How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once? - Talk About Marriage
Life After Divorce Divorce is complicated, and change is never easy to cope with. Use this section for help and advice on living life after a divorce.

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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

I have never felt so upset in my life. It's been a long road and now we are finally filing for divorce since the kids are (almost) settled in college. It's very hard to face that Empty-next Syndrome I know will hit when my youngest goes to college, and we are working on the Divorce now. But to top it off, the day after I started the divorce process in motion with my lawyer, I had to take my dog to the vet, thinking she had to be put to sleep. I ended up bringing her back home, but we know it's not too far in the future.

I am not looking forward to any of this, and I really don't have a clear vision of anything post-divorce. Everything is going to be so different. How do people find the strength to re-invent themselves?

I am normally very decisive and rational, but all bets are off between the dog who has been my loyal companion through thick and thin, and my kids both in college. I'm not so sad about the divorce, but I"m terrified of "what next?".


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 02:54 PM
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

Been there done that. Not in the same order though. Kids flew the coop, wife decided to leave. I took the dog and then he had to be put down a few months later. It sucked, all of it. But...it gets better!
You will be free to become the person you always wanted to be and you will not have to modulate any of your decisions to placate some one else's feelings. You will mourn the marriage for sure. You will miss your kids, but them leaving home was a natural part of the process and one you would have to deal with anyways. As for the dog, I do NOT recommend running out and replacing it any more than I recommend running out to replace your ex. Take the time to focus on your needs. If you get busy living your life, you will realize how unfair it is to have a dog that you won't have time for.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

Thank-you, Ynot. I know people say not to go out and get a new dog right away. I've seen people do it and regret it too. But I will also say it's a very hard thing to resist as well. I have a second dog… sort of. It's actually my mother's dog who seems to have permanently moved in with us. I worry about her too. She's very attached to my youngest who is going to college and she's also been living with us for 5 years now, so part of the pack. But the pack is thinning fast. Pretty soon it's just going to be my sister dog and me. Too much coming all at one time. Oldest went to college this past fall, and that was bad enough. I feel so disjointed. I can't focus on any one thing too long. I want all this pain and anxiety to end. Then I find myself thinking and getting resentful that I have to go through this alone, without the husband I should have here. We been friendly throughout this, but when this other stuff comes up, I get angry with him for not being here like he promised he would be. Most of the time I'm not angry and sometimes look forward to a fresh start. But when these other emotional events come up, I get sucked back into dark side.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 09:11 PM
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

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Thank-you, Ynot. I know people say not to go out and get a new dog right away. I've seen people do it and regret it too. But I will also say it's a very hard thing to resist as well. I have a second dog… sort of. It's actually my mother's dog who seems to have permanently moved in with us. I worry about her too. She's very attached to my youngest who is going to college and she's also been living with us for 5 years now, so part of the pack. But the pack is thinning fast. Pretty soon it's just going to be my sister dog and me. Too much coming all at one time. Oldest went to college this past fall, and that was bad enough. I feel so disjointed. I can't focus on any one thing too long. I want all this pain and anxiety to end. Then I find myself thinking and getting resentful that I have to go through this alone, without the husband I should have here. We been friendly throughout this, but when this other stuff comes up, I get angry with him for not being here like he promised he would be. Most of the time I'm not angry and sometimes look forward to a fresh start. But when these other emotional events come up, I get sucked back into dark side.
That will happen and all you can do is know that it is temporary. Things will get better, You don't realize it now, but you will be so much better off not being tied down to someone who doesn't really want to be with you.

At the center of every moMEnt of my life is ME!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-28-2016, 08:50 AM
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

Sending cyberhugs your way. I sent my oldest up to college this fall, too. I miss her so, but she's where she needs to be. We didn't lose a dog, but we did lose a cat right after the divorce. The girls couldn't fathom replacing the cat right away and we waited about a year before we adopted a lost kitten.
Try to find an easy hobby to fill some extra thoughts, or exercise (I don't do that near enough-just ask my MD). You are going through some very emotional changes, any one of which is hard to deal with. Go easy on yourself.

In youth it was a way I had, to do my best to please, And change, with every passing lad to suit his theories.
But now I know the things I know, and do the things I do; And if you do not like me so, To hell, my love, with you! --Dorothy Parker
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-28-2016, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

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Go easy on yourself.
Thank-you. I've done nothing but cry this week. Oldest is coming home this weekend and is going with me to the vet. She also has special attachment with our dog. She has had some sports injuries that resulted in surgery and when she did, the dog stayed by her side on the couch, every minute of her recovery. So she wants to be here for both me and to for the dog to return the favor.

