“Self help and positive talk is great, but it doesn’t work if you can’t get out of bed,” according to Tamsen Fadal, the New York City 4 time Emmy winning journalist, entrepreneur and author, whose 2008 marriage was featured in the New York Times and whose divorce four years later landed her front and center on Page Six.
I talked with 44 year-old Fadal about her breakup, her divorce, how she coped, and her inspiring new book, The New Single, Finding, Fixing and Falling Back in Love with Yourself After a Break-up or Divorce.
JP: When you were first separated, how were you feeling?
TF: I felt like this couldn’t possibly be happening. I felt like it would work out eventually if we just gave it time. I was in disbelief. And I felt failure. I felt like, ‘I can’t let this fail because I’ll be a failure.’ I had no confidence at all. I was embarrassed and trying to hide it from everyone. My ex and I had a matchmaking business together. So we were helping people fall in love and my marriage had fallen apart.
JP: What was rock bottom?
TF: When I realized it wasn’t going to work because too much had happened. I knew we couldn’t go back. It was a beautiful day and we had been to a mediator and therapist and I called the mediator and told her to file. I was on automatic and going through the motions. I couldn’t believe it was happening. When I look back, I was somebody different that day.
JP: How did you cope and begin to heal?
TF: Self-help and positive talk is great, but it doesn’t work if you can’t get out of bed. I started making lists of how to get through my day, which included the most basic things: get dressed, walk dog, get coffee, answer emails. Following a list made things manageable. Over time I started getting back to who I was. I incorporated yoga, I was reading again, traveling again. And, I started spending time by myself. It was a scary thing being alone with my thoughts but I learned how to get comfortable with it and actually enjoy it.
JP: Why did you decide to write “The New Single?”
TF: I realized there was nothing out there that would give me a basic rundown on what I needed to do to fix myself. I wrote it to tell people how I fixed myself, which wasn’t so traditional. I did things like reorganize my closet, focus on my diet, organize my refrigerator. Coping and healing is different for everyone, but the book is about what helped me.
JP: What’s in the book?
TF: The book goes through every aspect of your life: career, finances, diet, organization, self-talk, happiness. It’s about the importance of finding yourself before you date, and starting on the inside first. It’s about building your self-confidence.
JP: What message do you have for someone who is newly separated?
TF: Nothing is going to look like this one month from now, 3 months, 6 months or a year from now. Going through the process is exhausting but I promise you, if you build and take care of yourself and have your own recipe for self care, you are going to be a different person, and happier than you are today. It’s a new kind of woman out there. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, at the top of your career, divorced or just out of a long relationship, whatever she is, she’s tackling the world like the rest of us. We’re all in this together at the end of the day.