Edit: I started writing this piece in February and then I gave up. I didn’t know how to tell my story without feeling as though I had to explain myself, or justify the decision myself and my ex-husband made.
I could see the news spreading like wildfire. Getting DM’s from from ex colleagues, friends and employees. “Hey, how are things these days?” “You’ve been on my mind, what’s up” “Is everything okay your side?” Some people just straight up asking me “What happened?”
Sometimes you love and you lose.
I am not writing this to explain anything, I am writing this to say to anyone out there that is facing one of their most trying times in their life, that you will be okay. You will make it, and you will excel beyond belief once you survive it. I feel like I barely survived it, but I did.
Divorce is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to go through. You have to deal with the sense of failure, the rejection, the pain and simply a broken heart. Then to top it all off, there’s a ton of admin, lifestyle changes, routine disruption, and as cruel as people can be, gossip, a lot of it.
I’m speaking from the heart and this is my truth. I had the best marriage in the world at the time. He was my best friend and the ultimate partner. We got a long as well as Peanut Butter and Jelly. It was perfect, except it wasn’t. You see, there’s no recipe to a successful marriage, it works as long as you work.
I have never lost so much in a single period of time as I did this time last year. Friends (a lot of them), stability, routine, home, loved ones, and trust. It was painful. But I’ve learnt so much, and I wish to share this with all of you so you can hopefully learn from it as well.
1. It Feels Like a Death
I’ve gone through death before. My grandfather died a few months or so before my divorce.
I was extremely close to my grandfather, so I’m familiar with close death, and this truly felt like one. The loss of such a relationship brings with it the loss of dreams. Of ideas and of ways of life.
Pretty much everything that goes with the loss of human life can be found in the death of a marriage. I’m not sure which hurt lasts longer.
2. It Feels Like Failure
I was the first person in my immediate family to go through a divorce. So I felt like a failure. I’m also the youngest, and a woman.
I was raised in a church, where divorce was about as taboo as it got.
So I felt like a failure around people who had been around me my entire life.
I felt judged, more than usual. Not that this section is church specific, but the way people acted shoved me further away from regular church services. I didn’t feel judged by my religion. I felt judged by imperfect people.
But everyone has people who will judge. Assume. Fill in the blanks. People who will treat your life like a rap song. Mentally jotting in whatever verbs and adjectives that fit their narratives.
People treated me like I had failed, and the gossip that went around made me feel even worse. Like people were relieved of my failures.
3. There’s No Right Way But Plenty Of Wrong Ways To Cope
I’m not really sure what the right way to cope is, but I probably didn’t do it.
There was an emptiness in my soul that needed filling. And I tried to fill it with just about everything. Sports, Moving away, Drinking (way) too much, Meeting tons of new people (some from bad crowds) and Distancing myself from close friends. I isolated myself, refused to cry, spent a ton of money, and none of it helped.
I didn’t have anyone to really talk to about it. At least nobody with any experience.
I saw a therapist. Perhaps that was the one right step I took.
Prior to that, I had never considered a therapist. Part of me even felt like a failure for admitting I couldn’t just tough-girl stonewall my way out.
It was at least nice to go to someone who didn’t judge me. At least not openly.
I recommend reaching out to sincere friends as well though. They might not have the experience, but they will support you. I had a handful of friends and my parents that helped me through it.
4. Depression creeps in, it isn’t all at once
Sometimes you just don’t feel like talking with anyone.
The phone rings and you don’t pick up. You see a text and you don’t answer. People DM you and you don’t reply.
Divorce is depressing. At least for me, it was. I didn’t want to talk to certain people because it meant I’d have to talk about it, and I didn’t want to see certain people because of the look they’d give.
So I usually just stayed inside.
Usually, if my friends could pull me out of the cave I’d have fun. Sometimes it ended in a pool of tears, but usually, it was fine.
You’ll find out what kind of liquors bring out the tears and what kinds of liquors bring out the anger. I’d say try to avoid those.
Either way, I started to avoid so many people that eventually I’d get phone messages and text messages from family in the form of “are you okay…?”
I’m going through a divorce and the death of future dreams. Is that okay?
Leave me alone.
But as nobody in my family knew what I was going through they had a rotating watch to check-in on me.
I hated it.
5. You’ll find out just how shitty people can be
You’d be surprised just how insensitive and mean people can be. Refer to point 1. It’s like death. So if someone is going through a divorce, my advice would be to handle it as if their partner passed away. Trust me.
The worst thing in the world was sitting at a restaurant or bumping into someone on the beach and hearing things like “Hi, how are you? I heard you guys split, I also heard this and this….” or “Have you met someone new yet?” or “Wow, you guys were so perfect!”
Refrain from saying things like:
- I heard…
- You’ll be fine
- Luckily you didn’t have children
- What are you going to do now??
- Is it true…
- Where will you meet someone new?
It was surprising for me to see people viewing me as a failure and him as getting a second chance in life purely base don our genders. And everyone assuming that I had to meet someone new in order to be successful. My ex-husband and I never needed each other, we were both independent, we chose to be together all that time, so when we decided to split up, we made the decision based on what we wanted, our success or finances had no role to play.
6. Life Goes On
A year has passed since everything happened. I still find myself thinking about it now and then, the good and bad. But I’m no longer hurting. A couple of months ago a finally reached a point where I as getting ready to move on.
There were times I didn’t think this would happen.
I hit rock bottom in many ways. Many I’ll write about. Some I won’t. But I eventually started to answer phone calls and respond to messages. I picked up the pieces. And so did he.
I’ll tell you this: You’ll never truly find happiness with someone until you find happiness within yourself. Unfortunately this is a lesson I only learned after my divorce.
Like my cousin always says: “The only way through it, is through it.” and eventually you’ll see the light on the other side of it all. I did, and I’m really happy, finally.
I’ll be doing a mini blog-series on divorce. Everything from personal experience, lesson’s learned, advice and more. This is not an easy topic for me, or my loved-ones but I hope this will help someone else that’s also going through divorce.