How to Survive a Divorce (or Serious Relationship Break Up)

Woo-hoooo! This is an uplifting topic for today’s post, huh? Divorce – because everyone likes to talk about that. Divorce in a TEOTWAWKI situation? SHTF divorce? Nope – just plain old surviving normal, day-to-day life during and after a divorce.

Yup, you guessed it – 2011 ROCKED (mega sarcasm font)! I got divorced. I know, I know, this isn’t your average “woah is me” type personal blog, but sometimes I just use this site as a place to dump words running wild in my head. This post isn’t entirely ON preparedness topic, but … the sewage hit the fan for me, starting in oh – about July. Then the sewage just kept hitting the fan … splatting … and spraying … all over the place in a steady stream of spirit draining blech.

The keywords in this blog post title, over time, are apt to bring in a variety of your non-prepper, web surfing, information seeking, about-to-get-divorced people in wicked good spirits. If that’s YOU – woo-hoo to you, too. Sucks, huh?

I’m not going to get into the “why” of divorce or “when” to know it’s time to call it quits. The answers to that depend entirely on the individual and his/her situation. There is no right answer. You just find yourself in a situation, for whatever reason, and you have to deal with it. This post is more about the “how” – how to survive a divorce, or how I survived it anyway. It’s tough, I know that. The only thing I have to offer are five little helpful hints that helped me get through the dark days.

Helpful Hint Numba One – Maintain a civic, friendly relationship. That’s pretty much a requirement if you have kids, for the sake of the kids. Of course, maybe your situation makes that impossible, maybe your situation has come about because you can’t have a friendly relationship no matter how hard you try. That sucks worse, I’m guessing. I didn’t/don’t have that. It happened, it sucked, but hey – being pi$$ed doesn’t help anyone. Be real. Don’t hate.

Helpful Hint Number Two – Hunker down, hibernate. Sometimes just lying on your bed staring at the ceiling is the best thing to do. Of course, it sucks when the alarm is going off, you have to do x,y and z errands, you still have to work, etc. Sometimes you can’t just hunker down. Did I say divorce sucks?

Helpful Hint Number Three – Get the lead out! Fill up a bunch of 1 or 2 liter bottles with water, set them out at the range or gravel pit, whoop out your mighty AR-15 or .44 magnum and get that lead out. It’s a great stress reducer. Yes? Yes … in most circumstances, but in divorce, sometimes nothing helps, except …

Helpful Hint Numba Four – Tylenol PM is your friend. Never would I have thought I’d say that. Inever had a sleep problem before getting a divorce. I’ve always needed a lot of sleep (8 hours) and would have no problem getting it. My head would hit the pillow and – bam! I’d be out. Then I was in the divorce situation and either I couldn’t fall asleep or I’d fall asleep only to wake up way too early and unable to fall back asleep. A few days of this and I was fine, but week after week after week? Sometimes my body would be in a spot where I’d really need hours down for the count. I’m not sure what the Diphenhydramine HCI 25mg “active sleep ingredient” is all about (technically it’s just Benadryl), but … it works! Use it when you need it, but don’t do it more than that.

Helpful Hint Numba Five – Move on. You’ve got to. Clinging on doesn’t help. Don’t dwell in the doldrums forever. While you’re lying on your bed staring at the ceiling, there is life going on. We only have so much life. Live it.

The prepper downside to divorce is – now what? It’s kinda like starting preps over, too. Garden? Gone. Storage pantry? Gone. Hiking gear? Got that. That helps, too – hiking. Outdoors. Fresh air. Nature.

But hey, no “woah is me” now. It’s 2012, and that’s much better news, given that the world is supposed to end this year and all.

– Ranger Man

BTW: to end on a more upbeat note, if you’re an Android smart phone user, SHTFblog now has a free app you can download for your phone. Get updates with the touch of a button. I’ll make a more prominent announcement on it in the future, but it can be downloaded in your Android app “market” now by searching for “SHTFblog” (or by going here).

32 comments… add one
  • Calamity Jane January 18, 2012, 9:27 am

    We’ve got some great hiking out here in the badlands. Just say the word man. You’re welcome anytime.

  • SD January 18, 2012, 9:40 am


  • irishdutchuncle January 18, 2012, 10:11 am


  • Odd Questioner January 18, 2012, 10:48 am

    Heh – I feel for you man… did that in 2005 (and damn I’m glad I did!)

