5 Ways to Find Yourself Again

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  • January 4, 2022

Divorce can challenge the essence of our identity as we move from married life to single life.  Sometimes we don’t even recognize ourselves anymore. If you’re feeling a little lost, here are five ways to rediscover yourself and reclaim your happiness.

1)Recapture the Joy of Your Youth.

Think back to your childhood. What did you enjoy doing? Is there an adult version of that? Take a moment to revisit all the positive experiences of your youth.  What events did you like attending? What hobbies did you have? What types of activities did you participate in? What special interests did you explore? What holidays, traditions and celebrations did you most look forward to? Can you re-create them now as an adult? If you were a high school soccer star, think about joining an adult soccer league. Was art always your favorite subject in school? Sign up for a painting class.  Did you love playing outside? Find activities to do in the fresh air like hiking or biking.  What brought us joy as a child can be rekindled in our adult lives.

2)Get Out the Old Photo Albums.

Go back in time and reminisce with old photo albums.  Through pictures, you can revisit the events in your life that have made you uniquely you! Seeing images of ourselves over the years, helps us connect with our life’s journey.  What revelations will unfold as you turn the pages? As we become the observers of our own lives, we will get to know ourselves on another level.

3)Talk to Your Loved Ones.

Survey your friends and family. If you are feeling lost or sad, your loved ones are always good for reminding you of how special you are. Ask them questions.  What was I like as a kid? What do you think I’m good at? What do you consider my best traits? What do you like about me? What are three words you would use to describe me? What do you think makes me happy? If I were an animal, what would I be and why? If I were a color, a food, a tree, a car, etc. We can often find ourselves by reconnecting with the people who know us best.

4)Take Inventory of Your Values.

What standards do you live by? What are your core morals and values? Really think about this, then make a list of all your values.  Are you behaving consistently with your values? If you value friendship, are you actively cultivating and nurturing your relationships? If you value spirituality, are you taking time out to worship and pray and connect with your higher power? If you value success, are you working hard toward your goals?  If you value good health, are you living a fit lifestyle?  An overall sense of fulfillment and calmness is achieved when we live in accordance with our values and beliefs.

5)Unlock Your Dreams.

What did you dream about as a child? How have those dreams changed over the years? Which dreams did you fulfill? What are your dreams now? What do you want for your future? What excites you? What do you look forward to? What kind of life would you like to create for yourself? Defining our dreams gives us something to strive for and something to look forward to.  The human spirit is lifted by purpose and progress.

5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays

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  • November 2, 2021

It’s that time of year again. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is often approached with a combination of dread and cheer.  Add a divorce to the mix, and the holidays can turn into a complicated mess. Here are five ways to save the celebrations.

1)Plan Ahead and Stick to the Plan

The holidays are such a hectic time, especially when you no longer have a partner to rely on for help. You can avoid some of the chaos by having a good plan in place. Don’t wait for the last minute to figure out all the details. If you are hosting, keep a daily calendar and schedule what has to get done by when. Assigning a deadline and time slot for each chore makes things so much more manageable and will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. Sticking to the plan will also help you maintain your sanity. If you have planned out your menu, don’t go to the supermarket and buy 50 other things not on your menu. If you planned to clean the house on Tuesday, don’t wait until Wednesday.  If you planned dinner for 5pm and Uncle Fred is running late, dinner is still at 5pm.

2)Communicate with Your Ex

Even if you are not on the best of terms, try to maintain the holiday spirit with your ex. Put any bitterness and resentment aside.  You want to enjoy this time of year without that heavy weight on you. If you have children, honor the terms that were set forth in your divorce agreement concerning parenting times during the holidays. Make sure you and your ex communicate clearly about plans. Who will have the kids when? Set firm pick-up and drop-off times. Find out what festivities they will be participating in. You may also want to discuss gift giving in advance to make sure your kids don’t receive duplicate gifts. And remember, gift giving is not a competition between you and your ex. The most valuable gifts— gifts of time, attention and love—are heartfelt and free.  If you will be without your kids, don’t sabotage their time with their other parent. Work together to ensure your children have a joyous holiday.

