There are few things more disappointing then going through a divorce. It’s almost like a death. It is a death; of a relationship, a partnership, a bond. When children are involved it’s that much harder. Where will I live? Who will move out? Who will have custody of the children. Who gets the sleeper sofa?
I was married young; at 21. As my mom drove me to the church my stomach was in knots and I asked her if she would just take me to Cincinnati. Not sure if I wanted to go to Kings Island instead of the $10,000 wedding ceremony that my whole family helped pay for. Yeah…bad sign I know. That day in June I was to marry my high school sweetheart. The man I had three children with and who had my heart for six years.
The marriage started out wrong. On our wedding night we rushed through sex and if it was a chore and fell asleep soon after. Wait let me back up. The ring I got for him was too small and during the cake ceremony his finger swelled. The fire department had to come and cut the ring off of his finger and he sat there sweating bullets. Lots of early drama.
We had the best intentions for our life. We bought a house, sent our babies to school, went to church every Wednesday night and Sunday, worked, and went on date nights on Fridays. My Dad would keep the kids on weekends and my Mom watched them often. But soon loud voices in my head were telling me how doomed we were. The truth is we NEVER should have been married.
Our divorce was a culmination of my past issues, his frustration, our age and the pressure we put on ourselves to stay in a bad marriage. I was devastated and went through a 6 month depression. I was embarrassed, ashamed, and lonely. This man had been my buddy for so long. Everything I did involved him. But soon I would pick up the pieces and realize just how strong I was. Here are some tips for getting through and over a divorce and moving on in a healthy way.
1. Don’t beat yourself up. You have the right to feel however you feel, no matter what that is.
2. Practice self- care by seeking counseling, journaling and talking to a spiritual advisor.
3. Don’t jump into another relationship. Have a relationship with yourself. Take yourself to dinner, on dates, and pamper you.
4. Seek help for your children if needed. Seek counseling, a spiritual advisor, and allow them to get their feelings out with no judgment.
5. Spend time with those you love. Friends, family and pets are the best to be around.
6. Stay busy. Find a cool hobby, attend festivals, take a class, work out.
7. Gain clarity about what you did right and wrong in the marriage so it won’t happen again. This will help in future relationships when you are ready.
8. LOVE YOURSELF. Take long baths, give yourself actual hugs, and treat yourself with patience and kindness. Watch the things you tell yourself. Lowered feelings and thought can lead to depression.
For me divorce started as a negative and hurtful situation but ended in me learning so much about myself. I learned what I did and didn’t want in future relationships. Five years later I married the man of my dreams. He became a father to my children and a true testament that there is truly someone out there for me who will love me for the crazy, quirky woman that I am.
When I think about divorce the song Stronger by Tank stands out in my head. The song is about the ending of a relationship. The hook or chorus is “Now, look at me I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. Where I am is no longer where I’ve been. I’m stronger and it’s all because of you.” The bridge begins, ” I’m still missing pieces after everything. But I’m stronger! Can’t believe it’s cause she said she’d never leave. But I’m stronger! But if she never left, I would have never seen that I’m stronger.”
What divorce taught me was, I can stand on my own. I can be a great mother. My children went to therapy and so did I. I also learned that what you want at 21 is not what you want at 30, or even 40. Divorce helped me find my identity. I use my voice to encourage other women; on my blog, on radio I even used it at the Texas legislature this year. I went back to school after my divorce, I reconnected with caring friends. And of course I found love after divorce.
What could have completely broken me made me stronger.