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Books to help a recent divorcee avoid common mistakes?
October 29, 2012 4:43 PM   Subscribe

I'm almost done with my divorce and in the process of starting a new life. Are there any books out there that might help me steer clear of making the more common corny-recent-divorcee' mistakes? Stuff related to love, the kids, housecleaning, finance, alcohol, furnishings, loneliness, stress, etc. 41 yo male living in the US, three preteen daughters on 50/50 time, comfortable financially, stressful job, amicable split from STBX, big D because I ended up being an employee and not a husband/man.
posted by TheManChild2000 to Human Relations (11 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
. . . because I ended up being an employee and not a husband/man.

I think it might help to start by clarifying what you mean by this.
posted by ryanshepard at 5:07 PM on October 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I really enjoyed Good in a crisis by Margert Overton. You may be hoping to find something more male-centred but it is always refreshing to hear the other gender's take on social constructs and she touches on everything you mention. The big thing I took from it was that the recently divorced inflict pain on others (almost always unknowingly). That is not an unfamiliar idea, that people so emotionally raw accidentally use others as their emotional airbag.

Also, the bitterness REALLY has to go; I thought you seems reasonable and mature until I read that final dig at your STBX. It reveals a lot more about you than it does about her.
posted by saucysault at 5:11 PM on October 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Right now, you're vulnerable. I was in the same position nine years ago when my ex left me and the kids and went to live in another country. Things will be tough right now, but I promise you that if you look after yourself, they will get better. Watch the booze. Grieve - really important - your marriage has died and you need to mourn. Get a cleaner. Get a massage (the RMT kind) every month - being touched is restorative. Keep yourself busy and love your daughters as they deserve to be loved.

You're looking at 1-2 years before you're ready for a serious relationship (if that's what you want) - go slow and be picky*. Good luck - it's a new chapter in your life!

* When I plucked up the courage to date women again, I really enjoyed meeting lots of lovely women, but I couldn't see any of them as long-term relationships (yes, I was being picky). Until I met my sweetheart seven years ago... I am happier now than I have any right to be. I am also grateful to my ex for giving me the opportunity to be where I am today - a very lucky chap. I know you were looking for books - I feel like I've just written one :-).
posted by HarrysDad at 5:20 PM on October 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Er? I parsed "ended up being an employee and not a husband/man" as meaning "I failed at striking a good work/life balance", rather than "my wife was a slavedriver." Seconding clarification.
posted by kagredon at 5:33 PM on October 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hit post too soon, but: resist the urge to lose yourself in work (or anything else, really.) Don't isolate yourself; reach out to friends, family, consider therapy if it's a possibility for you.

On preteen daughters: Do not, ever, badmouth their mother in front of them. Even if you're currently arguing about something. Even if one of your daughters is venting to you about a fight they had with her. They will be hurt. They will lose respect for you. In a few years, they'll probably want some say in how their living time is split/scheduled. Be welcoming, but be prepared for the possibility that they might want to break from the 50/50 arrangement, and that it may mean you get less time. Don't be hurt if that's the case (believe me, as someone who was the teenaged child of divorced parents, it may have less to do with you than with which place is more convenient to friends/hobbies/etc.)
posted by kagredon at 5:44 PM on October 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also, the bitterness REALLY has to go; I thought you seems reasonable and mature until I read that final dig at your STBX. It reveals a lot more about you than it does about her.

I didn't read any bitterness in the question, but if the OP is bitter while going through the divorce, the bitterness may be justified. I infer from the question that the wife initiated the divorce and it is entirely possible that she did so for frivolous reasons. We will not know until the OP clarifies his "husband/man" line, which I took to be a mea culpa.
posted by Tanizaki at 6:14 PM on October 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I very much want to avoid chat filter, so please try to ignore the comment that everybody is hung up on. I cant imagine that it's critical to understand in order to suggest books that give advice such as "make sure you get out of the house!" and "focus on your children!" and "get some plants!" and "don't be that guy dating college girls!" etc

if you disagree, and think clarification really would help, of course please feel free to memail me.
posted by TheManChild2000 at 6:35 PM on October 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


I found Crazy Time very helpful post-divorce. It was practical and had lots of stories and basically said "this time will suck and then be great and go back to sucking, here's how to limit the damage while you figure out what to do next".
posted by viggorlijah at 9:20 PM on October 29, 2012


Singled Out by Richard Schickel. It's available on-line. Lots of advice for recently divorced.
posted by JimN2TAW at 10:02 PM on October 29, 2012


Well, this:

Stuff related to...housecleaning, finance, alcohol, furnishings, loneliness, stress, etc.

and this

give advice such as "make sure you get out of the house!" and "focus on your children!" and "get some plants!"...

makes me think that maybe your former household's division of labor excused you from needing to do much organization of your domestic and social life. (Or, at least, that's how it worked out.) You might benefit from trying out a formal organization and task management system so you can collect your thoughts and concerns, use them to coalesce actual goals in the areas of your life you mentioned and set about achieving/maintaining them in a practical way.

You might start with checking out the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. It is popular among mefites, so there's lots of material here.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:57 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Definitely get a copy of Home Comforts which is the best book I've found on keeping a house or apartment clean, attractive and comfortable.

For dating: Attached is not a book on How To Get Dates, but it's very very helpful for finding out one's own attachment style and finding people who have styles compatible to yours.

Miss Manners' Guide To Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (recommended frequently here on MeFi) will guide you through every social situation you can think of - dates, work, your kids, holiday tipping, you name it.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:03 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


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