Real Divorce Stories

Real Divorce Stories by Beth Thomson for Smart Divorce

Tamsin is joined by Beth Thomson. She tells her story, discussing no fault divorce, how the children handled the divorce, dealing with friends and how mediation works for those going through it. She offers an open insight into what it’s like to go through divorce and come out positively on the other side, having successfully achieved an amicable divorce. However, one of the things she would do differently is to ensure the finances were less woolly. If you would like any help with your financial arrangements, please get in touch by emailing tamsin@smartdivorce.co.uk.

Transcript

Tamsin
Hello, and welcome to the Smart D ivorce podcast. This podcast is for you if you’re thinking of separating, already separated or going through divorce. My name is Tamsin Caine and I’m a Chartered Financial Planner. We’ll speak to some fantastic specialists who can help you to get through your divorce hopefully amicably and start your new chapter positively. Now over to today’s guest.

In today’s episode, I’m joined by Beth Thompson. She talks about how to tell the children how she used counselling to help her to deal with everything that she was going through and how her flexible parenting plan worked. Looking back, she also reflects on wishing that she had got the financial arrangements clearly settled and agreed and really fixed down. If you’re in a position where you’re looking at divorcing and you need any help with sorting out the financial arrangements of that divorce, please do get in touch with me. You can contact me at Tamsin@smartdivorce.co.uk – I’d be absolutely delighted to have a chat with you and see how we can help.

Good morning and welcome to the smart divorce podcast. I’m delighted to be joined today by Beth Thompson. Hi, Beth. How are you?

Beth
Hey, Tamsin. I’m fine, thanks. How are you?

Tamsin
I’m alright, thank you. So shall we start off by… probably easier for you to introduce yourself and just tell us a bit about your current situation?

Beth
Sure. So I am 47, I am married, got two girls of my own and two stepdaughters ageing down from 20 to 18 to 16 down to 11. All girls

Tamsin

Got your hands full! Do they all live with you?

Beth
No.My girls live with me and my stepdaughters live in a different country actually.

Tamsin
That would make it a little easier I guess, but..

Beth
In some ways, yeah.

Tamsin
Yeah, I guess

Beth
The holidays are busy!

Tamsin
I can only imagine. So how long ago did you get divorced?

Beth
So, I separated from my first husband nine years ago, and we we did an amicable separation fortwo years. And then we we got our divorce after that. So we’ve been officially divorced for seven years. But separated for nine.

Tamsin
Did you wait two years to avoid accusing one person of something?

Beth
Yeah, there was no, there was no fault in our divorce. We just didn’t want to be married anymore.

Tamsin
Yeah, absolutely. It’s… It’s interesting. We’ve been talking quite a lot about the legislation that’s going through Parliament at the moment. Well, has been going through Parliament for quite a long time now because things keep getting in the way, like COVID and Brexit. Various other things. But yeah, I do think it’ll make a massive difference to people in the same sort of situation because you won’t have to wait the two years. Do you think you would have done… Do you think you would have waited two years anyway?

Beth
No. And I have thought every now and again about whether or not I would have changed things, have we had the option to?At the time, I would absolutely have wanted to have been divorced faster.But I think actually, it meant that when we did actually divorce, everything was much less stinging, I suppose, everything.. that a lot of the emotion had gone out of it. It was just by then it was just fact. So it actually made things easier in a way.

Tamsin
So yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it that you’re not the first to say that either. That yeah, we waited the two years because of the fault thing, but actually, it was probably a good thing that we had to. Interesting. So from the point that you agreed separate, do you wanna tell us your story?