    Some other helpful tips you may find useful:

    * If you’re the one moving out of the house, do a six-month lease in an apartment complex full of young ladies (or guys, for you ladies). Okay, so that’s not going to be always feasible, but nothing cheered me up more than stepping onto the balcony overlooking the pool and finding a large group of pretty young ladies in bikinis sunning themselves. It practically forces you to go down there. If you don’t feel like going down yourself, call up a buddy and the both of you go hang out. He’ll thank you, and you’ll thank yourself.

    * Get your ass out and hike the wilderness. One of the biggest pains in the ass of my first marriage was that the ex’s idea of roughing it was a 3-star hotel. After I got out of there, I got out there. I was able to walk some gorgeous stretches of mountain and wilderness, taking only a small day pack, a camera, and a .45 ACP (Utah has a healthy cougar population).

    * Speaking of cougars, try to hook up with a gaggle of them and go have fun once in awhile. Not to get your hormones on mind you, but to have a good time out away from the house – making it crystal clear that you’re only interested in being friends with them. I hung out with a pack of ’em on occasion, and eventually one of them had a friend, introduced me (un-requested) to that her, and that person became my wife 3 years later.

    * All those things you really wanted to do, but couldn’t while you were married? Get off your ass and GO DO THEM! Buy a cheap motorcycle. Go skydiving. If you have the money, take that big guided fishing or hunting trip. Take the old 4×4 off-road and beat the crap out of it (my favorite). Buy those preps and stock up as much as you can. Move out to your chosen BOL… whatever you have always wanted to do. You don’t get too many chances in life to do whatever the hell you want, so take the opportunity while you can.

    * Is there somewhere you always wanted to live? Go! In my case, my ex wanted to live in Utah with her family, and hated the idea of moving. I was in Oregon not two years after the ink dried on my divorce papers, and only then because I took my time and did the research first. Guys (and ladies), I’m talking about Alaska, Australia, wherever you always wanted to live but couldn’t.

    Gotta get off my ass and go to work, but that should get you started :)

    • Rushman January 18, 2012, 10:50 pm

      So right on the six month lease!!!! I bite it in the ass and took a 12 month then ended up moving in with a wonderful woman after six…

      • Jason January 19, 2012, 5:27 pm


        In Ca. they can only hold you responsible for the left over lease IF they do not re-rent the property. Also, they are required to make an effort to lease the unit again after you vacate. The deposit is for anything beyond normal wear & tear so, repaint & carpet cleaning is a result of normal wear & tear.

        You may want to check the local law to see if the landlord collected from you what was not legally their right to do so, then file a small claims action to collect that which was not theirs to take from you.

        I’m not an attorney but have substantial experience with this stuff here in Ca. which is a pro tenant state.

  • FN FAL January 18, 2012, 12:01 pm

    This is a “Later On” reply. I went through all the nasty crap many years ago. One good point was that we both agreed to NOT badmouth the other to our son (only child). That one thing was the biggest help of all. It allowed for being civil, and soon we were just friends who gave marriage a shot, and it didn’t work out.
    I did most of the things that you and Odd Questioner suggest. Blowing off steam with water-filled milk jugs was an IMMENSE help. It also got my son into shooting sports, and now he has my Grandson knocking the bullseye out of paper at 100 yards. Went through Lots of women, too. That just seems to remind you of why you happen to be in the market in the first place, and looking back, that was probably the reason it took so long to recover. But to each his own.
    I mostly wanted to give a bit of hope. Since everything I did after the divorce was on my own time and through my own decisions, I managed to work my life out to the point where now I own my house outright. My property in Hawaii will be paid off 30 months from now (beachfront on Maui), My Mustang GT belongs to me, not a bank, and for 14 years, I’ve had a wonderful partner that loves to fish, and shoot, and camp, and get naughty just as much as I do. Didn’t marry her, just love her to death. Met her AFTER I decided that going through girlfriends was getting boring and I wanted to be solitary. Strange how that works.
    Anyway….If you just keep active and quit thinking of how much life bites, you’ll have the time and gumption to make miracles happen. By the way, I’m just a mechanic by trade, not a Rich man. If I can get a decent life together, anyone can. There IS Hope. I wouldn’t be where I am if I’d stayed married!!!

  • gat31 January 18, 2012, 12:06 pm

    Funny thing about divorce is that usually one reaches the point usually long before the other. This usually leaves the second person going through hell until they figure out they are better off. l agree with OQ go do something you have always wanted to do. Visit places you always wanted to see. Find a hobby. Enjoy the “me time” you’ve just acquired.
    Here’s an idea pull up hiking trails all over America, pick 10 and work on trying them out. Take some videos of it in different climates and terrains.
    Peaceful, therapeutic, and gives you a goal. Just some ideas. Good luck!

