Updated: Feb 28
If you're divorced or divorcing, you can certainly know what it feels like being hit by a bus... constantly... every time you try to stand up.
You have your reasons for choosing the divorce status, or at least your (ex-) partner has some, but the world outside your four walls think they have some even more powerful reasons to try and change your minds. Everybody knows that marriage is a life-changing decision and divorcing isn't different from this. One is full of happiness and plans for a great future. The other one is full of pain and perhaps some hope.
For some weird reason, people say that life ends just after a divorce... Or right in the middle of it. It's so weird... The capacity that the world has to try to manipulate you to avoid getting divorced.
When mentioning the word DIVORCE in front of... let's say... family- it seems that you're trying to tell a horror story with decapitations in the middle of the night, or deaths by poison-infused desserts. At least my story was like that. Taking the decision of divorcing my (ex) husband, the father of my kids, the person I thought would be my companion till my last breath, was -for me- the easy part. After a series of incidents happening early in our marriage, I had set my mind on the idea of divorce. I'm not gonna lie, for years I waited for the right occasion to do it. I expected to be understood or at the very least supported. The idea took shape in my mind and it calcified in my heart as well. It was a painful decision. It broke my heart. But it was necessary. Some people say divorce is evil. A necessary evil is sometimes the only salvation for our emotional well-being.
Knowing that this marriage wouldn't be "till death do us apart", I tried my best to think of a life where I could truly be happy. Expecting to have the support, I mentioned it to my family in a moment when I was very frustrated. Desperate would describe me better. The nice advice they gave me was "You married till death do you apart". Just like that, I knew their door would be closed and I had no place to go.
With no place to go and earning a miserable salary, I stayed in a marriage with a bleeding heart, dreaming of the day to be finally able to leave. Some days I tried to be happy. Some days, I even tried to make it work. Other days I just couldn't force myself into pretending I could be happy.
My divorce had nothing to do with cheating or economics but with other things. I had set high standards in my life at a very early stage and I wasn't willing to lower them. He was happy his way and I wasn't. He was careless and optimistic. I was just a realist. I hated to have the worries of two adults instead of just one.
The months following the separation weren't easy, but necessary. Divorce is something to affects everybody around, contrary to when you're desperate and frustrated and see yourself forced to cry in silence, hiding in the weirdest corners. In my darkest moments, everyone pushed me to try to fix the unfixable, to surrender, to settle for living a life in which I suffered. Everybody went to bed happy, untouched by my sadness. I didn't. I was suffering. I was unhappy. I went to bed with a pain in my heart. With tons of worries.
When I finally took the decision, everybody lost their sleep. Their senses of humor and states of mind were affected. I was the reason why everybody around me was collapsing... crumbling down like a huge building made of cookies. Because I decided to do what I knew was best for me. Because I didn't do what they told me to do.
The following months... the next years... were a life-changing school for me. Nobody was there for me when I was broken inside. I just had myself. And you know what? That was more than enough!
These 5 tips were extremely helpful to survive the transition from unhappily married woman to blissful divorcee!
Establish your new life's boundaries. Undisputably, life will change. Everything around you will change. It's time to sit tight and reconsider your boundaries. Probably you'll see yourself forced to create new boundaries for your own sake. Don't fear to establish your limits and protect them. Those that truly love you will be by your side or at least will make up their minds and will begin respecting your life.
Make time for yourself. Now that you're a divorcee everybody will try and suffocate you with more things to do. Your parents will need more help from you just to have extra free time for themselves. Your ex will begin his new life and on many occasions, he'll make up excuses for skipping the kids on his weekends. Recognize when people are just trying to take advantage of you and draw the line. You, too, deserve to have time for yourself. Don't overload your circuits by trying to be in grace with people. They will use you as long as you are a commodity to them.
Accept what cannot be changed. No matter what happens, life will never go back to how it was when you were married. Even if someday you re-marry, life will never be the same. Accept the fact that you'll have to say goodbye for good to a lot of people you love. Accept the fact that your life is yours, and you're the only pilot certified for the upcoming trip. Embrace that -if you're a mom- you will always have passengers in your trip, till the day you die, and they will make your trip a funnier one. Welcome those people who want to be by your side even when the storm is hitting hard. Make sure they all have their seatbelts on for the bumpy ride. You cannot change how the world sees you, but you can definitely change the way you see your world.
Enjoy yourself. -You'll have to accept that for a little while (or a long while) you'll be alone in this world. Not just alone. You'll be ALONE ALONE. Like confined to a dungeon where you were thrown until the hungry lion appears for dinner. After a divorce, even those who are "created" to love you and respect your choices, will turn their backs on you. So, while the rest of the world digests your new reality -you at their parties as a newly single lady- enjoy life on your own. Don't lower your standards or settle because they can't see life the same way. Enjoy the little moments with a fresh perspective. You used to watch life passing by from the eyes of a married woman. Now you can see the little details that went unnoticed before.
Learn to forgive yourself. After a divorce, you'll have to learn to live with judgment. Accept that people will always judge you and assess your life and that's okay. They don't put food on your table. They don't care for your kids when they get sick.
Accept that you make mistakes, and that's okay. You're a strong woman and you are shaping life to achieve happiness. Sometimes you will be wrong. Sometimes you'll act out of anger. Sometimes you'll act out of desperation. Sometimes you will royally screw it all up. Recognize your mistakes and forgive yourself. There's no need to keep torturing yourself when the rest of the world is already doing a great job at it. To be happy, you need to accept you're not perfect. You'll do it well. You'll do it wrong. At least, you haven't thrown yourself to die.
Divorcing doesn't represent the end of the world. Maybe the end of a cycle, but the world will still be there. Everybody fears the unknown, for silly that it may appear. Remember when the 1990s were coming to an end? Remember how many people predicted the end of the world at the first chime of the new decade? Remember how others predicted the end of technology and even alien invasions? And what happened? Nothing! None of those things! We continued living. Life kept its course and new experiences came to all of us. Another day to live. And then another and another. The clock kept ticking and we kept living.
Divorce is just like that. Those who haven't lived one cannot talk about what it is like. Those who haven't suffered it cannot tell you what truly happens right after separating or signing those papers. Divorce, just as marriage, is a completely different experience from couple to couple, and from person to person. While it is okay to fear the unknown, it's an even more serious mistake to stick with what is known just because it seems safe. Unhappy but safe.
Aim for a happier life!
Lots of love,