“I want a divorce.” I don’t think anyone ever dreamed they would say or hear those four words; let alone know how to process it or function afterward.
It’s not like we are raised to think, “I’m going to get married one day, then x years later, I’m going to get divorced and move on with my life.” Nope, it doesn’t happen.
When your relationship reaches a level of toxicity that there is no other option but to divorce for your own sanity and happiness, what do we do? How do we go from being an “us” to a “me”? I’m not going to lie: the transition is hard, harder than anything you can imagine. I can tell you, from personal experience, the journey is worth it.
The necessary protocol for getting divorced should be switched with getting married. “Let’s get married!” Off to the courthouse, get a license, and BOOM: married! Divorce is so much more complicated: get a lawyer, file the necessary paperwork, wait, argue over trivial things, agree on trivial things, wait, wait, wait some more, off to court, you’re divorced. It should be harder to get married than it is to get divorced.
As someone who recently ploughed through this mess, I can assure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is nothing better than walking into your own home, that is now free of eggshells, free of the arguing, and free of all tensions. It makes life so much sweeter.
Some things that can help you find your way while going through a divorce or after a divorce:
Therapy: Even if you don’t think you need therapy, find a therapist. Go once, twice, five times: it doesn’t matter. Just go. Divorce is often like experiencing death in that there are stages. You will deny the end of your relationship and you will fight it. You will doubtlessly grieve for it and eventually you will accept it. You will be happy again.
Friends/Family: Immerse yourself in the comfort of your friends and family. Maybe not the ones who think you are crazy for divorcing that guy, but the ones who are supportive of your happiness.
Find a new hobby: Go to that art class that meets once a week. Start up a new workout regime. Start meeting your friends for drinks once a week. Find that piece of you that you lost during your relationship. There was something along the way that got lost in the “us;” find it again.
Be alone: Don’t be afraid to do things by yourself. Want to go to dinner? Then go. Want to see that new movie? You’ll be surprised how wonderful it is to watch a movie alone without interruption.
One of the funniest conversations I had after my divorce was with one of my best girlfriends. I was out and about and frantically messaged her, “I think I just got hit on!!” Yea, that happened. It went a little something like this:
Me: I think I just got hit on!!
Friend: Tell. Me. Everything.
Me: I was walking through the mall and girl; this guy was GORGEOUS…
Me: He smiled at me, and made eye contact.
Me: Well that was it. He smiled and made eye contact.
Friend: Seriously?! That’s it?!
Me: yea…. He hit on me, right? I don’t know, I think so.
Friend: You’ve got to be kidding me, that’s all?
Me: Dude, I’ve been married for 15 years! I’ve never been hit on! Was I or wasn’t I?!
Friend: No you dumbass, he was a nice guy. You got me all excited for nothing, I am completely disappointed in you!
She still gives me hell about that to this day. How was I supposed to know?
Dating in the 21st century is its own thing. There is online dating, which is hugely popular, but you also have to be super careful. Catfishing is a thing and people have day jobs with it. I prefer meeting people in the wild—meaning in the real world—it’s just so much harder! You have to find your confidence and find you and after a divorce, that task can be daunting.
Date yourself for a while, then worry about dating someone else. Life is far too short to be unhappy. No matter where you are in your journey, find your happy.