With this recent wave of celebrity divorces, I felt inspired to write a short piece about how divorce looks like on the other side. I have two very close girlfriends who, very recently, have gone through divorces. In our conversations, they both expressed how they reflected on when I was going through MY divorce and now have a totally new perspective. Divorce affects so many aspects of your life that you would have never even considered. Once you become part of this “club” you may have a newfound respect for your divorced friends.
But I’m here to talk about “coming out on the other side”. This October it will be 6 years since my divorce was finalized. And what I thought was the worst event of my life has revealed blessings and “ah-ha” moments that I did not expect. So, if you are “in it” right now, please allow me to give you hope about what is in your future once the storm clouds have cleared away.
- Financial Freedom: This one is HUGE, especially for women who gave their husbands control over their finances. As much as divorce can destroy your finances, going forward you will never have to answer to anyone. You can spend your money where and whenever you want. You can always make more money. But freedom is invaluable.
- Emotional Freedom: Yes, it will take an ample amount of time to mourn the end of your marriage, the disappointment from your family, the guilt you feel about the effect on your kids, etc. etc. However, you will eventually feel “lighter” knowing that you are no longer a victim to the behavior of someone else. You no longer have to walk on egg shells. You no longer have to feel that pit in your stomach in never knowing if you’re going to be chastised for something random or criticized for just…I don’t know…breathing? (eye roll)
- Becoming a Better Parent: I come from divorced parents. And I’ll never forget, one day my mom said to me, “My biggest regret was divorcing your father because I did that to you girls.” Immediately, I replied “ABSOLUTELY NOT! It’s actually the thing we respect MOST about you! You didn’t do it TO us…you did it FOR us!!” Yes, for many kids it’s very traumatic to have their parents split up. But in the end, you relieved them of an extremely toxic environment. And, with time, you will become a better version of yourself and that will be a gift to your child. I did not like who I became with my husband. I was a weak, vapid version of myself, and I knew that wasn’t who I wanted my daughter to emulate. Today, she is so proud of me. She is constantly commenting on what a “bad ass” I am. She would never have seen that side if her father and I stayed married.
- The Gift of Time: Let’s be honest, being married is work. At times it can feel like you’re working so hard to keep the relationship afloat, that you’re on a hamster wheel just going nowhere. Many continue on that path simply because they are afraid of being alone. Post-divorce alone time can be difficult, at first. But overtime it becomes something you cherish. Maybe you feel guilty to have all this “me time”. Being ok with being alone with yourself is a crucial component to personal development. I’ve come so far in my journey, that I truly value my alone time. I feel very sorry for those who, so obviously, are staying in toxic relationships because they are so insecure that they cannot fathom to be alone.
- No Longer a Social Prisoner: Be it the ex-Mother in Law, or his ol’ misogynistic college buddy…how fantastic it is that you no longer have to spend time with these people! Ugh. Remember those times you had to grit your teeth through torturous small talk and phony pleasantries. Oh, sweet freedom!!!! I never want to go back THERE again. You have full control over your social circle. You are surrounded by people who love and support you. You can totally be yourself without judgement.
The point is that going through a divorce is absolute agony. But I promise you that the freedom that comes in the end will be worth the pain and struggle. Connect with someone who has been through it. They are the only ones who will be authentic about the experience. People think they know…but they don’t. I had a couple of friends who “coached” me through and now it’s my time to pay it forward.