Beth
Sure. So we, we both lived in the same house whilst we were separating, which was not very easy. And that changed a little a few times there and back. So he moved out for a while and then came back and then moved out again and then stayed, moved out. So I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone, but it was just the situation we found ourselves in. And so we agreed to separate. It was at my request, but it was… it wasn’t a surprise, it was something we’d already spoken about. So it was me that had instigated that. But from that point on, we then decided not to tell the kids or anyone else, for a couple of months because it was nearly the end of school. And I just… my kids at that time were seven and nine. So I just wanted them to get to the summer holidays. So that we had a bit more time as a family to come to terms with it rather than them having to go into school and face their friends and other people asking questions. Because kids are kids, and that’s what they’ll do. And parents are parents and that’s what they do too. So yeah, so we didn’t tell the children until the holidays had begun so that they were with us and only us. And then we really had a two year period where we did our best at joint parenting and kind of riding the emotional roller coaster that happened because we tried. We did try some therapy, some counselling, just to take again the sting out of the whole situation because whilst it was not unexpected, it’s still- there is still things that come up that you would rather you were able to handle better. And of course much to say try not to; people’s friends will take sides and I actually found other people more problematic than my ex husband. Everybody has an opinion! And so we… we then sold our house after. It took a year to sell it. So for that period of time, we pretty much lived together in the house, give or take a couple of months. And then I moved into rented property. And my ex husband moved in with his parents until he was able to rent something as well. And then, from then on, the actual process itself was relatively easy. We did have a mediation session, where we used a lady called Maura McKibben, who just was very, she was just very factual and very helpful actually with us. And because we weren’t throwing mud at each other because I am financially independent, and therefore wasn’t, you know, reliant on his income for my own house to manage itself, then it was quite easy for us to make an agreement. You know, we both focus very strongly on the children. And they were absolutely the key really to holding it all together. You know, whenever things risks getting a little out of hand, you just have to remind yourself that you know, the kids don’t choose this. And you know, you don’t ask them to, to get involved and you don’t want them to get involved. And whilst they were seven and nine, you know, there were questions that would come along every now and again, but actually, you know, I tried to make it so that it was never that they couldn’t see their dad or they couldn’t see me. You know, it was always choices that they were able to make so that if they decided one Sunday afternoon, they desperately needed to see dad then, that’s, that’s what they did. And we stayed living in the same village. So that also made life a bit easy.

Tamsin
Yeah, absolutely. A couple of things that are really interesting about what you’ve said. So you waited a couple months to tell the kids when, when you told them, and obviously you were all together the four of you, which obviously may made things easier by the sound of it. It wasn’t a surprise to the two of you but how did the children handle it? Because I think this is something that parents worry about. I mean, after the initial presumably it was initial, an initial shock, but…

Beth
Well it’s really funny looking looking back on it now. Funny is a strange word to use, but it’s really interesting looking back on it now because obviously my elder daughter is 18 now, I can chat quite easily with her about it now. And she, she tells me that she doesn’t really remember it. She remembers thinking, oh my god, I’m going to be the only person in my class with divorced parents. I know, all the stuff that’s important to a nine year old, apparently. And she remembers not understanding really, why we wanted to get divorced because we didn’t. You know, we didn’t sugarcoat it, but neither did we tell the children things that just weren’t for their ears. You know, we just said, we didn’t want to be married anymore. And that was the line we, we kept to for the whole time. Because, you know, that’s all they need to know, there is no benefit otherwise. So my younger daughter, so bear in mind, she was seven. She was, she cried quite a lot, which was quite hard. But she then apparently, according to my assessment, she didn’t say this to me, but then apparently asked for a new bike, which would make it better.So that was, you know, I think, yeah, that was the way she went. Megan was my elder daughter was a little bit more sensitive about it. She is the more sensitive child like that anyway. And obviously, as the older child, she was a little more aware of things. But really, there was some actually I think we probably cried a lot more than they did. Because it’s not what you dream of for your children, it’s not what you dream of when you have children. It’s not what you dream of when you get married, nobody goes into a marriage or, or into being a parent thinking, yeah, I’m going to absolutely blow your world apart. You know, and that’s what you feel like you’re doing. The reality looking back on it nine years later, is that they have a brilliant life. They have a brilliant life. They’ve got two parents that adore them, a stepdad that adores them, and you know, all of their family are able to interact together very well. But you know, but at the time, it felt like we were just exploding that that little world that you’ve kind of protected them in. So yeah, it wasn’t something I’d really re-live quite happily, put it that way.

Tamsin
I totally understand that. I think that when you’re… when you haven’t done it yet, and you’re preparing to do it. You perhaps make… you prepare yourself for something that’s that’s worse than it ends up being I’m not saying it’s not painful for a short while, but certainly my experience my kids were quite resilient and bounced back quite quickly. And like yours have, you know, have a pretty good life now. And my son actually comments that men, his dad get on better now than when we left together, which is interesting. Scary what they observe? Certainly, certainly! You also mentioned that you had some counselling. Did you do that as a couple or did you go separately?