3)Combine Old and New Traditions

If you are newly divorced, holidays can be especially rough. The family unit has changed and everything seems different now. This may leave you wondering how to celebrate. Think about all your family traditions. Keep the ones you actually enjoy and toss the ones where you feel like you would just be going through the motions. Maintaining some of your old traditions will add to your sense of stability, while creating new traditions can signify your fresh new start. Sounds like a good combination!  Of course, let your kids have a say too. They may cherish traditions from past holidays and simultaneously enjoy coming up with their own new traditions.

4)Remember What’s Important

Don’t put pressure on yourself for the holidays to be perfect. It’s not all about fancy meals and presents and decorations and parties. Remember the true meaning of the holidays. Revisit the origins of whatever holiday you are celebrating. Pause and connect with that. Then, ask yourself what are you truly thankful for? Grateful for? Even in the midst of divorce, we have blessings to count.

5)Know Your Limits

Holidays stir up all sorts of emotions and expectations.  Allow yourself time to adjust to your new life circumstances. If you aren’t feeling very festive this year, that’s ok. Know your limits and set boundaries accordingly. It’s ok to turn down invites. It’s ok to say you’re not up for hosting. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok if you don’t get holiday cards out. It’s ok if you’re feeling blah.  It’s ok to say no to family and friends.  If you are having a case of the holiday blues this year, just remember there’s always next year and there will be plenty to celebrate in the future.

5 Things to Consider When Telling Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

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  • August 5, 2021

5 Things to Consider When Telling Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

Telling your spouse you want a divorce is one of the most difficult conversations you will ever have.  Be prepared. Enter this discussion with your thoughts organized and your emotions in check.  This conversation can have a long-lasting impact, setting the tone for your divorce process as well as your life post-divorce. Here are five things to consider when telling your spouse you want out.

1)Keep the Conversation Simple and Brief.

Chances are your spouse is already aware of your marital issues, so there is no need to re-hash every problem and argument you’ve ever had. Remember, this is an initial conversation. There will be many more divorce discussions to follow. Don’t overwhelm yourself or your spouse at this time by reliving your entire past or by trying to figure out your entire future.

2)Find the Right Time and Place.

Try to be tactful concerning when and where this discussion will take place. Seek a calm, quiet setting free from distractions and interruptions. No phones!  Obviously, children should not be present. Be cognizant of the timing. Is your spouse more approachable in the morning or the evening? Are there other stressful issues or important events going on in your partner’s life right now?  Stay clear of holiday times, birthday weeks, and other major life events. Negative associations can deepen and prolong the hurt for years to come.

3)Avoid Blaming, Threatening and Criticizing.

These tactics will just fuel anger and other nonproductive, defensive behaviors. Your spouse is already feeling vulnerable and under attack. There is no need to further heighten emotions.  Soften the blow with “we” statements.  Some examples: We can’t seem to make this marriage work any longer; We can’t go on like this, it’s not good for either one of us; We need to find a way to peacefully end this; We both know this marriage is not working.  Avoid blaming statements beginning with “you.”   In addition, avoid superlatives such as “you always…” or “you never…”  Remember, your goal is to end your marriage as peacefully as possible, not start a war.

4)Stay Calm. 

Prepare for and respect your spouse’s reactions, which can vary greatly depending upon whether they were blindsided by your decision to divorce or expecting it. Your spouse may immediately shut down or may bombard you with questions, insults or threats.  Be prepared to maintain your composure even if they lash out. Regardless of their initial response, your spouse deserves an explanation. Fairly answer questions, but don’t engage if a battle ensues. You have already made your decision to divorce. You are no longer fighting for your marriage, so hang up the gloves.  No need to test emotions and waste energy fruitlessly trying to prove your position. Break the cycle of conflict. Release the need to be right. Release the urge to retaliate.  Agree to disagree. Most importantly, be kind. Remember, at one point in your life, this person meant everything to you.

5)Be Firm.

When confronted by divorce, your spouse may promise to change, or plead for one more chance, or try to convince you that divorce is not the answer.  If you have already weighed this decision over and over again for months or years and are absolutely sure this is what you truly need and want, don’t waiver.  Be firm about your decision. Don’t allow yourself to be persuaded or guilted back into a relationship you no longer want. Hold your ground and don’t give your spouse false hope.

