Episode 026: Triple Threat
Episode 026: Triple Threat with special guest Karen Beach
As we know, divorce affects everyone. However, it affects some more than others. For instance, I’ve been divorced twice, which is two more times than I would have liked, but it happened. If I had children, they would have been affected twice, too. So what about children of divorce who grow up and have a divorce of their own? That’s a double whammie! Now those divorced children of divorce are back out there dating and run into other divorcees. Bam! That’s a 3-pointer right there. It’s hard enough handling it from one angle, but they’re getting it from all sides. How does someone handle that?
Meet Karen Beach, child of divorce, divorcee, and divorced child of divorce dating other divorcees. As we call it in theater, “she’s a triple threat!”
Karen’s parents divorced when she was thirteen and her dad’s bipolar disorder was creating issues. Karen was very aware of what was happening and began to take on a lot of the household responsibilities as her parent’s focus began to change. Her father’s bipolar disorder wasn’t out in the open, but as Karen sought guidance from teachers and some independent research, she eventually figured it out. Unfortunately, at that time neither conversation nor treatment was readily available as it is today. Karen and her brother were relieved to hear a divorce was in the works and were looking forward to less chaos and more getting back into school and sports. But instead things began to spiral out of control. Karen started being more of a caretaker and learned she had to grow up very quickly. She quit school and sports, and started spending more time at with friends and looking for peace. She left home her junior year of high school. She thought she figured it out at eighteen and moved in with her dad. Then shit hit the fan.
It wasn’t an easy transition for a teen. Growing up quickly and having to be in tune with everyone else’s behavior and feelings was exhausting and didn’t allow her to be a kid. Her parents had provided so many things (morals, values, safety, love) before the divorce, but things changed and those things were no longer readily available. As Karen ventured out into the world, she took it upon herself to improve her life. She decided to leave her hometown and attend school out-of-state.
Karen admits that she didn’t have the emotional maturity to be in any sort of relationship. She had never really had any guidance when it came to relationships. Going up around chaos is just something that was familiar to her, and she met her first love and husband at nineteen.
The opposite though when you only focus on that and neglect own needs. Still very immature when it came to connecting with someone.
She finds that her best relationships are with those who are super independent. She finds it easier and safer to be in a relationship with someone who put their independence first so they don’t have to connect on a deeper level.
She eventually found herself in love and engaged to a divorced man with a child. They had so much in common, but it wasn’t enough to keep them together. They were both still broken and although the relationship didn’t work out, it helped them to recognize they needed to continue healing. Karen embraced the opportunity and set new goals. She got a better job, which saved her life –she found mentors and people to look up to, people who provide guidance and support. She’s finally coming to terms with who she is and what she’s doing in life, and how to enjoy it
And enjoy life, she will! She purchased tickets to Greece and is looking forward to her dream vacation.
When it comes to dating, she’s found it challenging to connect with guys her age (she’s 31). She’s looking for someone intelligent and life experience, but finding it difficult to find both with guys her age.
Karen notes that her own marriage was different than that of her parents. She and her husband had been friends were friends and she loved him very much. But as the relationship progressed he developed a kept problem, which landed him in jail. Upon his release, he disappeared for seven years, leaving her unable to divorce him. He would touch base with family every so often, but remained evasive. As a result, she kept other relationship at a distance. She was cold and didn’t care. She was mad. Later she learned that her husband had moved in with another woman. Of course, she was upset, but learned to completely shut down her emotions. They haven’t spoken since 2011 when he finally contacted her to file for divorce. He did say that he stayed with the other women for 3 years but he couldn’t make the commitment to her and left her, too. No real explanation, no “I’m sorry”. Nothing.
Karen takes responsibility. She tries not to let things bring her down. Regardless who is in her life, she feels it really comes down to herself. So she focuses on keeping herself healthy, working, and remaining positive and realistic towards her future.
She’s dating, but finds it difficult to screen people, and she tries to picking up signals in the first few dates. She gets bored easily, and seeks someone more challenging. She’s met someone who is highly intelligent and really sparked her interest, but has social disorders. She’s weary of pursuing a relationship similar to her the one with her dad.
Would you get married again? Right now she’s just figuring things out. She’s even dating divorced men and finding that their expectations are higher. Divorcees know what they want and what they don’t want. Karen is on the fence about dating men with children. Being a child of divorce, she’d rather they focus on their kids. As the new women in the picture, it’s hard to see where she fits in. Is there room? Who is priority?
Karen has been put on the back burner her whole life, and she wants to be number one.
She admits to trust and detachment issues, but feels that she usually puts more into the relationship than the other person. She’s in it 100%, but never a priority. As she learns more about herself, she realizes that maybe it’s not the other person putting her on the back burner as much as it’s her not making herself number one.
Like many of us, it’s easy to get caught up in the “what if’s” when you meet someone super cool.
Karen says, “You just got to step back. I’m not going to over analyze it. I’m not going to think about the future and marriage. I’m Just going to go with the flow.”
She’s truly grateful for all the support from friends, co-workers, mentors and even family and couldn’t have gone through all of this without them.
“I was 19 at the time and I was wanting adventure.”
“I had goals and I had aspirations in mind and regardless of whatever relationships issues I had I always focused on work. That’s really kept me grounded.”
What you’ll learn:
- Divorce impacts kids for the rest of their lives
- Children of divorce need to be a priority, too
- Life doesn’t get easier as an adult child of divorce
- We need to make ourselves a priority
- You just have to keep evolving and learning
What you won’t learn:
- How to get your parents back together
- How to make a marriage work
- The Boyfriend’s true identity
Our favorite moments:
@05:20 Meet Karen Beach
@09:46 Were you relieved?
@14:50 it’s affected her in so many ways.
@16:17 First love, first husband
@17:45 Work always kept me grounded
@20:44 found a great job that saved her life
@22:08 Got drunk and bought tickets to Greece
@24:40 Her divorce was different than her parents
@28:17 She takes on the responsibility, it takes two
@28:55 Quick timeline recap!
@34:22 Dating life
@40:20 Dating divorced men
@45:23 Go with the flow
Tweet: “I’m not going to think about the future and #marriage. I’m Just gonna go with the flow.” @lafterdivorce #relationships #dating
Tweet: It’s up to me and nobody else! #divorce #relationships #choices #selfcare #lifelafterdivorce
Tweet: I’m a triple threat! #divorced #childofdivorce #datingdivorcees @lafterdivorce #lifelafterdivorcepodcast
Tweet: Grateful for friends, family, & all who support me. #divorce #relationships #attititudeofgratitude @lafterdivorce.com