Beth
Both. So we, we went to Relate initially, but if I’m entirely honest, we were about two years too late to going to relate.

Tamsin
I’m sure that’s often the case.

Beth
Yeah. And it’s not as easy as you would think either to get to Relate appointment. I didn’t realise they were quite as busy as they were. So we waited as well. So that was quite difficult. That was in the run up to it. And then by the time we got there, it was, it was already a done deal in my head, I’m afraid. And, you know, there was nothing that we haven’t tried before. And when we spoke to the counsellor, she just said, I wish you’d come two years ago. And, you know, I think we, we all felt that although, you know, things have worked out very nicely I think at the time.We felt that. I went to counselling them for – on my own – for about a year and a half actually. Because it is really difficult. And you know, the mothers role, it doesn’t matter how much you like to say that the role belongs to both people. The mother’s role is you know, you protect your kids that dad’s role also they protect their kids, but the mums role, you know, is that softer nurturing. I’m not particularly soft actually, as you know, but you know that nurturing role you do everything in your power to stop them getting hurt by anything, you know, beestings, never mind anything else. And then I felt incredibly responsible because it was me who had asked specifically to get a divorce. And I felt very responsible and felt that I had brought this enormous pain on them. So it took a long time, in counselling for me to reconcile the fact that actually, I had a right to do what was better for me. And that actually the children benefit much more from having a happy mom and a happy dad, whether that means that they are happy married to each other or whether they are happy separately. So yeah, I yeah, I spent a lot of money on counselling. I wasn’t doing anything else. So it was fine.

I think a lot of people feel that and, and I know a lot more people are having counselling to get through divorce than I had anticipated that I would find, which is interesting because I do think in the UK, particularly we don’t we’re not very good at telling people that we have counselling and we’ve needed help, and that it’s an okay thing to do. It’s kind of like, well, we’ll keep that private and quiet and not tell anyone because they might think we’re nuts. Yeah, but actually, lots more people are having this help them work through things that are not sitting right with them. I have to be honest, I genuinely was a bit nervous about telling people I was having counselling because I thought there was a risk that people would look and think I wasn’t coping with the children, and that I wasn’t coping, and therefore that they might have to go live with the dad. And that wasn’t the case. It was just that I found… it really is a blame thing I felt incredibly responsible for what had happened to their little lives.

Tamsin
Yeah, absolutely. Now totally. I can totally understand that. And I think maybe.. maybe both parents feel like that. I’m not sure whether it’s just a mom thing.

Beth
I don’t either. But you know, according my ex husband, I think that we both beat ourselves up equally. For the way things happened. And you know, that gradual decline that happens in a marriage, and if you don’t stop it quickly enough, it goes past the point where you can stop it and yeah, you know, but I think that there’s definitely Yeah, I don’t think he – wellI know – he never sat there and blamed me or, you know, that would have been far too easy. I think we both look back retrospectively over the, over the 11 years that we’ve been married, and knew we could have done a better job, I think.

Tamsin
Yeah, yeah. Interesting. And so you, you said you spoke to a mediator and we’ve, we work quite a lot with Maura, I know her quite well. It would be really, in fact, we’ve done a podcast with her.. it would be really interesting to know, to hear, what it was like from the other side, because we’ve spoken to Maura about what mediation is like from mediator’s perspective, but would you be prepared to just give us a bit of an idea of what it was like from from a couple’s perspective?