5 Ways to be Bold and Blossom

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  • May 6, 2021

5 Ways to be Bold and Blossom

As a single woman or soon-to-be single woman, it’s time to step up and take charge!  Be strong, be brave and be in control of your own life. Here are five ways to boldly blossom.

1)Set Boundaries. 

Going through a divorce is overwhelming. When your life is turned upside down and you’re being pulled in so many directions, it really helps to set boundaries.  Now more than ever, you need time for YOU.  It’s ok to say no to whatever or whomever is draining your energy.  Make a list of all the unnecessary or negative things/chores/people/obligations/responsibilities in your life that you can potentially eliminate or reduce or delegate. You don’t have to take on everything all at once.  You don’t have to tell everybody everything. You don’t have to feel pressured to do things you are not yet ready to do. Setting healthy boundaries with your ex, your children, your friends, your colleagues and your relatives will give you time and space to breathe.  While it is important to have a support system while going through your divorce, just remember, you can set the terms for your relationships and interactions.

 

2)Speak Up!

If something important is on your mind, say it.  If you’re unhappy with someone, tell them. If you have questions, ask! No one is a mind reader—not your ex, not your lawyer, not your friends, not your kids.  Speak up for what you want and need. You can make yourself understood, without being rude or hurtful.  Learn how to express and assert yourself in ways that make you feel confident, strong and heard. Your voice matters.

 

3)Remember Your Strengths.

With so many changes and transitions happening during your divorce, it’s easy to get caught up feeling vulnerable and lost. The process can be daunting and draining. Muster up the strength to keep going.  Keep going forward, even if you’re just taking baby steps for now. Keep going even when you feel like giving up. Just keep going.  Find a driving force. Recall other times in your life when the going got tough. How did you make it through? What skills, tactics, traits did you rely on? What resources were available to you? Did you plan? Did you pray? Did you ask for help? You have proven your strength and courage before. You are resilient. This is your time for a comeback!

 

4)Mimic Your Mentor.

Think about other women you admire. Do you have a role model or mentor? What about them inspires you? What characteristics and traits do they possess?  What would these special women do if they were in your shoes? How can you follow in their footsteps to accomplish your goals?  What steps did they take to be successful? To be happy? To feel complete? How have they overcome hardships? Look to those you respect and admire and then follow their path as it applies to your situation.

 

5)Stop Apologizing.

I’m sorry I’m so sensitive. I’m sorry I don’t understand. I’m sorry this happened. I’m sorry I’m not myself lately. I’m sorry I feel this way.  I’m sorry I look like this. I’m sorry I can’t make it. Who is tired of constantly apologizing? What would happen if we eliminated “I’m sorry” from all the above sentences?  We would be left with perfectly acceptable statements!  Why do we preface everything with I’m sorry?  Keep track of all the times you unnecessarily say you’re sorry.  Studies have indicated that women apologize much more frequently than men. While both sexes tend to apologize when they have clearly done something wrong, women continue to apologize even when they have done nothing wrong.  So the next time you are about to say I’m sorry, take a moment and see if you really owe an apology. You don’t need to apologize for how you feel or who you are.  Unless you have truly done something to be sorry for, forbid yourself from saying I’m sorry. You’ll be amazed how uplifting it feels to live unapologetically true to yourself.

5 Ways to Stop Obsessing About Your EX

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  • February 3, 2021

5 Ways to Stop Obsessing About Your EX

Throughout our divorce as well as post-divorce, we spend an awful amount of time thinking about, fixating on and diagnosing our ex and his behavior. Why is he the way he is? He’s a narcissist! Why did he do this or that? He’s so selfish! How come he never told me the truth? He’s a pathological liar! How could he say/do/think that? He’s crazy! What is he scheming up now? He’s such a manipulator! The internal dialogue could go on forever. Remember, you can’t fix or change or control him. Accept that fact and move on. He is no longer your problem and endlessly analyzing him and his actions will just add to your pain and frustration. Here are some tips for breaking out of the ex zone and setting the stage for a happy relationship in the future.

