Riding The Roller Coaster Of Divorce


By Jackie Pilossoph, Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, Love Essentially columnist and author

             When I was going through my divorce, everyone said “This must be such a sad time for you.” But actually, even more that sadness, what I remember about that time nine summers ago was that it was a roller coaster of highs and lows.


What I mean by that is, some days were really scary, but not in a bad way. Kind of like the first time I was going up the hill on The Thunderbolt, by far the scariest ride at Kennywood Park, the amusement park I went to as a kid. A feeling like that isn’t scary in a bad way, but rather scary like you know things are about to get really exciting in a positive way. So, despite the shitty time of being newly separated, there was a tinge of excitement when I thought about the future. Really, the distant future. Why? Because I had a feeling that this time would at some point pass, and who knew what (or who) was out there? At 41, I had so much time left to pursue happiness. (And by the way, you can say that until you are 85.) Plus, I had two little angels. How can the future seem the least bit gloomy when you have young kids? It can’t.


Katz and Stefani Family Law Attorneys


But other days, the roller coaster would come crashing down faster than the 400 foot drop on the Thunderbolt. But instead of screaming with excitement and laughter, the drop seemed like rock bottom just happened. And, it was here to stay. Everything seemed hopeless and frustrating, as if I’d never get out of this awful, depressing, complicated, mind-gamey and expensive (think attorney’s fees) phase of my life.


Going through a divorce truly is like riding a roller coaster. The ups and downs are exhausting. I remember thinking that I could not predict what would happen to me each day. What I mean by that is, every day seemed like there were surprises in it, both good and bad.


One day everything would seem peaceful and manageable, until my lawyer called and gave me bad news about the case. Then, after sobbing about how unfair everything was, I got a call back from a prospective employer who seemed really interested in me. Now it felt like, “OK, I can handle this.”




But then, the next day, I found out my ex was seeing my neighbor. Ouch. That one was like a punch in the gut. She was 10 years younger, beautiful, great body, etc. Not more than a day later, I met my now best friend in kickboxing class. We were both getting divorced and decided to meet for dinner. From the first girl date, we were true friends, leaning on each other through thick and thin through our roller coasters. We are still best friends, by the way.


Then another bomb a few days later. My daughter was acting out. Big time. She was not handling the separation well. Hello therapy for everyone. Add in that I got the worst flu I’ve ever had in my life and I seriously wanted to end it right there.


But then, a few weeks later, my ex took the kids on a trip and a friend called and asked me if I’d meet her and her husband and a few of his work buddies at a bar. I went and met a man who would become very significant to me. A sweet, kind, funny (and majorly hot) younger guy. We dated for a few months. Now I felt young again and energetic and full of confidence. It almost felt like God was sending me a message: “Life isn’t over. It’s just beginning. Things are going to change, and that’s a good thing!”


I guess one could say that life in general is like a roller coaster, not just divorce. But I think in life after divorce, although there are still highs and lows, they aren’t so extreme. That kind of roller coaster can only come with finding peace and acceptance of the past, and living an authentic life.



People always talk about living an authentic life. What does that mean to me? It means doing what you love, both personally and professionally, knowing your capabilities, taking advantage of your strengths, accepting and learning from mistakes, consistently striving to do your best, and most importantly loving the people you love with all of your heart, every single day.


Nine years later, my roller coaster is kind of like a kiddie ride, at least for now. My dad always used to say “Boring is good.” I’m bored in a very blissful way. With a great job, kids I adore and a boyfriend I’m crazy about, maybe better words are content and very very grateful. In other words, I really hope I stay on this ride!

Like this blog post? Check out my post, “Would You Rather Be This Guy’s Ex-Wife Or The New Wife?”



Buy novels by Jackie Pilossoph



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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

11 Responses to “Riding The Roller Coaster Of Divorce”

  1. Elizabeth

    I appreciate the positivity you’re sharing, but man, I have to say that after 22 years to have my best friend/husband leave me for a pregnant mistress 16 years younger – there’s just no way I can ever smile about that. Not even 9 years later. I have a great kid, a nice life, but still live in poverty, and still feel betrayed. He’s well-off and his life hasn’t changed. Not cool. Not smiling…

    • Anda

      9 years later you still thinking in your past due to financial burdens. I would try to separate the issues if possible. He cannot still be at fault. There is child support , spouse support or a better paid job for you. I aggree he is a major jerk making you feeling betraied but you caanot pick how he can feel or what he can choose. I feel i am being hard on you , abrupt in giving advice. My first language is not english , i know how to sugar coat things in Romanian , but that wont’t help …
      Be happy for your kid and the nice life.
      Practice yoga, meditation, chakra allignment, read and use essential oils. Learn a new hobby or how to dance, something you always wanted to do but you could not because of him.
      If you want , you can move mountains !!!!

      I am guilty of the roller coaster too , but you know what ? All my panic attacks used to las hours or days , now i burst in tears but it lasts approx 2-3 minutes . It’s like … I am out of … tears ….

      I also feed myself from artcles and blogs about divorce, how to handle it …. etc…

      Good luck , and you are not alone!

  2. Jo

    This article gives me hope. My husband walked out on me and our two babies last weekend and I completely agree with the rollercoaster feeling. I keep trying to feel in control but each day brings new highs and earth shattering lows. I can’t wait to feel happy again.

