We never know what turn our life will take. We may plan and work for goals only to find them attacked by the very one we thought was our most treasured ally.
After living a dream life for forty years I learned nearly half had been a charade. In his own words, "I'm a chameleon. I put on the face I need for whoever I'm standing in front of."...then followed over a decade of fear, blame, and readjustment.
Growing up in a Leave-It-To-Beaver-kind of family I married a childhood friend. At the age of forty with a 3 & 6 year old he demanded a divorce. Thus ended the 40-year dream. We patched the marriage, he continued the secret affairs, and then we divorced.
I found myself nearing fifty, a single mom with two teenagers to support, savings depleted, and out of the work force for nearly twenty years. There were no alphabets after my name to market my re-entry to corporate America. There was an incredibly, unnecessarily expensive and litigious divorce. Instant on the job training.
This divorce included 2 county courts, 6 judges, 6 attorneys, 6 years in litigation, 5 mediators, 2 psychologists, unknown number of private investigators and sorts, several sheriffs, 1 year of probation for him, and for me, over $70K and 3 years living anonymously.
Today I own a website which provides information and help to those overwhelmed by divorce. I consult privately and hold small seminars by invitation.
What do I tell my clients? How to divorce wisely. There are three players in a divorce: the two spouses and the law. We only control one--ourselves. We may discuss the limitations of a restraining order and how to live privately and safely. How courts really view the children in a divorce. What to say...or not...to everyone about your divorce. How to help your children heal. What to expect from your attorney and what they'll expect from you. Wording in custody that will make life better for your children.
My dream life? The dream became reality. I remarried after five years and for the first time enjoy the genuine love I grew up knowing...not a the façade of a chameleon's.