 

1)Make a List of Men you Like and Admire.

Even if you are fed up and disgusted with your ex and his antics, remember there are good men out there. Are there men in your life who have had a positive influence on you? Your dad? Grandfather? Uncle? Brother? Co-worker? Friend? You can also think of fictional characters from books and movies as well as historical figures. Make a list of these men. What attributes do these men share? Which character traits do you admire and why? What do you think it takes to be a good man? Integrity? Honesty? Sense of humor? Intelligence? Work ethic? Kindness? Celebrate the good men in your life and have faith that there are more out there. And if and when you feel ready to date again, raise the bar.

 

2)Realize Your Own Power.

What do you have the strength to accomplish on your own? Post-divorce, many women realize that they are capable of doing just about everything that they thought they needed their husbands for—from household chores to earning a living! What are you capable of? Put yourself to the test and never underestimate your abilities and capabilities. Mow the law. Throw the football with your son. Climb that ladder. Polish up your resume. You have what it takes to be an independent woman. Shine!

 

3)Embrace Other Relationships.

Take the time to nourish and/or create other important relationships in your life. Embrace your family and friends on a deeper level. Take time to be fully present and more involved with your family members. Attend you niece’s ballet recital. Visit your great uncle in his retirement community. Find joy in familial bonds. Likewise, rekindle those strong ties with childhood friends. There’s nothing more comforting than an old friend who has known the real you since way back when. At the same time, making new friends through divorce support groups can help you connect with other women who can totally relate to and understand your current struggles. Have an open heart to engage in numerous relationships that will provide you with a joyous sense of unity and fulfillment.

4)Focus Forward.

Do away with regrets. If you find yourself dwelling on your ex and the past, turn it into a productive exercise for moving forward. Make a list of everything positive and good that came out of your relationship. Make a list of everything you learned from that relationship. Make a list of how you have grown because of those experiences. What did you discover about yourself? About relationships? What is better about your life now? Now look at these lists and reflect upon what you have to be grateful for. Think about how you can use these experiences and insights to move powerfully forward.

5)Have a Good-Bye Party.

Throw yourself a symbolic party or hold some kind of meaningful ceremony to say good bye to your past life with your ex. Performing a ritual can help free you from the grip of your past. Come up with a meaningful activity followed by a declaration of freedom. For example, pour yourself a glass of champagne, then write a good-bye letter to your ex. Read it out load, then tear it into a million pieces and make a toast to yourself for a better tomorrow. Other ideas may include burying a wedding picture and having a “funeral” for your marriage. Or try cleansing yourself from the past in a relaxing, candle-lit bubble bath while repeating an empowering mantra for moving on. Find an activity and write an accompanying declaration that would be particularly meaningful for you. While this may seem trivial or even silly, participating in such a ritual can provide a real sense of closure. Remember this date as the day you set yourself free. Celebrate!
Please share your ideas for breaking free in the comment section below.

5 Things to Let Go of Post Divorce

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  • September 25, 2020

1)Would Haves, Should Haves, Could Haves and What Ifs

Let go of replaying all the possible scenarios from the past. What if I had only done this?  What if I had done that instead? I should have, I could have, I would have…. STOP! It doesn’t matter anymore! What’s done, is done.  In that moment, at that time, you said/did/felt what you did for a reason.  Agonizing over your past actions, reactions and decisions changes nothing.  Living in regret is debilitating.  Learn from your past, apologize when necessary, forgive yourself and possibly your X (that might take time) and move forward without these chains of regret holding you down. Stop re-living, so you can live!

 

2)Negative Feelings

Let go of feelings that rile you up. Feelings that consume your mind and tie your stomach in a knot.  It takes time to heal and time for these intense emotions to subside, especially if you were hurt or betrayed in your marriage. First, feel the anger, feel the sadness, feel the resentment. Process it, express it, release it.  Holding onto these feelings for extended periods of time is not healthy.   It’s normal to experience occasional bouts of intense emotions, but when we constantly dwell on these emotions, they’ll only fester and invade our happiness.  Make a conscious decision to choose calm.

