I haven't asked a question previously (at least that I remember), but, I do wonder if your marriage and subsequent divorce soured you on the idea of being married? Having a very good marriage myself, for over 15 years now, I often wonder this about single people who have had a bad experience with men or women/marriage.
No, I do not think my bad experience has soured me on marriage. Has it made me more cautious, selective, neurotic? Yes, yes and probably. I went through quite a bit of counseling after my divorce and I have spent a significant amount of time examining my own attitudes toward dating and marriage and divorce. I have had minor to major panic attacks when marriage was starting to look like a possibility in subsequent relationships but with the advantage of time and perspective, I am able to realize that neither of those two instances would have been the "right" fit for me anyway. With each serious relationship I have been in since my divorce I have had to deal with a smaller and smaller piece of the baggage I carry along with the title "divorcee". While I mostly think any lingering negativity in my attitude toward marriage is long gone, I am sure there are hidden elements that are waiting to resurface when given a chance.
What is your ex-husband doing now?
I do not have any contact with my ex-husband whatsoever. I have neither seen nor heard from him since the divorce papers were signed in 1996. Nor do I want to see or hear from him. I do, however, know someone (who reads this blog!) who is married to someone who is related to someone who is married to the sister of my ex (did you follow that?). Consequently, I occasionally receive vague updates of where he is and what he is up to through this grapevine of gossip. By last account, he lives in the same town he grew up in and works for a nursing home or retirement center or something like that. And is divorced a second time. I can't remember if he is married again or not . . .
Can I spoil Parker's answer? Think Walmart...
No, Emily you may not spoil the answer . . . wait, you already did. As I explained, he doesn't work for Walmart anymore. But at one time when I was working on Wall Street (yep, I was once one of those evil Wall Streeters -probably still am!) he was working at Walmart and that gave me some evil pleasure.
And I know your story is not done yet (as of the last installment you are still married) but I am interested in how you got from the divorce to law school and new york city.
Well, the answer to that is longer than I will tell right here. Some elements of how I got to law school will come into the story. How I landed in NYC is pretty simple. During my second year of law school I interviewed on campus with a New York law firm on a whim. I had never been to New York in my life unless you counted a long layover in JFK (I don't, but did then so I could claim a tenuous connection to the City). I didn't expect a call back but when I got it I jumped at the chance to head to NYC for a couple of days all expenses paid. Despite an emergency room trip for a kidney stone a few days prior to the interview, I had my first trip to NYC in October 1999. I stayed at the Millenium Hilton hotel across the street from the then still-standing World Trade Center and took two rolls of film from the top of the Twin Towers (because cameras took film in those days) and walked about 10 miles in two days trying to see as much as possible. I went to a Ben Folds Five concert with a class mate who was also interviewing at the same time, rode the subway, took a cab and tried New York pizza and Krispy Kreme donuts for the first time. I also screamed in my head as I walked into the reception area of the law firm I was interviewing with all calm and serene in my black suit as I admired the unbelievable view of the Statue of Liberty - my first glimpse of her. The energy of the City took a hold of me then and there. Although I had mostly been interviewing in southern California, I knew it wasn't for me. I was offered a job for the following summer and I accepted it. Fell in love with the City even more and moved out here permanently in August 2001 and other than a 2 year hiatus in the middle, I have been here ever since. I owe most of it to luck.
I was wondering if your ex knows about your blog, and if so, are you at all concerned about the ramifications of telling your story in such a public way? Is he the type to try to get revenge?And let me just say again--this is in no way a criticism of your approach to telling your story. I think you're fabulous. I've just had my own unfortunate bad experiences with some online stuff . . .
Since I have zero contact with my ex, I have no idea whether he knows about my blog or not. There is always the possibility that he (or someone from his family) could stumble upon my blog after clicking through various links. However, when I started blogging, I was extremely private and I didn't include my first or last name or even pictures. As I have become more comfortable with the forum, I have been more open about my identity and shared my blog with friends and family and added photos and I don't worry about my first name being used. That being said, I do not use my full name for a reason. Professionally, I do not want someone to be able to google my name and find out my whole life's story. If you know my full name, you can google me and discover my full bio on my firm's website, a couple of articles I have written and court appearances I have made. But my blog does not come up. I didn't do this to hide from my ex-husband, but it does make me feel that it would be difficult for him to hunt me down with a simple google search.