Beth
Sure. So I spoke to Maura on my own and then we went together as a couple to to speak with her. I thought what was… I thought it was going to be very difficult. But you’re not going in there for her to make things better in your marriage. She’s not there to fix you. She’s there to help, like shine lights in the right places so that you know how to progress with as little angst or conflict as possible. And what she did for us was to point out the areas which would be potentially inflammatory and to pour very calming oil on them. So she was she was very useful for us and we only saw her for one or maybe two sessions. I think, you know, it was that. Not “clear”. But yeah, actually, yeah, it was that clear to us. Once she’d explained what we needed to do. Now, like I said, I realised that there are different fixes for different people because, you know, it depends on how your relationship is and what your financial situation is, etc, etc. But she was just really clear. She had some brilliant books which she had suggested to us, which I have subsequently suggested to other people, which were about where the focus needs to be. And basically, her input allowed us to just make it very practical and very, okay, these are the things we are absolutely not going to do. We’re not fighting in front of the kids, we are not making this anything to do with winning any outcomes. You know, this is about making it so that we can still move forward as a family unit. We just don’t live in the same house anymore. And making sure that the children always felt that we had still got that family unit, even though he and I weren’t married anymore. Because that is actually I think one of the hardest things, you know, there’s a real temptation, especially where there’s anger or vitriol that there’s a real temptation for people to lock themselves away with their kids. And that’s their new family unit. It’s all about them. And actually, that might help you as the mother or the father, but it certainly doesn’t help your kids. And I just think she was very helpful in outlining the different ways that we could go about it, because we didn’t know anything, obviously not practised in divorce. And so she was really helpful and just saying, Okay, these are the ways you could do it. This is… this is what I would recommend you do as a, as a couple in terms of, you know, getting your heads around these areas, and reinforcing the positives. So, you know, we both took a lot from those meetings, and as I say, you know, we’ve ended up with a very amicable relationship where I can ring him about the kids or anything else. And he can do the same to me. And like I said, we live in the same village, we still know all the same friends. So, you know, it’s… it’s one of those things where if we had had a animosity filled divorce, I don’t think that would be the case. I think one of us would have been very tempted to move even though we’ve both grown up here.

Tamsin
Yeah, no, I think you’re absolutely right. So when you were talking about the children and how you would both spent time with them? Did you have a kind of structured parenting plan? Or was it was… it much more fluid than that?

Beth
So like I said, before, we… I have never ever stopped the kids from seeing the dad. And he has never stopped them from seeing me. You know, if one weekend you know if they were supposed to be with him, and one of the girls was particularly feeling that she needed to be with me, then that’s what happened, you know, he would have one of them, and I would have the other and this, you know, it was never up to us to ship them off. It was up to them to want to be where they were. So I mean, now that they’re older, they pick and choose what they do. But when they were younger, I did want to have some structure to it, because I wanted to make sure that they spent time with their dad. It would be very easy to just spend time with me. Because I was the scheduler and the planner, and you know, the one who knew where they needed to be from a childcare perspective where they needed to be from schools and clubs. And you know, I was the one that coordinated all of that. And so it would have been very easy to just say, well, you have to be with me, but actually we did… so they used to spend every Tuesday night with the dad. He would then take them school on the Wednesday morning. And then they would come back to me after school on Wednesday and we’d do every other weekend. So, I also travelled for my job. So when I was travelling, the girls would then go and stay with him. So again, that made life quite nice because it was quite nice and balanced. Sometimes they’d stay with him for a week or 10 days if I was travelling in India or something, so it just, you know, they had a bit of variation

Tamsin
Structured’ish.

Beth
Structured to the liberal side

Tamsin
Yeah, it does, it does change as you get older and somebody asked this of me the other day about well, you know, if you put these plans into place for their children, are they like that forever and they are just not because once the kids get to a certain age, if they don’t want to do it, they’re not gonna do it anyway.

Beth
And I think the only the only obligation is a, you know, any type of court ordered structure. You know, and I think those ones you probably have to have a little bit of a different agreement with but I think when you’re doing like we did and I think for most people that I know actually, when it first happens, that structure is really important to the kids because they need to know when they’re going to see the dad. And you know, it’s chaotic for the kids as well. You know, we had so many examples of, you know, my PE kit was in the wrong house or, you know, my trainers are in the wrong house or my work homework was in the wrong house, you know, and that’s not their choice. They didn’t choose to have two houses, and you can’t expect a seven year old to be really organised. So it required a level of organisation from us but also a level of flexibility that said, I am going to be driving that hockey stick to school at 7:30am or I am going to be ferrying over some clean kit, you know, at 930 at night when the kids have suddenly realised and panicked, and you know, and that was something I was prepared to do, because like I say they didn’t choose to have two homes. And maybe that’s me being a bit soft. But also, it made me feel better. And it made them feel better.

Tamsin
So I don’t think it’s you being soft. You’ve just described every divorced mom and, and a good proportion in the divorce stats that I spend considerable amount of time just driving between the two houses when the children aren’t with them.

Beth
Yeah, absolutely.

