Divorce {Not a Dirty Word}

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Divorce is real. Not like you see in the movies or portrayed in not-so reality shows, but REAL. Divorce is not the failure you’re told it is. You don't have to be ashamed of your reasons or your divorce. Nobody else gets to live your marriage for you, so how can they make judgments or assumptions?

divorce photo | CordierEvents.com

My marriage probably should have never happened but now its over and that's my reality. For me it was the hardest decision I've ever made and I made it twice (yes 2x and to the same person for people wondering just how nonsensical my life is). But after strengthening my "no" muscle and getting over the immense guilt of hurting someone's feelings “I” made the decision and it was right for me and my ex-husband. It was right because it meant we could both find what we are looking for in life. I can’t speak for him, but I’m looking for unconditional love, support, and a family. The very things that divorce can sometimes take away from you depending on your circumstances. I wasn't loved the way I needed or wanted and that eroded my ability to give love the way he needed and wanted. And where did that leave either one of us? 

Today marks the legal end of a long and tumultuous journey. I was with a person for more than 8 years and as I reflect on the last few years of our married life, I truly have mixed emotions. What I’m actively learning is that divorce is difficult in general but can be even more difficult for the people around you. 

I have learned a lot about my own strength, my many weaknesses, and more importantly my willingness to work hard at anything, including my relationship. Until I just had to quit. But quitting isn’t an accurate term; I made an educated and deliberate decision. I decided to choose myself over misery. I decided my dreams and desires had value. I decided to do the right thing for my situation after years of trying to repair it. I find that people have been questioning my level of “try” so for those wondering: Yes we tried therapy (2 different times with 2 different therapists), yes I tried prayer (always trying that), and yes we even tried calling it quits and reuniting. But sometimes a season can turn into an ice age, which nobody can survive.

The most obvious lesson I learned was everybody wasn't ready for my relationship to end, regardless of my own adult decision about it. Friends and family bombarded me with questions, assumptions, and unwarranted opinions about my marriage. I found myself often defending my choice to leave and often defending my former spouse, who is only guilty of being himself. Some of my friends wanted me to be divorced before I was even married and I’m just grateful there weren’t “I told you so(s)” attached to the support and encouragement from my inner circle. Slowly my divorce has put me on a self-imposed island of awkwardness, sadness, and uncertainty. I spent the early half of this year working through the more painful pieces of that which has definitely given me plenty to talk to my therapist about. The hardest part was the fear of missing out, on family and love, and supportive companionship. Being alone is HARD, but was ultimately necessary for me to right this ship and get back on course.

I wish there was a real instruction manual for all of this! I have listened to enough audio books to make me want to put cotton in my ears but I didn’t find any comfort or helpful information. To all those writing self-help books about divorce please consider adding a few chapters...
  • Chapter 1- What to do if your divorce is amicable (people just don't understand)
  • Chapter 2- Pros and cons of changing your name (again)
  • Chapter 3- Purging memories (What to do with all those damn wedding pictures)
  • Chapter 4 - Embracing the 5 stages of grief
  • Chapter 5- When people want you to console them about your divorce (Sorry not Sorry)
  • Chapter 6 - Dealing with nosey and insensitive people (no you can’t punch people in the face)
  • Chapter 7 – Dividing your favorite restaurants and social destinations (avoidance)
  • Chapter 8 – Social media separation
  • Chapter 9 – Finding yourself again (Independence Day Resurgence)
  • Chapter 10 - What to do when you stop feeling guilty (do you throw a party?)
  • Chapter 11 - Elevator speech (repeatable messages for when sarcasm won’t do)
  • Chapter 12 - Dating post divorce (No you don't actually have a chance with Idris Elba)

I certainly could use more guidance because sometimes winging it gives me anxiety but I have been blessed to find like minded women going through the same struggle. Good or bad, I have started my new journey of love, for self and others. For me that means, committing to 365 days of finding out who I am as a single woman (started March 2016). It also means praying, traveling, writing, and satisfying my soul.  I welcome distractions but my focus will for once be on ME and not meeting standards or sustaining expectations, just living in the moments that make me happy. That starts with slowly embracing all the positives (I mean you sweatpants Saturday and you last-minute laundry day), loving myself extra hard because I’m awesome, drinking excessive amounts of wine without judgements, getting a few tattoos because that’s how I roll, and pampering myself because I need that. I’m evolving people and I like it.  

To those going through it, you can do it!!! Remember “divorce” isn’t a dirty word, it can be liberating. For me it meant freedom and a release from a painful and unhealthy relationship.  Although it started out rough, so far it has proven to be worth it. And despite my initial fear, I haven't given up on the thought of love or finding the one for me. So if you see me around, congratulate me (don't offer condolences) because I have been delivered and I'm truly blessed to be moving positively into my future. 

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