First Divorce Selfie Documented

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Elite Daily doesn’t seem too happy about the first divorce selfie, but I think it’s great that this couple, Keith Hinson and Michelle Knight,  can amicably end their marriage. Just another example that you shouldn’t judge situations you don’t know and these reporters should mind their own business. Wishing the un-weds the best of luck!

Book Update: Layout!

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I’ve been busy preparing the book (Trash the Dress: Stories of Celebrating Divorce in your 20s) for printing. I think I’ve edited the manuscript so many times that I can recite it word for word, page by page. I’m so excited to say that last night I officially uploaded my final draft to the printer to begin layout! Whoo!! One step closer to publishing the book! It will be available in print and for Kindle on Amazon.com. Stay tuned for updates!

Daily Divorceism

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Opps!

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I’m using my iPad to approve new member requests for our private Facebook group and accidentally deleted a request when trying to click on a profile to make sure it was legit . Please send again if it was you. I have learned my lesson. So sorry! Come back!

Daily Divorceism

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Taking Yourself Back: How to Change Your Name After Divorce in your 20s

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Trash the Dress private online divorce support group member Rachel is officially divorced and in the process of legally changing her last name.  Here are her story and tips for you when it’s your turn to go through the process!

I began the process of changing my name back last week.  I forgot how many phone calls and errands are involved with this!  But something I didn’t count on is how liberated I would feel, seeing my full name written out again.

With his last name, I was a different person.  I had a list in my head of the things I thought being a “wife” meant, and I subconsciously began to mold myself to reflect those traits.  On the surface, I was doing everything “right.”  I cooked dinner and washed dishes and made grocery lists.  I made an effort to like the TV shows and movies and video games that he liked.  (In fact, I have him to thank for my love of geeky things, which I will always be grateful for.)  We did all the “couple” things together — church, parties, weddings, funerals.  We even worked together!

But from day one of our marriage, I began to change.  In my head, husbands and wives were not separate entities, they were a unit.  That meant that no independent decisions were made, no event was attended solo, and everything was shared.  Understand that I was not thinking these things overtly, they were core beliefs about the way things “should be” that I had acquired throughout my life.  These ideas came from watching romantic comedies and reading books and observing the “outside face” of the marriages of people I knew.  If I’m being honest, I didn’t really think about it at all…it was just the way things were in my head.

Seeing my name for the first time again, I began to realize how many of these things I associated with the name that has been my identity for the last 5+ years.  And I realized that now, I am able to give all that stuff up.  I can go back to being the “me” I am meant to be.  I never intentionally became someone else, but now I can intentionally come back to who I am.

Are you taking your maiden name back after your divorce?  If you are, I’ve included a starter list of places you’ll need to visit to get your name change process under way!

1.  Social Security Office.  The only thing you need to get your name changed here is a certified copy of your divorce decree, provided that it includes both your old and new names.  If you ask to be restored to your maiden name, it will be on there for sure!  The whole process takes about five minutes (not including wait time…get there right when they open and you probably won’t be stuck there all day!).  You can do this by mail, but I think it’s easier and faster to do in person, personally.  Print the application here.  This process doesn’t cost you anything at all…bonus!

2.  DMV.  Once you get your new SS card in the mail (7-14 days after you apply), you can go get your new driver’s license.  Take your new SS card, your current license, and your divorce decree.  It’ll cost you a fee to change this (in Ohio, it’s $24.50).

3.  Bank.  With your shiny new license in hand, you can begin to change your name with all the major institutions you’re a part of.  Start with your bank!  You’ll probably have to wait for a new debit card in the mail, which will take a few days, but you can still use your old one while you wait.  Make sure to activate the new one when you get it, and cut up that old one!

4.  Job.  Make sure you let your job know about your name change, duh.  You will probably have to fill out some forms (your tax information has changed too, since you aren’t married anymore).

5.  Insurance.  This includes any insurance you might have: homeowner’s/renter’s, auto, health, life, etc.  I get my auto and renter’s from the same company, so that’s one less phone call to make!  I get health insurance through work, but it is up to me to call them to change it.  Make sure to ask your HR department if they take care of it or if you need to do it.

6.  Titles and deeds.  Speaking of insurance, you should also make sure your name change is reflected on your car title, house deed, or anything else you might own!

7.  Credit cards and loans.  I don’t have a credit card, and my only loan is through my bank.  But if you have cards or loans from multiple places, make sure you call them all!  Most of these can be done over the phone.

8.  Landlord or mortgage company, utility companies.  It’s probably helpful for them to know.

9.  Doctor’s offices.  One simple phone call to each!  Plus if you need to schedule an appointment, you get to knock out two birds with one stone.  Bonus points if all your doctors are based in the same office/network and you only have to call one of them!

