with her and share ideas with her. It's our house and we both have imputs.

A wife should build you up and make you feel like you can conquer the world. You should not have to "keep your mind tight" in order to deal with her.

Once I began exerting resistance to the criticism, things fell apart.

Thanks for letting me vent
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Re: If I could do it over...

Unread postby jamiestarr » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:25 pm

The biggest mistake I made was not sitting my ex-wife down and telling her the marriage is over. Discussing how we can amicably divorce and co-parent. Instead I let the situation linger and worsen and eventually what happened is during my time away on business. Ex-wife used a protective order to have me remove from my property and that triggered a hotly contested and expensive divorce. One of the biggest mistake of my life.
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Re: If I could do it over...

Unread postby ArthurCurry » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:16 pm

First and foremost... I wouldn't do it over. I wouldn't have ignored the red flags and given her the benefit of the doubt early in the relationship. Other than that... I would've handled my divorce the exact same way:

1. I love our kids. I didn't pursue custody to avoid support or to keep our kids away from their mother. We both have strong bonds with each of our three kids, and I think it's important for both parents to maintain a close and loving relationship with each kid. I enjoy being a dad, and I don't see it as a chore or hassle. I listed this as #1 because some people operate from a place other than love, and they can't understand why they receive different results.

2. I didn't leave the marital residence. This was an important one... but I didn't realize how important at the time. We didn't have a big blowout or final straw... we just wanted different things. She ended up leaving on advice from her attorney... which was the attorney's way of starting to drive the wedge between us emotionally. I guess she didn't plan on me making sacrifices to keep the home for the kids. She was wrong.

3. I didn't fight. Some people get adversarial when a divorce occurs. They keep communication to a minimum and always via email. I have a legal background, and was familiar with this method of communication, but never thought I'd be implementing it in my personal life. Nevertheless, I never filed any complaints, started any wars, slung any < feces >... nothing. I was cool as ice when her attorney tried to rattle me on the stand. I had some negative thoughts, but there's a difference between thinking something negative and saying something negative. I never disparaged her. Ever. This is not to say I just gave in to them. I was very firm in my stances and protected my interests, but I didn't play any games. The only exception (and I'm ashamed to admit this) was when she stopped communicating with me and insisted that all communication go through her attorney. Their plan (the lawyers) was to totally shut down communication between us and run up the bill by speaking to each other for us. I told my attorney ahead of time to not respond to anything her attorney sends unless it involves a settlement or court appearance. Just delete it or throw it in the garbage. Then I sent my ex multiple (relevant) emails every day. I'd ask about anything and everything I could think of... and I'd send individual emails for individual topics. She forwarded all of them to her attorney (and her attorney billed her), her attorney wrote my attorney an email or a letter... and my attorney threw them away. It cost her somewhere around $10,000 before she caught on. Not my proudest moment... but she learned to communicate, and we haven't had any issues with that since then.

4. I managed my attorney. He was not happy about this, but it's not my job to make him happy. I had never been divorced before, and wanted some guidance in the unfamiliar territory. But I made the rules, and made him follow them. No responses to her attorney unless I reviewed them. No work should be done unless I was aware of it. No actions should be filed unless I initiate it (I never initiated anything). His sole purpose was to provide guidance. I spoke and represented myself on every possible occasion. The only exception was the initial child support meeting (which I rectified) and the emergency petition for special relief (she tried to take the kids and leave).

5. I managed my emotions. I found ways to express my emotions in a positive and healthy way while experiencing the most dramatic event of my life. I ate healthy, worked out often and focused on finding ways to improve my life and the lives of our kids. I didn't waste time on fighting or hating her. She tried to fight with me... but she found it incredibly difficult to fight with someone that wasn't interested in fighting and eventually stopped. She called the police on me multiple times for her purported reasons (and she'd show up at some ridiculous hour in the morning and demand the kids even though the custody order clearly states custodial times. I made sure of this because I wrote it). The police showed up, I spoke with them in a cool, calm and collected manner while explaining what was happening. I provided them with a copy of the custody order, and fully cooperated. They always left without incident. I learned (through mutual friends) that the police think she's nuts, but they're just doing their job... which I fully understand.

6. I view her as my coparent. I don't view her as an adversary or enemy, but I can't say the same for how she sees me. I treat her with respect, and abide by the custody order. She doesn't do either of these things... which is why I always win. If she did treat me with respect and abide by the custody order... I'd still win. This is a point that some people don't seem to understand. I always place myself (or at least my mindset) in a winning situation. She does the opposite and tends to place herself in a position of losing. In the beginning... she filed for primary custody under the presumption that she could always settle for 50/50... but wanted to swing for the fences. She took this one step further by taking the kids and leaving. Let's just say the judge smacked her down, forced her to return and granted 50/50 custody. She essentially "lost"... and it started a snowball effect of losing. Psychologically... I'd rather win. Even if it's a small or predictable win.

This is 6 of about 15... but I gotta get some work done!
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Re: If I could do it over...

Unread postby Armydadof4 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:07 am

Hey guys, new tot he site and finding my way around pretty well. I just wanted to say thanks for everyone sharing their thoughts on this, It definitively gives me a better understanding of what to expect and to learn from others mistakes. I will post about my unique situation in a following post. Thanks again.
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Re: If I could do it over...