All that being said, I have no fear of my ex-husband. The only reason he was able to hurt me all those years ago was because I allowed it. At this point, if he was angry or upset about anything I have written I say let him. I am writing the truth. The only caveat being it is all subject to my own memory. When I don't remember something clearly, I tell the reader but, as we all know, everyone has such differing perspectives that no two people will remember the same thing in the same way.
I don't know if Mitch is the type to seek revenge. Back then? Yes, he was. But I don't see there is any way for him to hurt me now unless I allow for it. That is the advantage to never having kids together I guess.
I'm wondering...have you considered compiling your story, after you've finished the last installment, and publishing it? Of course, I can only guess at the end, but I think that it could do a lot of good for other women out there who put up with things they shouldn't from guys.
I haven't considered that but flattering comments certainly have put the little seedlings of it in my mind. I wouldn't have any idea where to begin in pursuing publication but I'm definitely open to suggestions . . .
Does your ex know you are a succesful attorney in New York while he is a loser working at Walmart? Ha ha.
I don't know. He may receive vague updates about me that trickle back through the same grapevine I receive updates. Of course, even as a successful attorney in New York, a single divorcee can feel she is coming up short in many other things so I try not to gloat (especially since it makes for bad karma).
How has your experience effected your view/attitude of the LDS Church? Or did it effect it at all?
Another big question. Of course my divorce experience (which is what I assume you are referencing) has effected my view and attitude toward the LDS church. But so have innumerable other factors and experiences. I have written some of my thoughts on my church and my faith (either directly or indirectly) here, here, here and here. To sum up - it's complicated. I have doctrinal questions. I have doubts. I have issues with cultural norms. But I had many of the same questions and doubts and issues before I was ever married.
That being said, the one thing I wish would change in the LDS Church that is a direct result of my marriage experience is to tone down the push to get married young and fast. I think everyone could benefit from a little bit of pre-marital counseling. I witnessed the engagement and marriage process for a Catholic co-worker of mine several years ago and thought they had a good idea. As part of marriage preparation for their high mass wedding, her particular church (I'm not sure if this is universal to all Catholics) had the couple complete a compatability type test. The priest then assigned them to meet with a married couple they did not know to discuss the results of the test. I think they met with the couple on two separate occasions. My friend thought it was a great opportunity to discuss their conflicting and their overlapping ideas that were brought out by the test. She said they had conversations they never would have had otherwise. And it helped that both meetings were casual over dinner. The couple then went on an overnight retreat with other engaged couples to some sort of engaged camp where they participated in different workshops and activities geared toward marriage preparation. She thought it was great and was surprised Mormons didn't do anything similar. I realize there are marriage prep classes taught at church schools and in institutes around the world and that many stakes offer a marriage prep seminar. But what stood out to me was how personal the efforts were in examining the couple's prepardness of marriage. They started with a test and went through everything else with the results. I don't think this will prevent divorce but it does create a mechanism to be a bit more cautious in making this momentous decision of marriage. I realize some bishops take an approach more similar to this but I have also been in many a singles ward where the bishop kept careful statistics on how many members he married off. And I can tell you, they were pushing more than they were cautioning.
Have you had significant, long-term relationships after the divorce?
Yes. I pretty much jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire immediately after Mitch with a year-long relationship that was ultimately good for me emotionally/psychologically but for a variety of other reasons was not the right fit. I've probably had about three other relationships I would consider significant although none of them ever quite reached the year mark so depending on your perspective that may or may not meet your definition of "long-term." I've also had a smattering of other boyfriends. I would probably qualify as a serial monogamist if I could account for having had a relationship of any sort in the past three years, but as it stands I've been in a bit of a drought.
Where did you go to law school, and how did you choose your school?