  • oswald January 18, 2012, 12:32 pm

    While working in different co’s i saw several people getting or already didorce telling their horror stories. I seen the posibility that one day i’ll happen to me. As a Prepper I dicided to do something about.
    Got me ( 21 yrs ago) a $25,000.00 cabin (repo) and I furnish the place with freebies, got me a computer, books and encyclopedia britannica ($10.00). all kinds of goodies, my old and new clothes, tools, personal defense toys, food, even troughout this years a couple of boxes of bar soap, my meds, bunch of those were left overs from my father in law wich pass away but enough for 6 months (I just rotate them).
    And after all these years my significant other dont know that I have (this just in case) place. My marriage is good but my co-workers had the same situation and when the SHTF they were caught unprepared. I drive a small p/u truck, my s.o. drives a mini-van. but I own an old full size van with everything that I can use in case of any eventuality, alas grey-man that van is in perfect mechanical ready to go into action at any moment, got matress and cabinet, a camper sink and a porta potty. water tank and clothes (dress and working/casual)…I might be consider paranoid for doing these prepps. but I believe that all those divorced people were paranoid for not doing it.I also have a very old shasta travel trailer (1950’s). in perfect condition and thats were I go and take naps to adapt to loneliness and keep a supply of extra food and sodas and hidden in there an extra food supply that I’ll take in case that I have to leave. I dont expect troble but you and many people I know they expecteded.

    Enjoy your new freedom and no matter what prepare for the relationship.

  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. January 18, 2012, 1:37 pm

    My condolences sir, I’m still married, but have a divorced brother – it is indeed quite a roller-coaster of feelings. One of the big 3 personal crises of life (death of spouse or child / divorce / losing job), I wish you a speedy recovery. Some couples just grow apart – no ones fault, just where life takes you.

    You are among friends though – the lone divorcee is indeed in a low spot.

  • RedTeamMedic January 18, 2012, 3:16 pm

    I’m not married nor divorced…can’t say I know what it’s like and give u some generic “get well soon” shit…what I can say, and what RM knows, is that an untrained, clouded mind is your biggest enemy (post-SHTF, be it divorce, apocalypse, what have you). As preppers we should all recognize, wasting mental energy, thinking about how to change the past, is poor resource management (the brain energy requirement is ~1/3 of what the entire body uses). Spend that brain power learning something new or at least go do something that requires a moderate amount of thinking. This way you are efficiently utilizing the resource…food.

    This is for you RM…
    Yes, you are correct, diphenhydramine HCl is “Benadryl”. If you just need it to help you sleep, take generic-ass diphenhydramine 25-50mg (drug store sells 25 pills of “sleep aid” for $8 and 100 generic diphenhydramine for $2.95. Additionally, if only taking it for OCCASIONAL sleep aid, there is no need for the acetaminophen found in a “TylenolPM”. Recent research suggests that acetaminophen is slightly more hepatotixic (bad for liver) than previously thought. This being said, acetaminophen is still a very safe drug, the only difference is the recommended max dose used by physicians was decreased, to reduce the chance for liver damage. Thus, if you have no mild to moderate pain, nor a fever, there’s no need for the extra med.

    Diphenhydramine is one of the only over-the-counter drugs I have stockpiled. It is cheap, good for sleep, reduced urge to vomit, reduces allergic response (hives, itching, redness, etc.), and can be used after epinephrine (EpiPen) to maintain a patient after an anaphylactic reaction (which is also an allergic response)…and a bunch of other stuff.


  • Jason January 18, 2012, 4:21 pm

    My turn … woohoo ~

    Well Ranger, I had the same thing happen to me in 2011 – finished in the 4th quarter. The previous 2 years were absolute hell.

    I am an analyst with strong sales & social skills – strange combination I know … In my field have an unusual expertise dealing with mortgage defaults & “stumbled” upon a solution that mitigates bank loss. When I say stumbled I mean it was a problem I had been resolving in my head since 1992 & used to run countless scenarios & models to see what was possible. It was fun, no risk & gave my brain a chance to stretch in many directions.

    In the beginning of 2006 took 4 months off & my now ex wife helped me create the process, workflow & analytics to try to prove if my theory was correct. My numbers were off of the chart, it ran damn near perfectly.

    To add some perspective, prior to that I was making more than the president of the US & was equity rich & cash poor. I started 24 years ago with zero & only had a work ethic instilled in me by my parents. I eventually ended up with all of the ridiculous, nouveau riche trappings. I was an absolute fool for many obvious reasons and it gave my wife a spending habit that was insatiable. I became that which I was trying to help keep from failing.

