I’d walk around on the verge of tears all day long, every day. I felt really scared. I felt sad. I felt angry. I felt like a failure. I felt worried about my young children. And, I felt very very alone. I’m referring to a time in my life several years ago, when I was first getting divorced. I didn’t know one person who was going through a divorce and I felt like had no one. No one to talk to, no one to listen, and no one who understood how I was feeling.
I didn’t want to talk to my married friends (which was every friend I had) and I had no family living near me. I felt like I was all alone and it was a horrible feeling. Looking back, that was my motivation for starting Divorced Girl Smiling. I didn’t want men and women getting divorced to feel like I did. I wanted to create an online place for people to go to get information and to feel connected, supported and less alone.
For those getting divorced, here are 12 things I wish someone would have told me when I was getting divorced:
1. The day your soon-to-be ex moves out, you will feel surprisingly very relieved.
The sadness you thought you’d feel will instead be such reprieve, that you will almost feel joy. Don’t feel guilty about that. You’ve been unhappy for so long, you deserve a break.
2. When getting divorced, you might get attorney statements that will make you physically nauseous.
If you want to avoid that, don’t let anger and resentment take over. Instead, try to settle or mediate with your ex. I know you probably don’t want to talk to the person right now, and there is so much anger and resentment present, but try to think of the divorce as a business deal.
Put your pride aside and talk to him or her, no matter what happened. You can’t undo what he or she did, or what you did and you can’t change why you are getting divorced.You will save so much money if you think of the money you are trying to save for your children by getting divorced without a lengthy and expensive battle.
3. You will not be alone forever.
It feels that way right now, especially if you are getting divorced because your spouse left you for someone else. Dating after divorce can be wonderful, and you will FOR SURE meet someone at some point (if that’s what you want). I’ve never met a divorced person yet who hasn’t fallen crazy in love. It just takes time.
4. Your kids are probably going to cry a lot, feel sad, do strange things or misbehave.
Children whose parents are getting divorced sometimes feel angry or sad or scared or guilty, (like it’s their fault). Oftentimes, they don’t know how to process it. Just talk to them. Always keep the lines of communication open. But don’t try to reason with them. Just validate how they feel. Keep telling them that you understand how they feel that way. AND drill it in their heads that it’s not their fault.
5. Your relationship with your ex will be like it was in your marriage.
If you fought a lot in marriage, you will fight a lot in divorce and after divorce. If he or she was passive aggressive in marriage, he or she will be the same in divorce and after. You will both do a lot of things, especially at the beginning of the divorce that will make each other angry. Half the time he isn’t speaking to you, you won’t even know why and vice versa. It is a frustrating relationship and all the things you couldn’t stand about each other in marriage will be magnified in divorce. That’s just the way it is. Accept it and don’t try to change him or her. Ever.
6. You’re going to meet other divorced women and they are going to become some of the best friends you ever make in life.
7. Your ex’s family is either going to stop speaking to you completely, or they are going to be really mean to you.
It’s a terrible feeling. You thought they were family and now they are acting either like strangers or like you are the enemy. Try to understand that your ex might have warned them not to talk to you (and they might be scared of him or her) or they are just being protective of your ex. It’s very hard to handle. It’s hurtful and sad. But don’t forget that you have your own family and friends who are on YOUR side. Those are the people you know you can count on.
8. Your ex is going to have a serious girlfriend in 2 minutes. DO NOT be shocked.
You will cry. You will be angry and resentful. Why did he move on so quickly and why does HE get to be happy? Focus on YOU, not him. He or she is just lonely. They didn’t forget about your marriage or you, and they are still grieving the divorce. They are just numbing their pain with a new relationship.
9. Some of your married friends are going to stop calling you, because they don’t want to go out as a threesome, they want to go out with couples.
And, they might be afraid that hanging around a divorced person might be contagious. It’s hurtful but understand that it’s about them, not you. But, some of your married friends will be there for you at a level you never imagined, and it will touch you beyond belief.
10. People are going to set you up on blind dates, and when you go on some of them, you will be sitting there dipping your bread in olive oil, and thinking, ‘How could so and so possibly think this was a good match?’
Just try to have fun and think of it as a new experience and someone who might enrich your life in some other way–even if dating and romance is out of the question. In other words, don’t be a bitch about it.
11. You will be getting take-out with your kids more than ever before.
Make an effort to sit at the kitchen or dining room table and eat with your kids and talk, with no cell phones and no TV, because you are STILL a family. Also, check out Yummly for easy, quick recipes. Once you start cooking, you will love it! It’s very relaxing and the food tends to be healthier.
12. Getting divorced means you will have a year ahead of you that includes hilarious moments, crazy dates, but a lot of crying and sadness too. It’s okay.
I’ll be honest. It’s a roller coaster. But, when getting divorced, you have to ride it to get through it. You will be fine. Deep breaths, lots of yoga, lots of gratitude and some faith will help. So will self-love and dark chocolate.
The best advice for those getting divorced that I can give is, have confidence in yourself and handle each thing as it comes. Some days will be good. Some will be really challenging. You might cry every day for awhile. But you will laugh, too. You will still be the same person you are, and actually you will be a better, stronger person in some ways.
You will find that you are more real and find gratitude you didn’t always have. You might also look in the mirror at times and love your inner strength and courage. You’ll be just as good of a mother, if not better. And, you will find love again, even if it doesn’t seem like that now. You will realize that you have courage and grace that you didn’t know you had. And it will feel great.