You don’t start to heal until you get that final divorce decree.


I received a letter from a reader who was separated for over ten years but didn’t get the divorce until a few months ago.

Here is my guarantee…all you have to do is NOT read this section and become one of those idiots I always talk about.  The one who thinks that just because you are physically separated from your ex, that that is good enough.  Sure, you didn’t give it much thought before, but you will see that you don’t really start to heal, until you get that final divorce decree.  If you don’t get the final now, when you do get the final, you will be kicked back to square one faster than you can say “let the ink dry”.

From the point I separated from my ex, it took another 18 months, not to mention racking up tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and court costs, to get divorced.  When things are contentious, it will drain your emotions, your bank account, and your soul.  Try to work out as much as you can before your court date.  Keep your eye on the end goal, which is when everything is finalized, then you can start your new life.  Fighting over the small stuff on principle just isn’t worth it in the long run.  Just cut your losses and move on.

In the state of California, there is a minimum wait period of six months after you file a divorce, to be granted a divorce.  If the divorce is completely uncontested, if there are no distribution of assets or debts, and no kids, you might be one of the lucky ones to have it go this smoothly.

The average divorce usually lasts about a year.  If it is really contentious, it can take up to five years.

Of course, you want to try everything in your power to make the marriage work before marching to divorce court.  That way, looking back on it, you will have no regrets.  Make a timeline for yourself and stick to it.  If issues cannot be resolved after xxx months (the length of time you allow depends on the seriousness of the deal breaker), it’s time to move on.

Thanks to being beaten down during my life by my mom, who repeatedly reinforced the ‘you’ll-never-amount-to-anything’ trip, I was pretty much rendered a doormat.  It was largely due to that negative training that I made poor choices in men and in life.  It is only too amazing that I arose from the ashes of all that to blossom into whom I am today.  I only became the true DT after my divorce decree was finalized.

Trust me.  You cannot think straight when you are in the middle of legal battles.  Your life is not your own.  There are too many emotional, financial, and custody issues that arise that you cannot foresee.  You do your best to get through it all.  Sure, some couples get along, but think about it, if you got along that well, you’d still be married.

To my separated readers out there, if you can’t get along on paper, if you can’t get along in court, you must seek resolution through mediation.  Going through the motions in court is not only extremely gut wrenching, but it’s financially draining as well.  Also, I KNOW how private most of you guys are.  Do you have any concept what its like to air your dirty laundry in a public court, where a dozen other couples who are waiting their turn will hear about your mess??

The mediator is often a retired judge who serves the same purpose as a judge.  You are still represented by your respective attorneys.  The petitioning parties, you and your ex, are taken out of the room.  I tried to get my ex to do mediation for months, to no avail.  It was after 3 appearances in front of the judge with no resolution on any of the issues that the judge ordered us to go to mediation.  When we went to mediation, matters got solved with lightning speed (same day).  We were forced to resolve issues that I never thought would get resolved.

I want to thank the countless readers who wrote me to acknowledge that even after years of separation, no healing can begin until the final divorce decree.  Too often, I hear from men who are separated for a mere few months and because they are lonely, bored, horny, or hook up because it was convenient, think that that is as good as divorced.  It’s not.  Nowhere near it.  They have no clue what is in store for them.  Why the mad rush?  Well, when a man divorces, he feels like a huge failure, so there is a jump to find a new relationship right away to validate that he is still a good guy.  Huge, huge mistake.  I think that men should not even begin to think of getting into another relationship until 6 months AFTER the divorce decree. Actually it’s better to wait up to 2 years.  Before that time, I consider him to be a Rebound Guy and part of the walking wounded.  Meaning, if you don’t have any ME time to think about what YOUR part in the failed marriage was and how YOU contributed to its demise, you are destined to repeat the same mistakes again.  You have to heal.  You have to grow, analyze, and learn from your mistakes.  To not do so is relationship suicide.

Another reason why a man will hop back into a relationship too fast is because he was married fa long time, over 10 years, and is looking for a “mother” – someone to cook for him, do his laundry, and clean his house.  He hasn’t had to do these chores in over 10 years and he isn’t about to start now.  To that I say, either learn how to do these things or get a maid.  The emotional or financial strain down the line just isn’t worth yielding to something just because it’s convenient.

So, here is the DT rule:

  1. After the FINAL divorce decree, wait until 6-24 months to get into a serious relationship again.
  2. Make sure you own up to what part YOU      played in the demise of the marriage.       You cannot heal without this step.  I don’t care how much of a witch she      was, it wasn’t all her fault.  It      takes two to tango.  Man up.

Also, there is a new legal maneuver that is called a ‘conditional divorce decree’, where you can legally be divorced but the financial and/or custody issues remain unsettled.  I CANNOT URGE YOU STRONGLY ENOUGH TO NOT DO THIS.  GET A FULL (FINAL) DIVORCE DECREE AT ALL COSTS.  Unless you need a decree to be free to marry someone else (which I also strongly advise against, being that it is so soon after your divorce), I cannot think of one single benefit of a conditional decree.  DO NOT DO THIS!!!!

Btw, you have no power after the fact.  If you choose to get a conditional decree, you will not negotiate the best possible outcome on the remaining issues.  I am not an attorney and you should seek legal counsel on this, but in my view, THERE IS NO REASON TO complete any decree other than a full divorce decree.  Emotionally speaking, if you get a conditional decree, the healing doesn’t start UNTIL you get the final decree.  That right alone is reason to avoid it.

My goal here is to climb into your heart and sit there until YOU decide that it’s the right thing to do.  I hope you hear me.  I hope that even if you don’t agree with my Divorce Decree or Rebound issue position, you will at least consider it.  I know what I’m talking about.  I have been there.

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