Tamsin
Absolutely. I think that’s the nature of the beast. So in terms of finances, did you agree everything yourself? Did you have a lawyer to draw a settlement and send it to get rubber stamped to court or how did you deal with those sorts of things

Beth
So we didn’t have a lawyer at all, we did everything ourselves. So the reason being that it was fairly black and white. You know, we have the equity from the house. I had my salary he had his, I drew up a spreadsheet, which had all of the children’s costs in it. And the proportion that was likely to be shouldered by me and then shouldered by him, and we agreed on an amount that would sustain us. At the time he had a different level of earnings than I did. So over time actually, that’s come down quite substantially with agreement from me, it’s not been just been a dictate we’ve, you know, we’ve had very civil discussions about it. So we had to include what the financial arrangement was in our paperwork that was submitted to the court. But they didn’t have to rubber stamp it. They just have to know that we had made an arrangement. And that has never been legally binding, as far as I know. I mean, I’ve never questioned it and neither has he, but it was what we both thought was fair. And for the well, I say that because I’m the one being paid it, but maybe he didn’t – have to ask him. But, but he has asked three times to reduce it for various reasons. And as you know, my salary has also increased. So it’s been something I can tolerate. But again, I’m fairly independent, like that. And so the minute I knew I was going to be self-sufficient I adjusted all of my budgets accordingly and was never reliant on that money that was coming in from him. I never wanted to be, it’s a kind of stubborn thing that I have. So, and it’s still the case now, so everything I do is within my budget of what I can afford, and then I’m not reliant on anyone else’s income.

Tamsin
Yeah. I think it’s quite as unusual. I suppose. It’s quite an unusual and it’s quite an unusual situation, I guess. But, yeah, I can I can completely understand. Because I think I deal with things similarly. So how long did things take from after? I know you had the two year separation. Once you decide once you are kind of past that and ready to start applying for the formal divorce process, how long did that take?

Beth
Gosh, now you’re asking- I think it was about 12 weeks. I don’t think, so I had to go, I had to go to … so I printed out all the papers. He had to fill them in, I had to fill them in. And then they had to be submitted to the court. And then we just had to wait. And actually the thing that took the time, so there was a slight delay in that. He wouldn’t sign them for a while. And I think, you know, we’d both been tootling along quite happily in our separated state. And we were both seeing other people. But I think there is a finality of that paperwork that was quite emotional.

Tamsin
Yeah, definitely.

Beth
So I think you know that that was, that was the hardest part really getting the signed paperwork and not getting frustrated because I’m really process oriented. So you know, I’m just like, Okay, well, this is the deadline, and this is what we need to do. And, you know, quite practical like that. And so the emotional side of it was kind of hidden away for me, whereas for him, he found that quite final. And so it took a little longer, but then once it was submitted in court, no questions came back. I just got told I could go up to court and pick up the things with the stamps. And that was it. It was done.

Tamsin
Yeah, fab!

Beth
It was. I mean, it was easier than applying for parking permit in Trafford.

Tamsin
Lots of things are easier than claiming for a parking permit in Trafford. So looking back, how…is there anything that you would have done differently?

Beth
Yeah, I think so. I think, like we spoke about right at the beginning, I think in the emotion of the time, if we’d been able to have a no fault divorce, I’d have just gone straight to that. At the time, because I, I just wanted, I wanted to move on, and I wanted to change my life and the life that the girls were living and for the better, and I felt that was the way to do it. Actually, in hindsight, it probably allowed us to take all of the sting out over that two year period. And so the divorce itself was much, much more simple. I think. I’m really lucky my ex husband’s a really decent guy and therefore, he hasn’t taken me, you know, for a fooll with money or anything like that, but I think I’ve probably been very lucky like that. I think if I did it again, with a more sensible head on, I’d probably be more protective of that settlement that was agreed. And a bit clearer because now that my daughter is 18, it’s all a bit woolly. Yeah, you know, did it stop the day she turned 18? Does it stop when she finishes school? Does it stop when she finishes university? You know, so it’s all, it’s all very tenuous now. So, I think I would have done that better. I’d have clarified those things. But you know, I’ve never read a divorce settlement agreement before. So you know, and I didn’t ask for help from anyone. Because actually, I was the first in my group of friends to get divorced. There wasn’t anyone I felt I could really ask. But to get divorced with children, I have to be honest, I knew a few people who were divorced before they’d had kids. So yeah, I think maybe I could have protected myself a little better like that. But as it’s happened, I haven’t needed to. But if I did it again, I think I would probably do that. Just make sure that the finances were tied down a little better.