    By the way, it may sound like a lot of money but it is all relative, it’s just numbers on the dart board, trust me. However, excess money can do strange things to people.

    Anyway, I made a few presentations & the reception was far better than I anticipated and on the way to a mammoth payday. The banks would mitigate 10’s of millions & my PowerPoint & beta tests showed the proof. It was based upon logic, reason & reverse engineering, something foreign to banks – ha, ha.

    However, dealing with the corporate elite was WAY, WAY out of my league. I was swimming with very hungry sharks while others in the boat threw chum in the water and gave me a weight belt for a safety line. I am an analyst NOT a politician. Well, along comes a partner to navigate the maze & 3-4 years later I was severely behind the 8 ball & the partner was taking my concept & running with it – by himself.

    “For richer & poorer” was not a part of the wedding vows & staring down at an empty checkbook was not her idea of life. So she decided to take the lawn mower to see what greener grass grew on the other side of the hill. Menopause, mid-life crisis or non working plastic? Who knows, in any case she was outta there. So there I was – 3 kids, IRS, credit debt, no money, my 401K became a 401E for empty, owed about 1.5 million on several mortgages, my luxury car engine blew up & was left vehicle-less. And those were the easy ones – really.

    The 55 gallon drum of raw, liquid sewage was slowly poured into the industrial fan & I had NO choice but to take it – all of it – at point blank, then let the sun bake it on me. I had experienced some bad things in my life but this took the cake by miles.

    Your helpful hints 1-3 & 5 were exactly what I did. Numba 4 I could not do because I do not like drugs. I chose reading & Netflix as my sedative.

    I will add helpful hint Numba 6 – exercise in any form & do something you enjoy. I cannot stand the meat market call the gym. Vainly flexing into a mirror is not my idea of a workout. I cycle & surf because I did that as a kid & brings me back to a happy place again. I was once a professional level surfer & now I am a total geek but am damn happy being back in the salt water – in other words, don’t let the memories of yesteryear’s prowesses adversely influence you.

    As far as the ex, I have always been civil & kind but do keep a healthy boundary. She is very lucky that I assumed all of the debt because here it is half assets AND half debts. I am doing the workouts and kept her insulated – 20 years of being a stay at home deserves that minimum.

    Today, I am totally happy & free from the chaos & am rebuilding.

    • T.R. January 20, 2012, 1:09 am

      Then you are going to the wrong gym my friend . I also avoid the dipshit “look at me “gyms , if you see too many 20 somethings or too many guys …….. its not the one for you . If you see a good mix of young and old and family oriented ……. its a keeper . Met a lot of nice folks there . Even with the big chain gyms , there is a world of difference in the type of people that go to them . I walked into a World Gym , it looked like the rec yard at the state prison ,only saw 2 women ( if you could call them that ) , I walked right back out .

      • Jason January 20, 2012, 1:20 am

        What’s wrong with the prison style exercise yard gym with a couple of hardened butch, toothless women? They are probably on the front page of The Survivalist Blog dot nyet (a little Russian humor for you).

        Once again T.R. you made me laugh out loud – thank you!

        • T.R. January 20, 2012, 3:03 pm

          Yeah , I look at these jerkoffs , and all I see is a portrait of why we need to reinstate the draft .

          • Jason January 20, 2012, 7:51 pm

            Stop it – you’re killing me!

  • kozmik January 18, 2012, 4:53 pm

    Well you got me good today Ranger Man!

    Tomorrow would have been our 37th anniversary. She divorced me and ran off with her boyfriend a year and a half ago. Took half of the good stuff ($ , 401k) and left me with all the bad stuff (bills, 2 mortgages and debts). A real classic ‘Late Life’ divorce (I’m 62).

    Hint number 3 helps me – there’s nothing like a 1911 .45. I blast away at the range until my arm hurts! I also bought a Jeep that I would have probably never bought if we stayed together – that helps too!

    You are not alone – there are guys of all ages out there in the same boat.

    Take care – I’m off to the liquor store for a case of wine (my drug of choice).

  • oswald January 18, 2012, 5:37 pm

    See, this is what I mean:

    All those comments and loses. They could have prevented all that misery.

    what people have to do is prepare, regardless if is a good marriage or not.

    prepare, prepare, prepare.

    • Traffix January 18, 2012, 6:31 pm

      Sorry Dude,

      I split in 2004 and gave literally everything to the ex, but my bills. Almost everyone I knew turned their back on me. I have been through it and I can honestly say things will get much better. Today my daughter lives with me and won’t even visit her mom. I really enjoy this site and obviously so do many others. I wish you comfort through the tough times.

