There are so many aspects of divorce that I had never considered until I actually went through one at the age of 26. I was a hot mess and was completely unprepared for all that the divorce process would encompass and the way it would change my life. There are many things that I wish I would have known before getting a divorce and I want to share those with you. If you are going through a divorce, are considering divorce, or have already gone through one and are still dealing with the aftermath, I hope that these insights are helpful to you.
You Are Not a Failure
We all make mistakes in life, it is what makes us human. Divorce is not just one person’s fault. I beat myself up for years after my first husband filed for divorce. I thought I was a terrible, unlovable person, and that our divorce was all my fault. It took a long time for me to realize that he did a lot of things in the 8 years we were together that contributed to the destruction on our relationship and it wasn’t just my actions in that last year.
Ultimately, you may have put the final nail in the coffin of your marriage, but it takes a lot of moving parts for two people who once loved each other to come to the place where they no longer feel they can spend their lives together. Whether your spouse filed or you did, remember that your marriage failed, but YOU are NOT a failure! Your mistakes do not define who you are and your past does not determine your future.
Being a Divorcée Is Not A Flaw
I was so scared of the labels that came with divorce. I was afraid of what others would think and that I would spend the rest of my life defending myself and my decisions. In actuality, what I discovered was that most people didn’t care that I had been married before. Most of us judge ourselves far greater than anyone else does. Have you ever heard that you are your own worst critic? Well, it is true. Divorce is on the same level as other break-up, it just takes longer, is more emotional, and has legal implications. Most people have failed at a relationship at one point in their life and won’t judge you for following your heart. Those who matter won’t care that you got divorced and those who care, don’t matter.
People Will Take Sides
This was one lesson that I was not 100% prepared for. During my first divorce I didn’t just lose my Ex, his family, or our mutual friends, I also lost some of my own friends. Some people you wouldn’t expect may leave your life or take the side of your ex. Some of your family members may even use religion as a reason to push you away during your divorce, claiming that they can’t support your choices. Losing people who you thought would support you is an extremely painful consequence of divorce, but it really does show you who your true friends are.
Don’t Stay Married For Others or Out of Fear
If you are miserable in your marriage, but are staying in it for any reason other than that you love your spouse and want to be married to them, then you may be making a mistake. Staying with your spouse for the children does not make their lives better. Kids are perceptive and can tell when you are truly happy or not. Staying together will not show your children how to have happy, healthy relationships. Not getting a divorce because you don’t want to hurt your spouse, only ends up hurting them worse in the long run. Staying in a relationship because you are afraid of what life will be like as a single person only prolongs your unhappiness. Yes, it is scary starting over or wondering how it will affect those around you, but you can never truly find happiness if you continue to allow your fear to rule your decisions.
Don’t Rush the Grieving Process
Don’t expect to get over the divorce quickly, it took you time to fall in love with your spouse, so it will take time to move on from them. It’s alright to be sad and allow yourself space and time to properly heal. Forcing yourself to get over it will not work and may actually cause more damage. Finding a new relationship may put a band-aid on the wound, but it will not heal it. As a matter of fact, moving too quickly into something with another partner could end up resulting in more broken hearts and delay the grieving process altogether.
Follow Your Dreams
Many times we get wrapped up in our married lives and forget to do the things that we love or give up on our dreams in order to mesh our lives with our spouse’s. This may be a horrible moment in your life, but you can use it as an opportunity to create the life you have always wanted. Go back to school, start that hobby you have always been curious about, apply for your dream job. This is the perfect time to start over and pursue the things you’ve put to the side while you were married. Life may have taken a different path than you had planned on, but it could be leading you to something that will enhance your existence and bring you happiness that you never thought possible.
Life Does Get Better
It may be difficult to believe, but life does get better. I seriously thought that my life was over and that I would never love anyone ever again after I divorced my first husband, but flash forward to 8 years later and I am now married to someone who I love more than anyone I have ever loved and am living a life that I could have only dreamed of back then. Your marriage is over, but that doesn’t mean that your life is over. Give yourself the opportunity to grieve and heal and you too, can create a life for yourself that is better than anything you could have hoped for. Stay strong and know that you are worthy of love and happiness!