I am getting more physical exercise too. That in itself is a sign of extreme stress for me. I have chronic panic disorder which I know and understand very well now and is not an issue, but when I am very stressed, I have an overwhelming urge to walk. So the little silver lining is that walking is the one and best thing I can do for myself. I might be like Forrest Gump… once the final order is signed and my youngest goes off to college, I might start walking and not turn back toward home. Too much grief to deal with all at once.

I hate that I can't think clearly when it comes to my own stuff. We've been holding off on the actual divorce and shared the house for the kids' sakes. I've had two years to prepare for this, but I didn't bank on the dog going away too. Some me it's been a fine balance of control, getting my family and myself to the best case scenario for timing divorce (very long story), but now I feel like I'm dropping the ball. Just want it all behind me now. I live in a very rural area, so it is hard to find a place where I click and it helps. A TAM friend recommended a "Divorce Care" group. I might try that. Lucky enough, there is one about a half hour away.

Thanks for the reply. It's good to hear from others in the same situation who made it through to a better time again. I have a hard time "whining" because everyone around here thinks I am so strong and often come to me when they have something going on… I see the look of shock and surprise if I do get upset, and it usually just turns awkward rather than helpful. So I come to this forum instead.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-28-2016, 09:32 AM
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

Could I suggest you actively try to drop the ball. I know it sounds odd and I get that it is totally against your nature, but just quit. You can't be and do everything for everyone. You will burn out.

In youth it was a way I had, to do my best to please, And change, with every passing lad to suit his theories.
But now I know the things I know, and do the things I do; And if you do not like me so, To hell, my love, with you! --Dorothy Parker
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-28-2016, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

I think you are right. I'm burning out. Spring would help. Maybe I need to go south to family for a week or so. Good idea.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-03-2016, 10:45 AM
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

Separated, my 50th bday, my mom passed, first grandchild born AND divorced--- in that order and all within a 5 month time span. 8 months later (since separation), all I can say is to focus on whatever is normal and balanced in your life. If that's a friend, work, a hobby or just cleaning out closets-- focus on something else.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

It's been quite a while since I've been on here, and it feels like I've been through hell and back several times.

We did lose our dog. That was extremely hard, but both girls were home and we went together. That was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But life goes on… until it doesn't, but then new life falls into place. Spring was very welcome but also very busy, with my youngest daughter graduating high school, which meant in-laws for a month visiting. They actually are very good to have around. I swear I'm more their family than my STBX is now. My MIL talks about that a lot and really goes out of her way to make sure I"m doing ok, and that I'm keeping contact with their family. They live a LONG way away, so it does take an effort to not let that slip.

Against some people's advice, we did get a puppy in spring too. And not only one puppy, but a month later, a second puppy sort of fell into our laps! I have to say to all the Nay-Sayers… It was the BEST thing I've done this year!!!! They are a new focus for me, happy, healthy, and FULL of energy. I go jogging with them and we will be starting a new training class soon. I am most definitely a dog person, and I just can't be without a dog. I'm home alone most of the time and as a part time writer (hoping to get back into full-time now that youngest is in college)… I need that companionship that only a dog can offer.

My new challenge is to figure out how to balance empty nest, and splitting holidays or vacations with the girls' father. When the girls were at home, it wasn't a big deal if and when they went off with their dad for a weekend or on a trip, since he doesn't see them a whole lot. It's been only a month since my youngest has been in college too, and already I'm not happy with the new division of visits. I assumed that kids would come home for breaks, and like always, their father would take the effort to come up and see them. BUT… first break approaching fast and I find out that my oldest was asked to go hiking with her dad… AND the POSOW. All this time when she was talking about her long weekend, I still was thinking she was coming home and going off for a day and night with him. No mention of the tart until tonight. It upset me since we've been discussing what we are going to do, how and when to drive her sister to and from school (that one doesn't have a car). All this time and the only thing said has been, "Dad might come up to go hiking". Never said anything about that means she will NOT be coming home and meeting him here. Never mentioned the OW either. So I was taken aback, which of course came out wrong to DD too. She thinks I'm mad now only because the tart is involved. I tried to explain that no, I'm upset because I made the assumption that she would be home, and we even talked about driving together to pick up her sister. She said that all depended on whether her father could go hiking or not. Now THAT pissed me off. So I"m second fiddle now to when he's available or not.