Tamsin
Yeah. Yeah. No, I totally get that. So how has your divorce changed things for you now. So, obviously, you’re remarried. And so I’m not talking from that focus. I kind of… Is there anything that specifically changed about you that you’ve done differently in the light of having got divorced?

Beth
At the beginning, I really struggled with that whole being single again thing. And I wish I could go back and talk to myself and just say: “you’re fine.” It’s still you, you just you with that or wedding band on, you know, but at the time I found it really difficult. I think I felt people looked at me differently. Because I was a, you know, a divorcee and my kids, you know, had a single mom, you know, even though they didn’t have a single mom, they still have both their parents. We just weren’t married, but I… it was definitely my impression rather than how people treated me but I did feel that way. I also think… so I took, I took to hiding a little bit when I got separated from him. Just because I couldn’t handle the questions. I just, you know, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business. Nobody knows what goes I’m in another marriage doesn’t matter how many times your best friend has told you what’s a swine her husband is or, you know how unreasonable he is or whatever it is. Nobody knows. You don’t know until you live in that marriage and I think… so I hid because I didn’t…I didn’t think it was anyone else’s business what had gone on in our marriage, but my God, everybody else thought it was their business. So I think if I had done things differently, I would have liked to have been a little braver about the fact that I don’t feel ashamed that we got divorced and a little more vocal in the fact that it was nobody else’s business. And I kind of let myself be cowed a little bit by other people’s opinion and I think I really wish you know, the me of now would turn around and say, “I don’t care what you think. PS what business is it of yours?” But I didn’t feel brave enough at the time and I really wish I had done because the one person that I did have the guts to say to subsequently, and just that they had no, just haven’t realised at all how inappropriate it was to be asking the questions they were asking and how offensive it was to question whether I was serious about this divorce whether I’d really thought it through. I mean, how insulting is that?

Tamsin
I’ve interestingly spoken to another another divorcee recently and she said actually the biggest impact on her at the time and now was the reaction of her friends to a few whom arrived with I think she said vodka – I think vodka is her thing – but arrived with vodka and cake and and kind of when it will be fine, let’s just have a nice night out. And the others were like, “Well, you know, marriage is hard. You need to work at these things”. But it’s interesting, the reactions of the people.

Beth
Yeah, yeah, it definitely. It is definitely something that people say, I think without really thinking of what they are saying when they say it. Because if you genuinely question somebody’s massively life changing decision, and whether they’re doing it on a whim and whether they’ve really thought things through. I think it’s quite insulting both to their intelligence but also to the amount of protection that they put around their family and their kids.

Tamsin
Yeah, absolutely. I think there’s a massive danger that we’re all under the kind of Facebook family, you know, everybody else’s lives look so perfect on Facebook and

Beth
The cinema reel you mean.

Tamsin
Yeah, and you have no idea what’s going on behind the surface and, and some of those, some of the families that look the happiest on there, you know, probably having horrendous times underneath the surface and like you say you will, you will never, ever have a proper insight into somebody else’s marriage unless you’re, unless you’re inside it. So, yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And so one piece of advice you would give to a friend who’s in the early stages of separation?

Beth
Be careful who you speak with. So, my, you know, your divorce is between you and your husband. And it’s completely natural to talk to your friends. But I think that… we had it on both sides actually. So my ex would agree with this as well, I think that we both spoke with people. Very candidly, you know, it’s very raw right at the beginning. Because no matter how much of it’s unexpected, how much of it is expected, or you know, the way things have gone, it’s still.. it hurts really, really hurts don’t be under any illusion. And we both spoke with people and then we live in a village. You know, people talk, and they either talk to their husbands who then talk to their friends or they talk to their wives who then talk to their friends or they talk to their parents who then talk to their friends. And you get this kind of Chinese whispers that happens. Well, I heard that he thinks that or the other way around, and we both had to put a stop to it to the point where one of my husband’s friends had very unhelpfully said that I was on Facebook bad mouthing him and what have you. So he in event, he wasn’t on Facebook at the time, and he eventually went to my best friend’s house, who’s also really good friend of hers, and just said, you know, what she’s saying, and she was like, “Oh my god, she’s not saying anything”. So she just opened up my Facebook and showed him everything. And it’s just complete baloney. But, you know, you’re both in a very wounded place. I also had a rumour that came the other way around, you know, he said that he never really trusted you or blah, blah, blah, you know, whatever it was. And when you you have to peel back those layers and talk to the only other person who knows about these things. You know, he spoke then to my best friend but then then did speak to me and said, I’m really sorry, but this was what I was told and I was really upset and, and and I had to do the same, because you still got to have each other’s back in a way because you are the only two that know and everybody else has just rumours. So I would just say, you know, don’t forget that you do need to have their back and do be careful what you believe when you hear it, and who you talk to, because it’s just, it’s hard enough. It’s already hard enough, you know, you don’t need to add any other vinegar to that very, very open wound.

