Back when I was separated (awaiting divorce paperwork to be done) from the Ex-Husband, I met a friend my age who was divorced and happily remarried and asked her about her divorce. We didn’t get much of a chance to talk in detail that night because it was a class reunion of sorts and lots of drinks were consumed. She followed up after a day or so with this sage advice in the form of an email. I can’t tell you how much weight was lifted off my shoulders to read it:
Just wanted to drop a quick line and say I am thinking about you. T mentioned you are going through some difficult times. I have so been there. I don’t know you very well, but you strike me as a strong, independent, intelligent woman. You will emerge even stronger, more beautiful and fabulous. Your gorgeous girls and girlfriends will carry you when you don’t think you can’t go on. If you ever need someone to chat with… I certainly have a whole bunch of experience…. and understand how difficult it can be. Have you heard about the 1st year???? You get to make all sorts of horrible mistakes, drink way too much, sleep with people you won’t remember the names of a year from now, and be completely liberated. Ok, maybe not everyone does that… but I did:) Hope you have a wonderful weekend.. and just know I am thinking about you..praying for peace for you and your girls;)
I wrote back some words of appreciation and more questions, hoping for more words of wisdom from the trenches…what to expect, etc. I was indeed relieved and reassured to read what she wrote back: (Emphasis added by me)
The deal breaker… well, it was a lot easier for me than it should have been. I was really young and immature and naive about who I was and what I really wanted. It took many years for me to figure that out. I pretty much just looked at him one day while he was sitting on the toilet and said I’m done. We had dated all through highschool and college and we very different people… as we grew up, we grew apart. Looking back I probably should have given it more thought and worked on the marriage more, however, I can not imagine still being married to him… YUCK! Do you love him??? Do you BOTH want to work on it?
Have you heard of the movie “Fireproof”. I haven’t seen it, but one of my good friends told me about it. I believe it is pretty religious, so it might not be for everyone, depending on your faith. I think you are supposed to watch it and go through this work book, but really supposed to by life changing. I think the theme is basically never leave your partner behind… kind of like the firefighters. I think hubby and I are going to try to find time to do it. Not sure if you are in the place where you want to try to save things or you are just done.
Dating again.. it’s interesting that’s for sure. There are a ton of freaks out there and while it’s fun to meet new people and get back in there…. it’s hard. As complicated as it is… I would recommend dating someone who has children. Those that don’t are typically more selfish. Most won’t meet your expectations…. and you should have very high expectations;) The hardest part for me was not knowing exactly what the future would hold for me and my kids.
Enjoy the moment and take it day by day. Humor got me through a lot of it. My mom used to buy everyone ornaments at Christmas. The first year after my divorce I unwrapped mine and announced to everyone what a wonderful “Merry divorced Christmas” ornament I had gotten. I thought it was funny… my slightly conservative midwestern family was not amused.
I know sometimes you just won’t even be able to feel like you can breathe… eat, sleep… the smallest things seem so difficult. You will grow and remember who you are and what you love to do and rediscover yourself. You probably already have started that process. Just remember you are a strong, fantastic woman…and with faith and confidence in yourself… you can do anything!!!!
Ok.. that was a novel. Email me anytime…. and please take care of yourself….. oh ya… whatever you are thinking… you aren’t crazy. I remember feeling like that a lot;)
Like I said, a huge weight was lifted. I added the bold for emphasis on the pieces where, as I reread it now, struck me the most. The dating advice? Dead on. I’ve never met a man without children who didn’t “get” my attachment to my kids. No matter how kid friendly he seemed. Selfish guy? Hell yeah. So date a man with kids? Check. “Remember what you love to do”? Wow. Again, right on. I did stop doing the things I loved to do because Ex had other wants, needs, desires. I gave up a LOT of myself and lost me along the way. And that last sentence “Just remember you are a strong, fantastic woman…and with faith and confidence in yourself… you can do anything!!!!”? Dead on again.
My last post talked about the 3 Phases Post-Divorce. I noticed after talking to a friend that those first 2 have more to do with thinking love is something to be found outside yourself. Phase 3 puts it right where it belongs; on yourself. It’s been said many times before, to really love someone else, you must first love yourself. How many of us women really know that when we enter our first marriage? I didn’t. But I do now. 🙂