How do I set boundaries and expectations without coming off like a shrew who is just bitter and angry. I kind of am bitter and angry, but not with the girls. However, I DO want to be clear that I'm not going to just be sitting around for when it's either convenient for them to drop in, or for when they have a dire crisis that I have to deal with, while he's breezing in and out of their lives, doing only fun stuff and trips, etc. Humpf. I think I'm also ticked off because for years we would go hiking and to our camp…. but either without their dad, or with him grudgingly going along… and yet NOW he is making a plan to bring the tart to my home state (they live in another state), and do just that… GO HIKING. He hated hiking for years and years, also hated the beach (can't stand sand), hated camping, hates, rain. Yet since he's met his "love of his life", he's been to exotic beach resorts with her, and now going to come into MY turf and take one of my kids hiking????

I think I am very bitter to the fact that I always have done this stuff… just grew up with it… x-c skiing, hiking, camping, fishing… basically just living outdoors as much as possible. He never really liked doing any of that with me or us. So now when he DOES do that stuff trying to keep up with his younger love interest, it makes me mad. And I'm also very disappointed in myself and how much I sacrificed for him, only to have him turn around and do all the things that I have loved and wanted him to do too yet he resisted… only to watch him be the newly hatched outdoorsy wanna-be. So fine… he's a poser and trying to live like he's 20 years younger… go for it…. BUT when it takes my kids away from ME… I'm Pi$$ED.

So now my dilemma of sorting through how we deal with what little time the kids have to go either here or somewhere with him. I do know my youngest will not be an issue for a long time. She has no interest in meeting the OW still, and it's been 3 years. I don't say anything one way or the other, only that she's her own person and she decides what kind of relationship she has with her father, but to keep an open mind. Secretly I LOVE the fact that she wants nothing to do with OW. I can't believe how much mental energy this whole ordeal has taken. My health is starting to suffer too, and I'm not sure how to sort that out. If I had a ton of money, it would be one thing, but being stuck where I am with very limited resources, it's a challenge. I'm hoping once we are finally divorced and get the house (and my own housing) sorted out, that I will finally start to heal. I hope. But then I don't know if you ever really heal. Lord, there are days when I absolutely hate him for what he's done and still doing to my family. I'm tired of trying to be the bigger person too. I always feel like I'm not doing something right.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 01:47 AM
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

Hey Sawbladelily....sounds like we're twins...except for some chromosome differences. Me Y.

And, a few years. My oldest just turned 42 and the youngest is 34. I look at life now as before emancipation and after emancipation. The last kiddo left for college and I left for life.

In my case, I don't know for sure that there was any infidelity. My wife had a thing for church and community choir. Same director who was ugly as sin but tall and had a personality/ego and earned reputation as a Lothario. I got suspicious after the singing rehearsals/lessons went from once a week to twice a week to finally four times a week.

I'm a hunter and I dressed out a deer in my garage. Took the liver to the choir director's office, put it on his desk and told him I'd dress him out if I found out he was messing with my wife. Singing rehearsals scaled back.

Edit: Have had three amazing dogs since breakup and I can say that they helped me through lots of issues. Ive found that spaniels listen without judgment. My little Aussie Shepherd/mix/rescue now is a great companion, doesn't drink and does provide solace and a reason to get up and walk the farm each day.

But, I digress...the point is your best days are ahead. If you got married early, as I did, then you've got a lot of time and adventure ahead of you and this time, you're in control because you're not young and dumb.

Last edited by tripod; 09-21-2016 at 01:52 AM.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

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But, I digress...the point is your best days are ahead. If you got married early, as I did, then you've got a lot of time and adventure ahead of you and this time, you're in control because you're not young and dumb.
Nope… didn't marry until 32 and first child was 9 months later. Second child at 34… so they are now 20 and 18 (me, 53 - so i"m older and wish I was just dumb and simple… I probably wouldn't stress so much trying to control everything that I can't.).