 

3)Limiting Beliefs

Let go of your limiting beliefs that no longer serve you. First, you have to discern what those beliefs are and examine them. How did you form those beliefs? Why do you hold onto them so tightly? What do you believe about marriage? About divorce? About co-parenting? About love? About happiness? How does your present situation merge with your belief system? What purpose are your current beliefs serving? How do they make you feel? How can they be altered to make you feel better? Think about how changing your beliefs can change your life.  For example:  You can believe your divorce is a tragedy based on a belief system that says marriage is forever; or you can choose to look at divorce as an opportunity–a gift–for a new beginning.  You get to choose what to believe.

 

4)The way things were

Let go of expecting things to be the same.  Everything is different now—your marital status impacts so many important details of your life–  your finances, your living situation, your parental time, your social life, your identity.  Brace yourself and prepare for these changes.  Holidays, family gatherings and other celebrations will all be different now. Even daily life will be unfamiliar to you as a single person. A new normal will evolve.  Keep an open mind to embrace the newness of your current situation. Instead of longing for the past, have fun creating the new— new routines, new traditions, new expectations, new social circles, a new you!

5)Control

 

Let go of trying to control everything.  It’s exhausting! Somethings just have to unfold naturally. Sometimes you have to just BE.  Be in the moment. Be you. Be free from the pressure/worry/fear of having to have everything under control all the time.  It’s ok if you can’t handle everything right now. It’s ok to be temporarily out of control as you heal and adjust to your new life circumstances. And, it’s ok to ask for help.

5 Things Divorce Makes You Realize about Yourself

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  • April 12, 2020

1)You’re stronger than you ever thought.

Divorce is a traumatic event.  After the death of a loved one, divorce is ranked as the second most stressful life event one can encounter. There are daily struggles every step of the way.   From the actions, decisions and circumstances that led to the divorce, to the actual divorce proceedings, to establishing a new norm post-divorce— it’s a long bumpy road with lots of sharp curves.  You may continue to have meltdowns, but you also continue to get back up.  You prove your strength every day. Keep going!

2)You’re the best advocate for yourself and your kids.

You no longer have a partner to back you up. You realize that you are the most powerful voice for yourself and your children. So you speak up and stand up for what’s in your best interest and theirs.

3)You actually can go out alone.

At first, you may have been afraid, hesitant or too self-conscious to do things alone.  Transitioning from being a part of a couple to being solo is a big adjustment.  As time goes by, a table for one, a ticket for one or an invite for one becomes less and less awkward. You begin to realize you alone are enough.

4)You can be sad and happy at the same time.

One minute you are rejoicing about being officially done with your ex -spouse, the next minute you’re mourning the life you once had.  You’re happy.  You’re sad.  You’re happy.  You’re sad.  Happiness and sadness, anger and relief, love and hate, outrage and calm, confidence and uncertainty, despair and hope— you fluctuate between a swarm of opposing emotions.  And that’s ok!! It’s all part of the healing process.

5)You’re a survivor.
You’re still here, right? You are going to make it!

5 Ways to Escape Divorce Mode

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  • March 30, 2020

Does it sometimes feel like your divorce is taking over every aspect of your life? Consuming every second of your day?

You need a break!  While we can’t totally escape from our divorce, we can prevent it from taking over our lives 24/7.

Scheduling time to focus on your divorce will actually free you from obsessing about it all day long.  Set aside 20 minutes during the day to focus just on your divorce.  During that time, write down all your questions, fears, concerns– things you are worried/angry/sad about; things you want to talk to your lawyer about; things you need to say to your X.  Get your thoughts out and organized; create an action plan; schedule and/or make necessary calls and appointments; then END the divorce session and move on with your day.

Here are five other suggestions for taking a timeout from your divorce:

1)Establish divorce- free zones in your house.

Whether it’s your bedroom or your den, set aside a sanctuary room or cozy nook in your house where divorce is forbidden to enter. That means once you enter that safe haven, you can’t do, say, read, google, write or think about anything related to divorce.  Settle into that space and exhale.

2) Move!

