Divorce (March 16, 2005)

Dear Zelda:

What a pleasant surprise to see you are now going to have your own column! I value your opinion so much.  I would like to pose a question for you. About 2 years ago, my then husband, decided to call it quits. He apparently felt he could find better out there, but...to this day, I think he is still searching.  The real question is that I still hold all that has happened soooooo fresh in my mind and would really love to get beyond that.  Do you happen to have any clues as to how I could?  I know one of your posters is a good start, the one with you holding a gun, but I don't think that would be so nice. I keep it right in front of me as an emergency plan.  Why let him off easy though, LOL.  Any of your wisdom will be appreciated.  Thanks so much!

Beyond Divorce

Dear Beyond Divorce,

Thanks for your question.  Bottom-line, it's time to bury the bone. Harboring bitterness and resentment toward your ex is self-destructive and disrupts your body's chemical balance. Don't let this gnaw on you. Aim for emotional closure. Choose to let go, forgive, and give your heart a fresh start. Get busy and surround yourself with people who radiate positive energy. They can help give your life new dimension and direction. Join a book club, volunteer, sign up for a class, try finding new friends through a dating service like www.match.com or follow a quiet passion. Reinvent yourself. Try out the self-help exercises in the insightful book, Exorcising Your Ex by Elizabeth Kuster, and then read Life After Divorce : Create a New Beginning by Sharon Wegscheider or Rebuilding: When your Relationship Ends by Bruce Fisher, Ed.D. and Robert E. Alberti, Ph.D.  Grow from this predicament by turning it into an opportunity.  Target a new life plan, aim to succeed, and then pull the trigger on your success, not your 'ex'.

Zelda

Dear Zelda,

I read about your owner's divorce and how she managed to survive and succeed.  My husband recently walked out on me and I would like to move on, but need some advice.  I have a really cute dog and would like to see him on calendars and cards.  Can you give me direction?

Divorced and Needing Direction

Dear Divorced,

You're not dogging it. Good girl!

Avoid the stumbling blocks and the roadblocks.  Go for the building blocks. Set out to learn as much as you can about the stationery industry. Do marketing research: check out the competition, sniff around stationery stores, go on-line, become trend-savvy. Find a first-class and faithful photographer (just like mine). Decide on a catchy name for your product line. Check out copyright procedures and regulations (http://www.copyright.gov) Be sure your cards and calendar would have some 'edge' over similar ones on the market. Calculate how much money you would have to invest in printing/developing, paper products, costumes, distribution, public relations, etc. Decide on a selling price. Get your friends' opinions. Test the salability of your cards in local stationery shops before you invest in an extensive product line. Find a good lawyer to help protect your rights. Have dogged determination. Read a book or two, such as the Smart Guide to Starting a Small Business by Lisa Royak or The Girl's Guide to Starting Your Own Business : Candid Advice, Frank Talk, and True Stories for the Successful Entrepreneur   by Caitlin Friedman and Kimberly Yorio. Above all, push the envelope and be exuberant that you are liberated. 'Tis far better to have loved and lost...than to have spent your whole life together. Stamp yourself unshake-a-bull.

Zelda

Dear Zelda,

My wife and I recently separated and are going through a divorce.  We both want our dog, Harvey.  How can we solve this dilemma?  We need your canine counseling.

Almost Single

Dear Almost Single,

On behalf of all the canine pets of this world, thanks for posing this question. One dog has never been divisible by 2. Harvey's well-being should rank above either of your wants. Tossed back and forth like a  frisbee would be disorienting and de-stabilizing for any four-legged critter. Even if you go for joint custody, this doesn't imply joint physical custody or equal-time custody. Negotiate which one of you could ensure Harvey adequate dog-support: time/attention, daily exercise, medical care, good kibbles, comfortable quarters, and a loving, stable environment. Permit the other one visiting and field trip rights. Doggy Heaven forbid if you can't come to a mutually accept-a-bull solution. The Divorce Sourcebook by Dawn Berry might offer you some insights and assist with other snarly settlement issues. Never divorce yourselves from Harvey's feelings and needs.  This could be grounds for bad canine karma.

Zelda