In many ways, I know I'm much better off now. Hindsight is 20-20. I don't know where the next phase of life will take me, but I will always love the outdoors, and feel very fortunate that I moved back to home territory. I have lots of relatives in the area, and the family farm is still operating (9 generations). So I am definitely in my element. I wouldn't have survived this long if I had been stuck in a city, which is mostly where we lived in our early years together. We made a conscious decision to move here (basically after his FIRST infidelity). I had to, for my sanity and security with two little kids. We fell into country life, and he did at first too, but slowly didn't find it as charming anymore. He traveled for work, and the Lord only knows how many times he cheated. He is still with the last cheat (at least what I think is the last cheat on me, but that's no longer my problem.) For me, it was just coming back home. I raised some animals with the kids, did the whole 4-H thing, and they really got to be farm kids. That's how I grew up, and I"m glad they could have that grounding to their lives too. I find solace in the peace of living an agrarian lifestyle. I did the whole high-powered pressured environment thing for years, while working in research and traveling around the US and Europe. I've thought a lot about this during out divorce, and I believe we were two different people then, when we started our relationship… he was only 24 and I was 27. Then kids came along, he cheated, we moved back to farm where I grew up, and he still traveled for work. I sacrificed career for sanity and making a good home for my kids… he continued his high powered lifestyle and didn't sacrifice much at all. A lot of what we did in the time the kids were little were to advance HIS career, which meant me giving up mine. So I'm still swallowing some bitter pills, because with both kids in college… NOW I would have the time to be part of all that travel and reap some benefits of the life we chose. Instead he's off with a woman who could be my own kid (!), and I'm trying to figure out what to do next. Hence, I turn to my animals and my dogs. I actually like my dogs more than most people these days. I understand them. They understand me. No judgement. And they always tell me what I want to hear… well, most of the time. I have one that talks back a bit, but that's part of her charm.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

Is it bad that as I'm making fake blood and heads in jars for a Halloween event, I'm envisioning specific people? I think I'm going to make my own little private hall of inside jokes. Passive-agressive venting?
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-25-2016, 12:14 PM
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

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Been there done that. Not in the same order though. Kids flew the coop, wife decided to leave. I took the dog and then he had to be put down a few months later. It sucked, all of it. But...it gets better!
You will be free to become the person you always wanted to be and you will not have to modulate any of your decisions to placate some one else's feelings. You will mourn the marriage for sure. You will miss your kids, but them leaving home was a natural part of the process and one you would have to deal with anyways. As for the dog, I do NOT recommend running out and replacing it any more than I recommend running out to replace your ex. Take the time to focus on your needs. If you get busy living your life, you will realize how unfair it is to have a dog that you won't have time for.
I agree with the above.

In addition, I had always heard the emotions after a divorce described as a roller coaster ride, and i found that to be true. It's bad at first, and then there will be good days and bad days until the good days outweigh the bad, and finally a sense of normalcy returns. Expect yourself to feel terrible for a while; I think that's natural. If one could get divorced and not feel confused and in the dumps for a while, it wasn't much to begin with. I can't say how long each of these phases will last for you, everybody is different, but it will come.

I was never technically depressed, but for a while, I'd come in and just wallow the couch with the tv on all evening after work. that may not be what everyone needs to do, but that's where I felt most comfortable(if that makes any sense). I just wanted to pull the covers over my head for a while, so to speak, but that gradually changed as time passed.

I chose not to get back into the dating pool. After the terrible wore off, I gave myself time to learn who i am as a single person. I discovered that being single doesn't bother me. I enjoy being in charge of myself and my schedule. So,

- expect to feel bad for a while; that's normal, but it will eventually subside.
- once you start having good days where you feel normal again, there will probably be more emotionally crappy days, and you may not always know what triggered them, but that was normal for me too; those days will eventually get better too.
- once you feel normal again, try to discover who you are. If you discover that you feel perfectly happy being single, for example, don't try to force getting in a relationship just because that's the norm. Do what feels good for you.

There is nothing more sad or glorious than generations changing hands- John Mellencamp
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-25-2016, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How Do you survive Divorce, Empty Nest and Dog Dieing all at once?

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I agree with the above.

- once you feel normal again, try to discover who you are. If you discover that you feel perfectly happy being single, for example, don't try to force getting in a relationship just because that's the norm. Do what feels good for you.
I can't imagine myself ever being committed enough again to actually live with someone. I don't want to say never, but I can't imagine trusting. Most of the time right now, I just want to be left alone. Or at least, left alone to do my own thing and have some peace.
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