I went to BYU law school and I chose my school because they accepted me. I was pretty naive about the whole process and only applied to 5 schools - BYU, University of Utah, University of Oregon, University of Washington and UCLA. All in the West. While I was in the midst of applying for law school, I was living with my parents and working through a lot of the residual divorce trauma with their bishop - a BYU law alum. I greatly admired and respected him and he encouraged me to go to BYU and wrote a recommendation for me in my application which I am convinced got me in. I was accepted first by BYU, wait-listed by the U and accepted at Oregon. I didn't receive any respose from UCLA until August. I took it as a snub but I was probably on a wait-list there as well. I have some issues with where I went to law school that I won't go into here but I will say that I don't regret it because I don't believe I would be where I am now if I had gone somewhere else.
Did you know what kind of law you wanted to practice, or did you "fall into" your practice area through a job or clerkship?
I made several definite decisions to avoid my current practice - bankruptcy. I wanted to be a litigator so I practiced in the litigation department of a large NY firm for a couple of years before taking a clerkship with a bankruptcy judge - despite the fact that she was a bankruptcy judge. I surprised myself by loving the field and I've stuck with it.
Have you tried your hand at fiction? Your non-fiction/autobiographical writings here are fantastic, so I'm just curious.
First, thank you.
Ever since my freshman year of college when a creative writing professor essentially told me I suck, I have had zero creative writing ambitions. I just considered myself a technical writer - decent at history papers in college and legal writing in law school. I've always been a sporatic journal writer so that is where my creative writing generally landed for many years - all of which is, of course autobiographical. Then, while I was living in Utah for a couple of years, a friend convinced me to try a writing club she attended each month which was hosted by a friend of hers. None of us had blogs at the time. For the first time since high school I began sharing my writing with others. And it was fun. Mostly it was autobiographical as well. When I moved back to New York my sister gave me a small moleskin notebook so I could continue to write. That worked for a bit but it felt so similar to journaling. I missed sharing my writing. So I started a blog. Secretly at first. Then I told one friend. Then, not long after I started my blog, Tiffany - the writing club hostess - started one of her own. So I participated in correspondence would-be-writer's club. Again, all non-fiction/autobiographical.
But getting back to your question. No, aside from the play I thought I could write in junior high and the sagas I wrote with a friend via notes passed between classes and a handful of high school and college assignments, I have never tried writing fiction. I've thought about it. But for one thing, I can't write dialogue. For another, I think the only voice I am good at is first person. But then again, I've never explored much else. So maybe once I finish my divorce story I will give it a whirl.
Thus ends the Q&A portion of our program. Thanks to those who played along. Now, it is my turn to ask some questions. While I primarily keep this blog for myself and writing my divorce story is definitely a journey I've wanted to make for myself as well, I am curious about who is reading.
I don't write for comments but comments are encouraging and inspiring. In preparing these answers I have gone back through my comments a bit to see if there were other questions I have left unanswered and I realized there are a number of commenters who have popped up once or twice but I've never heard from them again. I realize we all lurk. And at times we don't know what to say in a comment. But, just out of curiosity, how many people are still reading? I look at my google analytics report but I can't say I learn much of use from it other than what search terms point people to my site (ew, ew and ew to all the "Nascar dessert sex" searches - I have no idea what you are looking for and I promise you will not find it here). And if you are reading, would you mind leaving a comment answering the following questions (I don't even care if you do it anonymously but if you leave a link to your blog I will check you out as well):
1) do you only read my divorce story or do you read all my rambling posts?
2) do you remember how you found my blog and when that was?
3) where are you located?
4) are you mormon?
5) do I know you in real life?
6) would periodic giveaways (aka bribes) make you more likely to leave comments?
Just curious. Now, please go break my comment record. Oh and yes, there will be a surprise for one or two lucky commenters. A good one. I just don't know what it will be yet. But last time I did this, my prizes were good. Just keep that in mind.
***The REVISED Rules:***
You have until midnight on
The more comments I receive, the better the prize(s).
You must answer all 6 questions to be eligible.
If you promo my story on your blog, you can leave a second comment and be entered a second time for the prize(s).