When divorce thoughts start creeping in, don’t just sit there- move!  When our bodies are in motion, our energy instantly changes. Take a brisk walk. Exercise. Clean the house. Dance in your living room.  Just move and let those positive endorphins flow.

3) Surround yourself with friends and family.  

Spend time with friends and family, but don’t let it become a venting session.  Tell them ahead of time, “I need to see you, but let’s not talk about my divorce at all today.”

4)Engage your mind.

Devote some time to a task or hobby that requires your full attention.  Learn or play an instrument.   Take up a foreign language. Choose a topic you know absolutely nothing about and read up on it.  Explore a genre of literature that you’ve never read before—sci fi perhaps?   Do a puzzle. Complete a crossword. Make a craft. Cook a new recipe. Master one of your kid’s Xbox games. Research a place/city/country of interest and plan a visit.

5) Have faith.

Have faith in God, in the universe, in whatever you believe in– that everything will work out in time. Believe in the rainbow after the storm.  Make a deliberate choice to seek solace. Pray. Meditate. Journal. Slow down. Breathe. Exhale.

5 Things a Divorce Coach Can Do for You

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  • February 24, 2020

Let’s be honest. Going through a divorce stinks, but you don’t have to do it alone. Seeking the help of a trained professional can ease your journey. Here are five things a divorce coach can do for you:

1)Help you maintain your sanity
All the stressors of a divorce can make you feel like you’re losing your mind! It’s a crazy time filled with many powerful mixed emotions. A divorce coach can help you fully acknowledge and process your emotions and then help you move forward in a productive way. What a relief when the emotional drama is turned into a sane, rational process.
2)Keep you on a forward moving path
Feeling stuck? When you are overwhelmed by the many life-changing decisions you are faced with, a divorce coach can help you focus, set priorities and plan your next step toward moving ahead and getting what you want.
3)Save you time and money
As your thinking partner, your divorce coach can help you organize and prepare for the legal process and devise relevant questions for your legal team. Your divorce coach can also help you tackle the mounds of divorce-related paperwork. All this will save you time and money spent at the lawyer’s office.
4)Connect you to other professionals
Your divorce coach can provide reliable references to an entire team of professionals you will likely need throughout the divorce process and beyond. This list includes financial planners, realtors, lawyers, mediators, accountants, mortgage brokers, therapists and counselors.
5)Guide you to be your best self
Divorce brings out the worst in people. Both parties often feel vulnerable, threatened, upset and angry during this tough, life-changing transition. A divorce coach can help you maintain your integrity, release your resentments and anger and help you live in a manner true to your morals and values.

5 Things to Look Forward to

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  • January 28, 2020

When you are feeling blah, it can really help to have something special to look forward to. So get out your calendars, make some fun plans and stick to them! It doesn’t matter how simple or elaborate those plans are, just do something special every day, week, month and season! Anticipating future activities and events brightens our everyday lives.
Here are a few ideas:

Seasonal
1)Have a ritual to celebrate each new season.
Examples may include: going apple/pumpkin picking in the fall; visiting a festive holiday-themed village in the winter; strolling through your city’s botanical gardens in the spring; attending an outdoor concert at the beach or park in the summer. Traditions provide meaning and joy to our lives!

Monthly
2)Plan a date.
Pick one day a month to have a standing date with a friend or group of friends. For example, plan a lunch date at a different restaurant on the first Friday of every month.

Weekly
3) Schedule some TV Time.
Get hooked on an uplifting show or ongoing series. Disappear into that make-believe world for an hour or two every week.

Daily
4) Talk.
Schedule a daily 10 minute pick- me-up phone call with your mom or your other best friend who always knows how to make you smile. A little pep talk can lift your spirits.

Anytime
5) Plan a guilt-free day off.
Don’t let your vacation days go to waste. Get a babysitter if you have to and enjoy a full day to yourself. Unplug and do something you enjoy. Shop, go to the spa, take a hike, garden, read, make a craft, take a day trip, do something out of the ordinary, or just curl up on the couch and relax. Take time off to recharge and refresh. You deserve it!
Having something to look forward to will help you get through the day, the week, the month, the year and your divorce!

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