      • Jason January 19, 2012, 11:18 am

        Traffix – right on about the so called friends. I had a long time “friend” whom I helped when he was down & going thru 2 separate divorces. I was there, spoke to him several times a week & felt we became better friends thru it all.

        When mine came to light, he pulled a Houdini. My brother did the exact same thing – I could never wrap my mind around why, but don’t care anymore.

        Trials test character – some pass with flying colors, others fail miserably. Not much we can do about it.

        Oswald, preparing for divorce is a lousy foundation for a marriage.

        • Ranger Man January 19, 2012, 11:26 am

          Gotta agree on the friends. I had some that would call/text/email to check in to see how I was doing, and others that I never heard from, as though nothing was going on. Times like these underscore who would be there for you when the $hit goes down versus those who only reach out when they want something.

          • Jason January 19, 2012, 3:28 pm


            As stated before, I’d been through some tough stuff but the divorce with kids & her unwillingness to try to work it out, totally flattened me. I never thought it would have happened to our family.

            You are among friends here, even though it is cyber friendship!

            BTW, that was a very bold post & you should be commended for adding it, as painful as it is to face.

          • Odd Questioner January 19, 2012, 9:21 pm

            Ditto what Jason said…

            It’s easy to speak about the ex now, five years on and with a far better woman at my side. Back then, it was pure suck. I never thought I would actually make it. Everything I mentioned up there, I did. I’m damned glad I forced myself to do it, though. In retrospect, I wish I could have done more of it. OTOH, It all turned out okay IMHO.

            Only bit of advice that comes to mind right now? Before you can love anyone else again, you really want to fall in love again with yourself. When I met my now-missus, I simply wasn’t looking. When I was looking, I came across one hell of a rogue’s gallery of crazy wenches (and for some odd reason, I kept attracting twenty-somethings with some heavy emotional baggage. The sex was great and all, but talking to any of them the next morning was an exercise in suppressing the urge to shout “WTF was I thinking!?”).

            That’s the secret – let them come to you, when you’re ready.

          • T.R. January 20, 2012, 12:50 am

            I had the opposite experience , When it was learned that i was going into divorce , I had a lot of support from friends and coworkers . There were two very special girls that stepped in and got me through the rough spots . We still stay in contact to this day . I still fondly remember the road trips they would ” kidnap ” me to go on . Not to badmouth Maine , but you guys really need to change the backward laws making you stand in front of a judge after 90 days in an UNCONTESTED divorce . Almost all other states do it by mail so the people can get on with their lives and not prolong the agony . How do I know about this ? take a guess ;)

          • Jason January 20, 2012, 1:31 am

            You know T.R. I have a female friend who has helped me tremendously through it all. She stepped in nearly out of the blue & has been wonderful, caring & very supportive. She & her husband were/are good friends who we camped with over the years and saw how it played out & decided to help me. That is a real friend.


            Love the “WTF was I thinking” – funny!

        • Anonymous January 22, 2012, 5:59 pm


          Its not a foundation, its prevention.

          You should give reconsider that advise you mention, specially to all the divorce people commenting.

          Lets see who’s is wrong.

  • T.R. January 18, 2012, 7:01 pm

    Sorry to hear that man , I dont care what anybody says , There is no good way to go through it , even if its for the best . It still sucks ass . Good news is there are a lot of worth while ladies out there that have been burned , who appreciate a good man . I feel lucky to have met mine . It does get better .

  • Ranger Man January 18, 2012, 10:13 pm

    Thanks, everyone.

  • sirlancelot January 18, 2012, 10:26 pm

    sorry to hear that RM.

    you made the best of a bad situation.

    lick your wounds and move on.

    ( P,S. i’ve met some really great ladies at the gym )

    • T.R. January 19, 2012, 11:46 pm

      That is a good place !

  • Rushman January 18, 2012, 11:01 pm

    Rangerman as you know I am a long time reader. I went through the exact same thing a couple of years ago. You are right about the stuff with the kids. My hats of to my son through it all! When My Ex’s sister tried to start shit he squashed it! Then the ex even lit her up. So keeping the peace is important. Sounds like you handled well and at least it is done. A buddy of my mine started through the process when I did and is still dealing with his….all I can say be glad it is over.

    On a positive note there is life afterwards….I met a wonderful woman who became my best friend. She took pitty on me and helped me get back in the game. The only thing we didn’t know was we would win with each other. We Compliment each other very well and she is a prepper!!! All by luck or fate she came into my life and I feel very blessed….hope you find your peace Rangerman!!!


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