Unread postby Bobby5000 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:34 pm

My observations, with emphasis on legal.

1. Letting the lawyers and anger run the case. Husband picks out the toughest lawyer he knows. Wife picks a strident
feminist lawyers, and the two lawyers fight over things large and small, depleting bank accounts, retirement, house equity, each making a substantial amount and blaming the other lawyer for his/her unreasonableness.
You may need to fight, but make sure you are fighting things that are important.

2. He still loves her, she him. Better recognize this early. If she cannot let go, no amount of legal footwork will change things, and if he is remains in love, fighting will not change things. And no, nasty fights rarely bring couples together.

3. Fight early, capitulate later He fights early, with voluminous papers which convinces him but does little for her or the judge and exhausted, he enters a poor settlement. It can be a marathon.

4. Confusing, long, nasty papers. Last time I was present in a proceeding, the judge said he wanted clear papers and no attacks on opposing counsel, exactly the opposite of what many people divorcing demand. Have simple papers that clearly identify the issue and the basis for what you are seeking.

5. Leaving your child because of conflict with the ex-wife. A good thing this group does is fight for the father and the child.

6. Emotional intelligence This is a high-stress situation and you have to think sensibly.

7. Lose-lose situations Mutually destructive scenarios are pretty common.
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Re: If I could do it over...

Unread postby ronedee » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:46 pm

"IF"... its funny, in the midst of my problems now... I look at different dates in the past as they randomly arise and think about how I could've sent a message to myself. But, to change what really? I don't even know what I would say? Except, maybe, be prepared for a shocker coming in 2017. I've seen a lot of friends go through what I thought I would never. But life has a nasty, surprising way of proving itself fickle! My friends it seems, most of them anyway, came out the other end of a divorce intact. And if not happy, somewhat positive and settled. Knowing I will be ok in the end? I'm trying to feel that now. But, its hard. Damn hard
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Re: If I could do it over...

Unread postby zipit » Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:43 pm

WhoWeAre wrote:Suppose your relationship was ending now, instead of then. Suppose you could do one thing over. You cannot save your relationship, but you sure wish you had...

Mine is... I sure wish I had realized she was not the same woman anymore; that we were locked into an adversarial system and that I would need to fight because the only thing that matters anymore is the judges decree.


I wish I would have begun negotiating a settlement directly with her sooner. My lawyer tried while I waited, thinking that the courts/lawyers would better handle negotiating a settlement. Sometimes I would try to discuss things directly with her but she would get mean & begin fighting. Since the toxic arguing was something I was no longer living with, I would stop trying to negotiate with her before we even got started. About 9 months later both of our lawyers were encouraging us to start talking to each other to get a negotiation worked out since we were having no luck dealing with them.

These are some of the rules that I would give myself if I could travel back in time a year:

1. When she brings up emotions, calmly say "Now is not the time to discuss emotions. We need to discuss how to dissolve our marriage." She will share her emotions and you will need to listen to them. When she asks for a response, say that you are not ready to discuss your emotions. Don't pretend that you have none - in fact, even if you don't have any, pretend that you have some but you are not ready to discuss them. Lead her to believe it's just too difficult for you to discuss right now and you would like to first handle business.

2. When she picks a fight, begins an argument, brings up past events, swears or calls names, calmly say "I do not want to fight with you." If she insists on fighting, allow her to say what she needs to say and reply with something polite such as "I understand what you said and I would like to move forward with discussing the business we need to discuss in order to finish our divorce." If you accidentally begin fighting about something, stop when you realize it and say that you don't want to do it.

3. During any conversation, when a topic of discord related to settling the divorce is recognized, say "We disagree on this item, let's set it aside for future consideration. I will think about it." When a topic comes up again and again say that you would like to allow the lawyers to weigh in on a resolution. These are professional negotiators and they may have an idea on how to resolve the matter that you haven't thought of yet. If they are unable to offer a helpful solution, agree to ask the court to resolve the matter. Depending on what it is, you may need to work it out yourself during the settlement but at least it stops you from getting stuck on dead-center and allows you to work on any other remaining issues.

4. There are going to be times when her only desire is to HEAR certain words. This is a tricky situation. You won't want to apologize for something you didn't do, since down the road you may be asked why you apologized for it. You don't want to admit fault when you believe it was shared or not your fault. You don't want to agree to anything you are not 100% comfortable with and even if you are comfortable with it, you want to hold on to those types of things to use as bargaining chips later. When this happens, make a note and think about what you might be able to say over time to placate her. But be careful. At the end of the day, I wish I would have said a lot more than I did because nothing I said was "used against me" and not saying things just delayed progress.

5. Do not fight or discuss emotions AT ALL through text message, email or written communication. Wait a minimum of 12-24 hours before responding to any text/email and run your response by a confidant, therapist, your support network or very close friend, if possible. Keep in mind that no matter how outrageous the communication may seem at the moment, chances are that you'll look back on it when everything is said and done and it's going to look like one of hundreds of petty things.

5. Identify the categories where progress needs to be made. For us, that was property division, spousal support, home and everything else. Work on these categories separately from each other, only making "trades" between them after the category itself is nearly resolved.
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