  3. L

    First of all, thanks so much for creating this blog! I’ve looked at numerous posts throughout my breakup to get me through and provide me with some words of encouragement. It’s 4 months after my breakup and it was very traumatizing. We did love each other and had a really nice life together. We had been together 6 years and I’m 28 and we were just really building the life we wanted. Anyways, I found out he was texting a coworker a lot and even though it was nothing inappropriate, it definitely seemed way too “buddy buddy” and like an emotional connection was being built. I felt betrayed and lost trust. We had some fights over it as we tried to rebuild the trust, I realized later we should have immediately went to therapy. Anyways, a few months later he said he felt “depressed and dead inside” from everything that had happened and the trust being broken. I begged him to stay and try therapy to work through everything because we had built a life together and I thought we both were as committed to it as we would be a marriage. He said he didn’t think therapy would help, so he moved out, for a week and a half before he came running back and offering to go to therapy. I asked him had he been with anyone else during the break up because I didn’t want to be blindsided later, especially if it was with that girl he was texting. He swore up and down that he hadn’t and I truly believed that the fights and stress caused him to become depressed and that he was just lost. So I took him back and we worked everything out and things were really wonderful. Then a couple months later I caught him in a lie, he finally fessed up and said he had slept with her during our breakup and that she had come to him at work saying she was pregnant. He said at the time that she was not pregnant. So I kicked him out and ended things, then two months after that I found out he took the girl to his sister’s wedding in our hometown, then 3 months later I found out he took her back to our hometown because she was pregnant. Still not sure if it happened during our original breakup or if he went running back to her after I kicked him out. However, it’s been A LOT to process in a short amount of time. It’s now been 4 months since I kicked him out. The difficult part of it is that I feel like we really loved each other and he just screwed everything up. At least I get a fresh start while he has really limited what his future can look like. I feel like it’s less of an erratic roller coaster, but I still feel this lingering sadness. I’m just wondering how long it takes for the sadness to fully go away. When will that sadness be gone, and how long does it take where I’m done crying about it?

  4. Matt Ingham

    As a practicing attorney of nearly 10 years I have represented more than 500 clients in Family Court. Based on my experiences with my clients this article is 100% spot on in that divorce is an emotional rollercoaster ride more often times than not. As part of the divorce process I recommend my clients get plugged in with a licensed therapist not because the clients have psychiatric issues but simply so the clients have an opportunity to unload the emotional anguish that is bottled up inside of them.

  5. Chantal Voegt

    Morning , i been searching the site just to find out if its only me or if its a normal thing . Its been 14 months since my divorce was finalized , six prior he moved out. I am really to work this out in my head …. for the past year i was “fine” i was managing i was ok , i was good , i was copying . People would ask how i was doing and i was all positive , i wasnt an act i really felt fine and good and capable. I even started dating … nothing too serious but the past month something has changed i am just so emotional . I cry myself to sleep i cry in the car on my way home from work … i feel overwhelmed by the everyday chores with the kids , i feel overwhelmed to fill out school forms ( he used to handle all that)
    i feel so sad when i drop the kids off at his place and see my ex neighbour / friends car there at 6.30am. its feels like i am beginning to feel anger and pain that i didnt in the 1st year because i was too busy coping and MAKING it work on my own with my kids. They expected me to crumb and lose it but i didnt …. i showed them i would be ok now im not so sure . Feels a bit like things are starting to fall apart dont get me wrong i dont want him back but its like im mourning the loss of our home … the thought that i could not afford to own my own home again , the thought of how the money goes so quickly and how much more expensive things are becoming . The idea that my kids are growing so fast and moving into different stages of their lives ( one starting university and one starting high school) So yes i can totally identify this rollercoaster ride today . One good thing i have done this month was give up smoking ( just i started the day he left) … need to find a better coping mechanism other than a glass or 3 of wino . i want to get back to running but i just cant find time right now . Thanx for this post it feel a little better knowing that the low in going thru now will be followed by a thrilling high soon. Blessings to all.

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      Thank you so much for reaching out. A couple thoughts. Wine: bad. Quitting smoking: great! My point is, try to find better coping mechanisms. True story: today I felt awful and i couldn’t stop crying. I went to yoga and my whole day changed after the class. Try it. Try anythign that is healthy and good for you. You deserve to heal and not cry all the time anymore!! It is good to mourn and maybe you need to get it out but when are you going to let yourself start being happy? Connect w old friends, become more spiritual, go on a healthy eating binge for a week, rent your four favorite movies and watch them and laugh all day. Start doing more for yourself and take paths that will make you happy. YOu deserve that. Regarding feeling overwhelmed, I completely get it. Write everything you have to do down, and just do things and check them off. Prioritize the most important things. that is key. So many things can wait. some things can’t. know the difference. It’s ok to sleep when you need to and just veg when you need to. You don’t have to be so perfect! xoxo

  6. Chantal Voegt

    Morning . Thanx so much for taking the time to reply. The kids and i are joining the neighbourhood walking/ running group. one of my greatest accomplishments ( besides my kids) is that i an overweight 40 something mom woke up one morning 3 years ago and decided i wanted to run a half marathon 🙂 I have never run in my life … i entered the race in Nov and started walk/running in March the following year i completed my 1st 21km half marathon . not even my husband thought i could do it … but i did it was the GREATEST FEELING IN THE WORLD . i think i need to get back that belief . Have an awesome day .

  7. Sara

    Your story seems to me when i sit on the roller coaster then i was so much afraid. But, after some time so enjoy this coaster riding. This is the amazing journey for me. I never forget that day 🙂

  8. Motto

    Hello, I read your article about financial wealth. It is very informative for us and shares unique stuff. I think financial intelligence plays a major role in the creation of financial wealth. I think it is a very great idea that we start with, always think positive in life.


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