Damsel Divorcée was created as a way to help others who are experiencing a divorce or are still emotionally devastated by one they’ve undergone. When I was only 26 years old I went through my first divorce and quickly learned that not many people my age could relate to this life-change. I felt alone and like a failure as I watched my happily married friends distance themselves and my single friends all seemed to be getting married and starting their lives, just as mine felt like it was ending. I spent weeks in the deepest depression of my life, until I finally decided that no one was going to save me from the turmoil I felt, so I had to be strong and save myself! I needed to realize that marriage wasn’t the fairytale I thought it was going to be, but I was no Damsel in distress who needed a Prince Charming.
Who Am I?
So, how do you become your own superhero? You start by discovering who you are as a single person. It is so easy when you are in a long-term relationship to forget your identity and become someone you no longer recognize. This is especially true when we marry young and haven’t yet discovered who we are on our own before trying to create a life with someone else. This happened to me in my first marriage. I was 17 when I started dating my ex, he was 23. We married when I turned 20. Although I saw many red flags and had a million reasons to leave the relationship, he was my first love and I was blinded by my love for him. Society has a way of making young people feel like their only purpose in life should be to marry and make a family. We aren’t taught that it is possible to fall in love multiple times or that just because we fall in love, doesn’t mean that you are in love with someone who will be good for you. I was very wrapped up in this idea of needing to marry and live happily ever after, and never even questioned that our terribly unhealthy relationship would continue being bad for me forever.
Throughout the course of our almost 6 year marriage I was never encouraged to be who I was on the inside, instead I was expected to suppress my true personality and become the person my ex wanted me to be instead. He was a very controlling man, who never saw me as someone who should be herself, but rather as a mound of clay which he could mold into the perfect wife. As much as I loved him, I felt as if I were living in a mental prison filled with emotional abuse and self-doubt. When he ended up filing for divorce I was left a shell of a human. I hated the person I had turned into because of him and I had no idea who I really was, because I was never given the opportunity to explore that. I was terrified to be on my own, but it was that sad year of self-discovery in which I learned I could have my own opinions about which music I liked, what movies I wanted to watch, which foods I enjoyed the most, how I felt about politics, and what type of humor I actually found funny. It was liberating to discover that I could just be me and that no one was there to tell me it was wrong or to judge me for those opinions. I could sleep with the tv on, dance around the house to Lady GaGa, eat dessert for breakfast and I had never felt so free!
I Am Enough
The next way that you can save yourself is by realizing your self-worth. So many times, we lose this when we are in marriages where unkind words are spoken on the regular. Even if your marriage wasn’t emotionally abusive, the simple fact that your marriage has failed can cause a shift in your self-esteem and make you feel like you are a failure. This mindset needs to change. You are not bad or insignificant or a failure, just because your marriage has ended or because someone else says you are. We all experience failures in life. Those failures should serve as lessons to teach us about who we are and what we do and don’t need in our lives. It is ok that your marriage has failed, it does not make you any less of a person because you made a mistake in marrying the wrong person. Remember this, you are enough! You don’t need another person around you constantly to tell you this, you just need to learn to love yourself and discover what makes you really special. Loving yourself isn’t only important for having a successful single life, but it will also help you if you ever decide to date again. It is in those moments when you feel truly happy with who you are and love your life as a single person, when the world will shine on you again and draw people to you who are attracted to the genuine glow of happiness you are emanating.
Cultivate Your Friendships
Many of you may experience that your friendships will drastically shift through the life-change you are undergoing. I found that many of my married friends no longer wanted to spend time with the newly single me. Other friends couldn’t deal with the depression that accompanied my divorce and weren’t fit to be an emotional support for me. It was through divorce that I discovered who my true friends were. Those friends who loved me during the lowest time in my life and saw me at my worst became even more valuable to me.
It is so important to build a support system while you divorce. Having people around you who will listen to your grief, make you smile and laugh when you want to cry, and will sit with you in silence when you just need someone to be there will make this terrible time in your life a little easier. Don’t take those people for granted because they are true gems in a world full of synthetic stones.
We all make mistakes in our marriages whether it is losing our tempers and saying things we don’t mean, marrying for the wrong reasons, missed opportunities to say what was in our hearts, cheating, nagging our spouses, etc. Many of us have a difficult time forgiving ourselves for our failures that led to the demise of our marriages. It is vital to remember that you are only human. Yes, you may have done some things you aren’t proud of, but this marriage is not over because YOU failed. It is over because you both failed each other. Think of your mistakes as a learning experience; as reasons to become a better version of yourself. You can’t fully learn to love yourself if you can’t forgive yourself.
Allow Yourself to Move On
When I say “move on”, I don’t mean you should go out and date. As a matter of fact, I don’t recommend dating until you have allowed yourself the time to properly heal. I learned this the hard way when I began dating quickly after my first marriage ended. This led me to marry a man who I wasn’t in love with in an emotional fog. This was unfair to him and to myself. What I am suggesting, is that you allow yourself to move on with life in general. It is ok to laugh again. It is a good thing to have fun. Find reasons to get up in the morning and be happy again. Explore those things you have always wanted to do but never did.
Don’t Take Everything So Seriously
One night after my second divorce I was sitting alone in my apartment getting settled in to chill and watch The Bachelorette. I looked over at the Wonder Woman doll my aunt had recently sent me because she knew I was going through a rough time and that I love Wonder Woman. I had been Wonder Woman a few months ago for Halloween and loved that costume. A funny thought crept into my mind: “I should put it on to watch The Bachelorette”. So, I dressed up as Wonder Woman, poured myself a big glass of wine and laughed at my ridiculous favorite show all by myself. You’re probably thinking, “Oh geez, someone has a screw loose”, but this was a pivotal moment in my newly single life. I learned that night that I didn’t need to impress anyone. I learned the difference between being lonely and being alone. I learned that I could be silly, weird, and laugh at myself without anyone else around. For the first time in my life, I was alone but I wasn’t lonely; I was content. I love that corny show, I love dressing up, even if it is just for my own amusement, and I really love that I figured out how to loosen up a bit and laugh at my own stupidity. I know that there are some very real problems in your life, but take the time to sit back, do something silly, and don’t take everything so seriously!
I’m not saying it will be easy to save yourself, because some days it will feel like your life is over and you will never feel happy again, but with time the pain does lessen and the sun does start to shine brighter again. This doesn’t come from being in a new relationship, it comes from allowing ourselves to heal and find love from within. You will get through this tragic time in your life! You can be happy again. You don’t need someone to save you from your sorrow; be your own superhero and save yourself!