A breakup of any kind is difficult, period.
This past summer marks five years of living independently, aka life after divorce, giving me pause as I reflect on how far I’ve come and where I’ve landed.
When my marriage ended, I couldn’t have imagined my future, let alone the following week. There were soooo many thoughts flooding my mind regarding kids, our home, and whether I would be able to afford my new life.
Although drinking glass after glass of wine while listening to breakup songs on repeat seemed to be my new norm, it wasn’t a plan. It was stressful. I needed an exit strategy and didn’t know where to begin. Unfortunately, there was no easy out. Life was going on around me, but mine had suddenly stopped.
Oddly, I found myself surrounded by breakup stories that I couldn’t seem to escape. Most stories were typical, but I would hear a doozy every once in a while! Leaving me scratching my head, WTF?! Misery enjoys company, but this felt like an epidemic of disproportional breakups, separations and divorce, which left me wondering, what the heck is in the drinking water?
It’s easy to play the blame game. Secretly, I curse Martha Stewart for her montage of wedding books, magazines and tv shows, which brilliantly market the perfect wedding day and a happily ever after. Damn her! Yes, I, too, was caught up in bridal registries and calligraphy place cards with bright pink ribbons. I wanted a piece of that dream. My mom would say, “would you rather be happy or right?” The correct answer, of course, is to be happy, even though I wanted to be right. I’m a Leo, after all! Overall, I believed I had a good, healthy marriage. Sure, the odd thing would surface, and no, it wasn’t perfect, and I ask you, “who’s marriage is?!”
That’s right! It wasn’t perfect, but I guess I was expecting a different outcome. It would have been easy to take the woe is me approach by locking myself in my bedroom and pulling the sheets over my head, ignoring my reality (trust me, I had my moments), but I didn’t. Instead, I did everything in my power to take control of my life, being of the mindset, “I got this!” Because it’s all about attitude. RIGHT? I was devastated, but it didn’t stop me from taking the high road; I was in survival mode and needed to stay positive. Everything happens for a reason, or at least that was my mantra at the time. I had to believe there was something better waiting for me. Spoiler alert, there is!
Yes, breakups bring the crazy out in all of us. With emotions running high, it’s all you can do to keep your shit together and not fall apart. And as far as I’m concerned, going through a divorce is the super bowl of all breakups. There was nothing that could have prepared me for what I would endure. Metaphorically speaking, I had been tackled, BUT god damn it, I wasn’t going to be defeated!
So why am I telling you this?
My long-winded story is not unlike so many others before me. But, guess what? You can get through this! According to many statistics, “41% of 1st marriages and 60% of 2nd marriages end in divorce.” Based on this intel, you’re not alone, although sometimes, it feels like you are. It sucks!
There will be tough days, many sleepless nights, and mornings when you can’t get out of bed. Surround yourself with family and friends who love you the most. They are your cheerleaders, and they are there to keep you sane. But, it takes a village and, sometimes, you need more.
Psychologists, therapists, counsellors, and divorce coaches will support and guide you through difficult times. Knowledge is power, and a lawyer (aka your new best friend) will help lay the groundwork, explain those complicated legal terms, and negotiate your entitlement with your best interest, proving invaluable.
It doesn’t matter who did what to whom. And yes, it’s hard not to get caught up in disagreements, accusatory texts, F-bombs, and I hate you’s. LET IT GO. It doesn’t serve anyone. I know. I sound like some ageing Pollyanna who wants to make everything better, or maybe I’m even slightly naive. But wouldn’t it be great if you could bundle that negative energy into something positive?
Make a plan, an inspiration board, journal your thoughts, whatever it takes to get you moving in the right direction. How do you see your future? Then, put your plan into action, take control and choose YOU.
Five years ago, I moved out of the family home and into MY new home across the city. It was a huge exhale, knowing that I survived. It’s deserving to be celebrating this milestone and empowering to think about where I started. I believed in myself (I had to), and I could move on because of this. I landed on my feet, and I’m finally living my happily ever after.