I was recently pondering 5 things I’ve learned since my divorce. I don’t take divorce lightly and trust me, I agonized hard in making the decision, but if divorce is something you are facing, just know there is hope. You will feel every imaginable emotion, from terror to depression to exhilaration and back again. If divorce is in your near future, here are some things you need to know. . .
It Won’t Kill You
Ugh . . . the pain! Yes, in the beginning, it will suck, but it is temporary. After I separated, I felt like the walking dead for a long time. Even something as simple as eating dinner at a new place was too painful. I’d had so many changes in my life, I couldn’t bear the thought of eating food I wasn’t familiar with. But with each day and with each step forward, it got easier and less painful. It will hurt for awhile, in fact, the longer you were in the relationship, the longer it will take to heal, but I promise it will eventually fade and it won’t kill you. Each day get up and keep taking that next step forward.
You WILL Make Mistakes
I remember how scared I was venturing out on my own. I had to make decisions by myself. Tons. Decisions about where to live and about finances, about what to do with my time and who to spend time with. I had to navigate my relationship with my children to incorporate this major change with the least impact on them. Mistakes are normal in life and especially when you venture into unchartered territory. Expect that you will make mistakes so that when the time comes, you won’t beat yourself up so much. Figure out how to deal with it and move on. Learn from it so you won’t make a similar mistake in the future. If you need to apologize to someone, then apologize. Genuinely. You are going to make mistakes and you will be okay.
Take Time To Do Your Emotional Work
One of the best things I did for myself was to take the time to examine the relationship and learn from it. Forgive yourself, your Ex, and anyone else that takes up emotional space in your heart. Everything that happened, happened as a result of emotional immaturity. Most people aren’t malicious, they are just acting out of their pain and have pretty immature coping skills. Figure out how to not take someone else’s poor coping mechanisms personally and you will open up space in your heart to live more freely and uninhibited. Spending time nursing old wounds does not help you AT ALL.
Dating Is Hard
Although there are SO many ways to meet people now with dating apps and so forth, dating is still hard. Getting to know someone new, getting in touch with your feelings about them, knowing who is trustworthy and who is not, getting rejected, having to tell someone they’re not the one . . . it isn’t exactly the romantic comedy you expected. It’s still worth it, though. You will laugh and cry and learn about yourself. You will learn about other people and more importantly, you will learn what you want and don’t want in a relationship. Keep in mind, however, the most important relationship to work on is the one you have with yourself. If you can’t be alone and are too eager to get into a relationship, look out! You are not in a good position to make sound decisions about who to be in a relationship with!
Attitude Makes a HUGE Difference
After the divorce, I realized I had a choice. . . to lay down and die from it, or to live life to the fullest. I chose to live. And live I did. The year I got divorced I was turning 50 and I decided to do 50 Fabulous Things that year (FYI, getting divorced was NOT on my list of fabulous things). I tried new things, met new people, and did things I had always wanted to do but had never done. I allowed myself to be stretched outside of my comfort zone. The year certainly had some painful points, but setting that goal helped mix in some fun and excitement which kept me looking forward. Little did I know at the time that it would be a springboard for the years ahead AND it has since inspired a lot of people which, to me, is the biggest reward.
My journey has been far from perfect but remembering the pain was temporary, taking it easy on myself as I grew, being content with my own company while staying true to myself, doing my emotional work, and keeping a positive attitude have helped me through it. Divorce is certainly not to be glamorized, but if you have to go through it, there are some things you can do to lessen the sting and ease the journey. If you need help along the way, look me up, I am happy to help.