After you hit these major ones, start working your way down the list of any and every other company or organization that has your name.

Here are some other examples:

401K

Passport office

Professional licensing boards, unions, etc.

Voting registration (sometimes you can do this at the DMV when you do your driver’s license)

Charity organizations

Tax office

Social media

Personally, I changed my social media accounts first.  Love seeing my new/old name on there again!!

What other places did I forget to mention?

Are you changing your name back once your divorce is final?  Why or why not?

Don’t be Ashamed if you’re Depressed

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The tragic suicide of Robin Williams has shone on light on depression. It’s an issue that many young divorced women deal with, so don’t be ashamed if you’re one of them. Our Trash the Dress PRIVATE online support group is here for you.  Some of us have even been there ourselves and can help guide you.

Please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number if you are seriously in need of help. Life is worth living and though today might be dark, there is sunshine ahead.

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How to Survive Your Awfulversary

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“You have a lot of anniversaries it seems,” my boyfriend told me when I mentioned that today would’ve been my four year wedding anniversary. And well – he’s right. I have a number of days that mark both the good and the bad days that I had with my ex-husband.

Let’s see. There is (in no particular order):

  • March 8th, the day he said “I can’t do this anymore”
  • April 1st, our divorce date (hands down, the best day of the year this could have landed on)
  • June 8th, the first time he cheated
  • And August 7th, our wedding anniversary

Since this isn’t my first rodeo, I have some tips for you to get through what I’ve dubbed “awfulversaries”, because there is a widespread misconception that divorce is the end of all emotions pertaining to an ended relationship and well, that’s just crap to any of us who have been through this. Divorce is something that will always be with you and should be grieved (or when you’re ready, celebrated) as you see fit. Here are a few ideas that can help:

Forgive Yourself

That’s right. Forgive yourself. You are not the same person who walked into that marriage. You went in with the best intentions, and regardless of if you left or they did, it’s heartbreaking and exhausting to have to separate your life and start all over. So forgive yourself for the nights you cry, the times you feel guilty, the moments you are happy…and forgive them too (or at least fake it until you make it).

Also? Watch this. On repeat.

Lean on Your “Person”

If you’ve seen Grey’s Anatomy, you know that Meredith and Christina are each other’s “person.” Find your “person” and book them for that night. The right friend will know to be there for you and be up for anything – because you never know what you’ll feel like on an awfulversary – sometimes you want to dance it out, and sometimes you want to cry and watch Must Love Dogs (I mean, if your ex’s name is Kevin and you own a Newfoundland dog – it’s only fitting).

Write a Never Letter or a Pro/Con List

Whether it is a “could’ve, should’ve” or a “DEAR DARLA, I HATE YOUR STINKING GUTS” type of emotion you are feeling, grab some paper or open a Word doc and let it all come out… BUT DON’T SEND IT! Shred, burn or delete it. These are called Never Letters. Getting your feelings out on paper can help you accept the reality and work through it in a way that isn’t sending you right back into a bad situation. Think of it as a self-counseling session.

If you just need a quick pick me up – write a pro/con list. It’s okay to be sad about the happy things you miss about being together like those inside jokes, but also list the cons to help you figure out why it didn’t work and why you’re better off without them. Mine was a hard worker which was great, but he was also a compulsive porn addict, cheater and nail biter – definitely things I don’t miss!

Absolutely NO Lurking

Social media makes it all to easy to see what your ex is doing these days… but looking them up comes with a cost. Studies have shown that those who look up their exes are “more likely to be hung up on the breakup, with greater distress, negative feelings, longing for the ex-partner and lower personal growth.”

Ouch.

So think again before stalking the ex and their new beau; it only hinders your healing and I PROMISE you their lives aren’t as sweet as they’re making them out to be on Facebook.

Don’t believe me? Watch this:

Be liberal with that block button, my friends.

Make Awesome Plans

Look. If you stay in and cry all night, I am the last person that will judge you. But trust me, this tip is the best of them all.

Date yourself for a night. Clean your house the night before so you wake up feeling fresh and not overwhelmed, wear a new outfit, and go to a fancy dinner with friends or to that new movie you’ve wanted to see. Go to the Katy Perry concert and scream your guts out at every lyric that empowers you. Travel to a place that you’ve always wanted to see. Flirt with cute bartenders. Be adventurous, the world is your oyster for the night and nobody can tell you any different!

If you don’t feel up to partying, do something else memorable such as change your name back, put all photos of the two of you on an external hard drive, delete old emails; anything that helps you take back your own self and celebrate that you are a new, smart, independent woman and you will not be defined by your marital status. And then? Give yourself a pat on the back, you have now survived another awfulversary!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a massage to get to…

Do you agree?

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Be unstoppable.

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