The First 4 Phone Calls I Made Once I Retained A Divorce Attorney

Spoiler alert: none of them went well.

woman making phone call Edvard Nalbantjan / Shutterstock

I left my divorce attorney’s office. I wasn't emotional. I was resigned to my truth and making the decision to leave had given me peace of mind. It took me off of the emotionally miserable see-saw. It was a calm I hadn't felt in several years.

I got home and decided I needed to make a few phone calls.

Four calls to be exact.

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First, I called someone very close to my husband who was dangerously loyal to me.


I explained I had finally made the decision to get a divorce. The words I heard next caught me off guard.

"Whatever you do, don’t trust him."

I didn't ask any questions. I’m not sure why. I think I was so shocked by the comment I hadn't had time to digest it.

I simply hung up the phone and attended to the next person on my divorce announcement list.

I called my mother-in-law.

That call did not go well. 

I told her I was worried about her son and that he needed her because I was leaving.

My words were met with extreme anger.

She told me to get out of her son’s house and to leave the children.


I listened to her absurd demands. I told her if she wasn't worried that her son was in a bad place she should at least be worried about her grandchildren. She said she was worried about them because I’m their mother.

It was no use talking to her. She was never willing to believe her son was drinking and frightening his family.

All three of our children begged me to leave their father because of it.

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I moved on to my next phone call.

It was my sister-in-law who I adored and always considered more of a best friend than a sister-in-law.

My marital problems damaged our relationship but they didn't damage the love I felt for her.


I was calling to let her know that I would make sure my boys stayed in touch with her and that I would arrange to have them visit. 

I did this because I feared my ex-husband wouldn't make it a priority.

Until our relationship suffered, I was the one who made my husband’s family a priority. I may have been getting a divorce, and the relationships that I had with my husband’s family may be ruined, but family is the most important thing. And they are my children’s family.

The call wasn't awful but it was uncomfortable — the awkward way it feels when you were once incredibly close to someone but no longer are. 

The last call I made was because I still loved my husband.


He was my college sweetheart, my best friend and the guy I thought was the love of my life.

It was impossible for me to not worry about him. I was unwilling to tolerate his uncharacteristically bad behavior because it had gone on for five long years. But I cared about him and I wanted him to be okay. I wanted him to be happy.

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I crazily still chose to see (remember) the best in my husband, despite the reality of a narcissistic personality disorder.

Our marriage counselor was a psychologist and diagnosed my husband as lacking empathy and being on the severe end of the spectrum of this serious personality disorder. 


It was hard not to want to believe the guy I loved and married wasn't still there — in some form or fashion.

I was obviously still in denial while understanding the truth and severity of a narcissistic personality disorder. As well as, the alarming lack of critical empathy — the ability to feel the pain of another human being.

My husband’s behavior brought out the worst in me.

I was not proud of myself because I now yelled and said terrible things as I reacted to him.

I made my fourth call to his best friend.

I got the answering machine and left a message.

That was the only call where I was unable to contain myself. I cried like a baby.


I told my husband’s friend I was divorcing him but I was worried about him. I thought he was in a bad place and that he needed his friends. 

I waited for a return call that never happened.

At first, I was shocked. And then I was angry. And then I lost respect for him. And then I felt sorry for my husband.

He spent the past five years fighting the one person who loved him most. The one person who would have listened if I had received a phone call that he was in trouble and behaving uncharacteristically.

The one person who would have gotten involved.

Because that’s what you do when you love someone.

I made four phone calls when I retained a divorce attorney.


And none of them went well. 

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Colleen Sheehy Orme is a national relationship columnist, journalist, and former business columnist. She writes bout love, life, relationships, family, parenting, divorce, and narcissism.