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Pauline Gaines
Pauline Gaines is the pseudonym of a world-class gnarly divorce survivor. Her ex-husband got pretty much everything except for her sense of humor and her marbles. Besides divorce, she blogs about special-needs children, adoption, and mental health issues at She has a new husband, two children, two stepchildren, and three cats. Her essays have been published on several web sites, including Salon, Babble, and Good Men Project. She is currently working on a memoir of her journey through divorce. Follow her on Twitter @divorcedpauline and "like" her on Facebook.

Entries by Pauline Gaines

Why I'm Glad the Cool Mom Cliques Don't Want Me

(16) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 6:42 PM

I read with bemusement an article a friend posted on Facebook about the rise of back-stabbing suburban moms whose ruthlessness led one woman to pack up her family and leave town. While I certainly was on the receiving end of Mean Girl antics in high school, I have...

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6 Simple Things You Can Do For a Single Mom That Will Change Her Life

(24) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 5:04 PM

Earlier this week one of my DivorcedMoms homies wrote a piece about the difference between being a single mother and being a "solo mother" -- someone who is temporarily parenting alone while her spouse is out of town. While the writer, Susanna Morgan, admitted it is...

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Married Ladies: Don't Quit Your Day Job -- Ever

(187) Comments | Posted December 1, 2013 | 3:30 PM

In preparation for my move to a smaller place next month, I've been sorting through the detritus that has dogged me since my first divorce, trying to decide what is purge-worthy and what is worth keeping. I came upon a box of old photos -- rifling through photos...

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My Younger Man

(273) Comments | Posted September 22, 2013 | 6:14 PM

I have a new paramour. He is a complete romantic departure for me: younger (by eight years), blue-collar and unfettered by children.

We have absolutely nothing in common except for smouldering chemistry and a genuine fondness for each other.

One of the reasons I love hanging out with Nick, besides...

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Would I Look Like a Bad Mom in Family Court? An Attorney Weighs In

(0) Comments | Posted August 14, 2013 | 11:47 AM

Recently, I wrote about how my lack of child support made my housing situation precarious and that I didn't know how long I could continue to pay my rent. I also wrote about my need to claim my daughter Franny, of whom I have primary custody, as a...

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Don't Drink the United Front Kool-Aid

(4) Comments | Posted August 6, 2013 | 11:53 AM

A few days ago my friend Miranda, who, like me, has a VIP ex-husband and a son with behavioral issues, texted me this:

Please address in your blog. Because, OMG.

Miranda was referring to a text she received from her son's psychiatrist, yet another well-meaning but...

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The Boy Toy

(7) Comments | Posted July 15, 2013 | 11:36 AM

Would u be interested in some lovin' or a boy toy?"

This was the one-liner message I received from "Zach," a 24-year-old trainer from OKCupid.

Intrigued by the experience of my Platonic Booty Call pal India, I had posted a profile on this free online dating web site....

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Breast Cancer Scares and the Single Mom

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2013 | 2:35 PM

A couple months ago, while lying on my back in bed mid-breast exam, my wandering fingers screeched to a halt on a lump on the side of my left breast. It moved, and the edges were smooth, and I can't afford to get cancer, so I told myself it was...

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Custody Battles: Are They Worth the Fight?

(130) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 1:34 PM

I've been sort of following Gossip Girl star Kelly Rutherford's custody battle saga. I say "sort of" because hearing about any custody battle, after barely surviving my own, makes me want to crawl into a bomb shelter.

I don't know why Rutherford's judge granted her ex the right to take...

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Why I'm Grateful For My Narcissist Ex

(99) Comments | Posted May 2, 2013 | 1:51 AM

Recently, a 12-step friend told me he was grateful for his addiction because getting into recovery turned his life around. Instead of shouldering anger and resentments, he had learned to detach from negative feelings that had consumed him and could act in accordance with his values.

I nodded as I...

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The Day I Temporarily Lost My Post-Divorce Marbles

(42) Comments | Posted January 3, 2013 | 7:00 PM

"Mom, can you take me to Dad's house to pick up my computer?" my 15-year-old son Luca asked after we'd opened the presents on Christmas.

It was a simple, reasonable request. In fairness, my ex-husband Prince should have dropped off the computer at my house, but he is...

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Divorcing A Very Important Person

(105) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 2:00 AM

I had lunch with my funny and irreverent friend "Miranda" the other day. She, like me, has divorced a Very Important Person and has a child with behavior issues, so over gazpacho and Ricotta terrines, we traded stories from our respective post-divorce trenches.

Here are some of the...

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In Defense Of Non-Custodial Mothers

(35) Comments | Posted November 30, 2012 | 12:50 PM

Recently, The Huffington Post ran an article that featured a mother's regret for leaving her children with their father post-divorce. She explained that the divorce left her feeling emotionally and psychologically fragile and she chose to live with relatives for a few years in order to regroup. She...

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Good Things That Came From Bad Divorces

(27) Comments | Posted October 16, 2012 | 1:45 AM

We hear so many horror stories that come from divorce: financial devastation, children's psychological demise, lives torn asunder. I don't intend to advocate divorce nor diminish any of the hardships that befall many people post-split.

I do want to suggest, however, that the black-and-white thinking that surrounds divorce obscures some...

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Should The Richer Parent Get Custody?

(151) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 12:20 PM

Awhile back, in the middle of my god-awful custody battle, there was a moment when I thought I might have to pay my wealthy ex-husband child support.

I ended up giving him full custody of my son because I could no longer afford legal fees to continue the...

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My Post-Divorce Downward Mobility Has an Upside

(102) Comments | Posted September 17, 2012 | 4:00 AM

When we first moved into our neighborhood, I took my daughter Franny on a walk. It was a gloomy December afternoon. We passed the Latino market, graffiti-streaked walls on a decrepit '70s apartment building, a front yard littered with boxes, Ikea cast-offs, a rusted car collapsed on the...

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Five Things I Wish I Could Tell My Ex

(834) Comments | Posted August 15, 2012 | 2:15 AM

A friend and I, both divorced for several years, met for lunch a few days ago. Over our Chinese chicken salads, she told me she'd recently heard a story about a woman who "announced" her divorce to her husband by storming out of his birthday party with the dog and...

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7 Things Never to Say to Someone Going Through a High-Conflict Divorce

(351) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 2:15 AM

Not all divorces are ugly. Some exes mediate instead of hiring pit bull attorneys, sit comfortably together at their kids' school performances and maintain the same rules in each household.

Child support is paid on time. Neither parent speaks ill of the other in front of the children. Timeshares are...

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How I Stopped My Ex's Cyber-Bullying

(75) Comments | Posted June 29, 2012 | 12:10 PM

Christie Brinkley's recent divorce settlement made me bow to the fickle gods of post-divorce justice. The court appointed an intermediary to "deal with email bullying, verbal and emotional abuse" that Brinkley reportedly had suffered from her ex Peter Cook.

The media has stooped to...

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How I Let My In-Laws Make and Break My Marriage

(573) Comments | Posted June 6, 2012 | 4:00 AM

When I fell in love with my ex-husband, I also fell in love with his family.

Their life was a non-stop series of trips and parties and events. They traveled to far-flung exotic locales as a pack and with an entourage. They operated as a team, cheering on each person's...

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