I often receive emails from readers seeking advice and support regarding divorce. It’s not even just readers these days that I’ve been talking to often about marriage troubles and divorce processes, my friends have been going through things too.
Lately I’ve noticed that I keep coming back to the same feelings and realizations about divorce with both my friends and readers.
I decided to make a post out of these feelings which came out to be a list of life lessons after divorce. Although, I do think the lessons can speak to anyone, not just us divorced people!
When you find yourself suddenly in a place of I’m living a normal married life to OMG what is happening here, this cannot be happening to me — please realize that yes, it happens.
I felt as though I was only person to go through a divorce. Maybe that’s because no one I knew at the time was divorced but the reality is, it happens more than we sometimes realize.
It’s no wonder to me now that my divorce attorney seemed so UNPHASED by the details of my divorce. While I was all OH MY GOODNESS CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS, he was all calm, cool and collected as if I told him something boring, routine and basic.
My story was just another big folder in his stack of case files. He saw this stuff every single day. It was not uncommon at all! The stories may vary but the reasons and developments are all very much the same.
You Don’t Know What Goes On Behind Closed Doors
From the street, my house looked so pretty. Nice cars filled the driveway and people would stop to take pictures of the work we did in order to make their home look like our home. I would sit by the window and laugh. You have no idea what’s really going on in here!
You never know what goes on behind closed doors so don’t compare yourself to the smiling happy pictures on Facebook. More often than not, there’s a lot taking place behind those grins which half the time ARE FAKE.
In fact, I have a good friend who would post the OMG WE ARE SO HAPPY!!! pictures on Facebook while simultaneously texting me that she’s crying over her marriage crumbling.
Nothing is Black and White.
The older I seem to get, the more gray area I find in almost every situation.
No two marriages will function the same just as no two divorce processes will run the same course.
Your viewpoints and opinions will change over time.
Things you thought you would never do you may find yourself doing.
Situations you would never put yourself in, you are now in. Willingly.
Don’t rule anything out and don’t judge others because you just don’t know the whole story or what you would do if you were in their shoes.
Strength Comes From Experience.
They say what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger and I am living proof of this. I know very well that I am a much stronger person after going through the years of my divorce and it’s a strength I keep in mind whenever anything else challenging comes my way.
While of course I wish I didn’t go through what I did, I can sit here today and say that my divorce experience has made me a much stronger and wiser person.
We All Have Our Own Time Table
Looking back, the only thing I wish I could change is finding my strength to walk away sooner. People always say that I am the strongest person they know but the reality is, it takes less strength to hold on than it does sometimes to let go.
I never wanted to say WHAT IF so I lingered, trying everything I could to make things work. Sometimes things aren’t supposed to work forever though and that’s something I now realize.
We all have our own time-table in terms of how easily we are able to move on and I cannot regret that it took me longer than it may have taken others had they been in my shoes.
Related: I’ve gotten much better at times of letting go and moving on which is something I wrote about in my last dating after divorce post.
Wisdom Is A Beautiful Thing
I learned a whole lot going through a divorce and it’s a wisdom I am now extremely proud of and can’t imagine living without.
I always say that I could eat some people alive just based upon my life in my 20’s and early 30’s. I did a lot of living early on which got so dramatic with a four-year divorce process to cap it all off. The financial and emotional details of it all is more life experience than some will ever encounter.
However, what I learned and continue to learn from what I went through now only enhances my life in a positive way. I am able to help my friends (and readers!) who are going through various types of situations and my knowledge on so many random and convoluted subjects can only be attributed to dealing with my divorce.
Good Things Can Come From Bad
When I was married, I was a stay at home mom. A total house wife.
I never intended on working ever again and probably wouldn’t have needed to had we stayed married which means the career I have built for myself would never have come to be.
Ten years ago, if you told me I was going to become a writer that not only has a blog with people who want to read what I have to say but also get paid for writing it, I never would have believed you.
A career in the event industry? A career I basically built for myself because I started writing this blog which gave me a resume filled with my writing which attracted companies?
None of this would have had happened if I was still married. At least I don’t think so.
I also met so many people along the way. Friends and relationships that never would have formed had I stayed married. I can’t imagine my life without these people now which makes me realize how lucky, in some ways, that my divorce even happened.
Of Possible Interest:
My Story To Tell – Not an easy post to write but it definitely goes into more detail about my divorce and how it related to my son’s Bar Mitzvah. It also includes another great list of life lessons.
I hope this post of life lessons after divorce helps someone else going through the process. As always, please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions!
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How do you feel about what you see on social media? Do you know people who try to make things look better than they really are?
Learn any life lessons recently?
7 thoughts on “Feelings & Life Lessons After Divorce”
I love every piece of advice here, Meredith. My parents got divorced the year I got married after years and years of back and forth and infidelity and total disfunction. But they had been married almost 40 years. How do you let go of that lightly? I know that I pushed my mom too hard to sever it when she was not yet ready. She needed to follow her own timeline, not mine. The other surprising (or maybe not so surprising) aspect was how hard I took it as an adult. I think in certain ways it was harder as I was just beginning this whole marriage thing to watch one fall apart so completely. I admire how you mother your son and how you are raising him to be an honorable man. It takes a strong woman to do that.
Aw thanks. I have to tell you, I am so grateful that everything happened when my son was so young. he was completely unaware of what went on for those few years and even now, although he has questions, he still doesn’t know (or need to know) the details. This is how he knows life, which of course in some ways is sad as he doesn’t remember what it was like for the first couple of years of his life (although he sees the pictures of family life) and in other ways, it’s just so much better this way. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been on him (and then on me) if he had been older and understood.
Social media is like vacation. Everyone loves and is happy while on vacation (mostly). It’s such a small glimpse into someone’s life and it definitely doesn’t show everything.
It sounds like you are doing the best job you. can possibly do, keep at it Mama!
It takes more strength to let go than to hold on. I loved what you said about that because it’s so often overlooked. It’s along the same vein as the point that love doesn’t always feel good. It doesn’t always look pretty–sometimes love is really, really uncomfortable. Sometimes loving ourselves (and the person we married) means letting go of that marriage. It sounds so opposite, but love is one giant paradox.
Social media is tough, because it only shows one element of a person’s life. I totally know what you mean when you say that people don’t know exactly what goes on inside of your house. I’m so thankful for a lot of good things coming from bad in our house, and even the really hard things have taught me so many good things.
Social media is so weird. It’s like a family album that collects the good moments, but being under the gaze of others makes it more constructed and less authentic. That’s probably why Instagram is my least favorite – it feels so cultivated. Then again, I don’t like Twitter either because it’s a cluster. I’m at a weird point with social media where I use it only for business or to follow my favorite news outlets and magazines all in one place (that’s Facebook for me!). I’ll share photos when I remember.
I do think going through hard times makes us stronger and who we are today. While I’ve never been divorced, I am the product of divorced parents. It’s so prevalent in our society and we need to talk about it more. Also I loved what you said about the strength it takes to leave when you’re not happy or it isn’t working. Kudos to you.