Tamsin
Yeah, no, I totally agree with that. And that open wound is you know, carries on, it’s still you know, still there. I’ve we’ve talked to a number of people who’ve been divorced quite a long time and you know, it’s it’s still hard kind of dragging it up even afterwards but you do come through and kind of start afresh but yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. People that you choose to tell your story to and open your heart to you kind of do have to be quite selective.

Beth
Yeah, and I think people forget as well, there are real people being affected by this, you know, it’s not a story that you’ve read in, you know, some magazine, or at least, you know, these are real people going through this and you’re, you know, if ever I am asked to a pine on anything, you know, in social circles, sos and so says getting divorced and… Did you know… I just say, you know, where you married to them? And they say no. And I’m like right, well, that’s where the conversation stops, isn’t it then? I think everyone will be a lot better off because, you know, you just need to leave it but also I think it’s really important to remember that there is a life after divorce. And, yes, I’ve remarried I’m very happy that I did. But I did come out of divorce saying I was never ever going to get married and so be flexible and allow things to change. But also, there is you know that there is a part of it you will always carry, you know, he is the father of my children. I don’t not see him, obviously. And do I wish things had turned out differently? Actually now: No, because of the way things have turned out but at the time… Yes, I absolutely wish we’d done something earlier but we didn’t and we couldn’t and therefore, you know, you’ve just got to move on. There’s nothing healthy comes from rehashing it all the time. And there are… it catches you out. Sometimes I think even now, like nine years later, there will be times when you know, something that girls will innocently say, will either properly raffle me depending on how hard my day at work’s been. It’ll either really rattled me or it might upset me, and I will now I’ll have to said you know, I don’t want to hear stuff like that. Or, you know, can you can you just not make that part of the conversation with me, you know, because, you know, I don’t know, it’s just you’re not umbilical cord cutting, you know, there’s still something tenuous that’s there, because he’s the father of my children. So, you know, what he does and what he says will still affect me sometimes. And, and that doesn’t stop just by divorcing him.

Tamsin
Yeah, no, absolutely. Totally agree. Is there anything else that you would like to add? Before we finish up?

Beth
I don’t think so. I think. Yeah, I think just just always, always go into it understanding that the reason you are doing this is because it’s the thing that you feel is right for you and for your children. And it doesn’t stop being right just because some people don’t agree with it. You know, only you can make your family unit with your kids. You and your husband or ex husband. That’s it.

Tamsin
Yeah, that’s good advice.

Beth
Actually I read something that said, your children will take their lead from you. And so if you and your husband approach this divorce with a lack of animosity and a lack of stress as much as possible, then that’s how the kids will approach it too. If you approach it as a high drama, you know, high ander then that’s how they will approach it. My 18 year old said, only a couple of weeks ago, she just randomly turned around and said, I don’t ever feel that my life has been ever, like disadvantaged, you know, because you and dad got divorced. I was like “good!” Gave myself a little pat on the back, walked away with a big grin on my face because I’ve obviously been determined that I’ve ruined their lives by getting divorced. So actulally you know, don’t assume. Don’t assume that you have or that you will.

Tamsin
That’s pretty, pretty good success story to end the podcast on. Thank you so much for joining me today and telling your story.

Beth
It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Tamsin
Thank you for listening to the Smart Divorce podcast. If you’d like details of our guest today or of myself so you can get in touch, please check out the programme notes. Many thanks, see you again soon!