If you read the title of this blog post and you’re saying, “Huh? The advantages of divorce? Is she kidding me?” Read on!
Divorce is devastating. It’s heartbreaking, it’s gut-wrenchingly sad, and it can be really, really depressing. That said, there IS a flip side, believe it or not.
Amongst all the anger you and your ex have toward each other at times, the painful feelings of loneliness that creep up, the angst of facing life as a single parent, the worrying about finances, and that horrible feeling you get occasionally that you failed miserably at something you promised God you’d cherish forever, there are pluses to being divorced. Here they are. Please keep in mind that some or all or none of these might apply to you.
1. You have an out whenever you want it. I believe that at this stage in my life, I shouldn’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. Let me clarify. We all have things everyday that we HAVE to do. Meetings we must attend, people we go to see out of the goodness of our hearts, chores, errands, work outs, and business events. Doing those things is just living up to your responsibilities. But, I believe that a person shouldn’t do anything he or she does not WANT to do. In other words, don’t do anything out of obligation or because you think you will upset someone if you’re not there (unless you care deeply for the person). If there is an event that you really don’t care to attend, don’t. If a person who typically makes you feel bad about yourself wants to get together, don’t. Enjoying life and your time is just too valuable. So, here’s the divorce benefit: In order to spare someone’s feelings, if you simply don’t want to get together with someone, you can just say, “Sorry, it’s my weekend with the kids!” How great is that?
2. Back to work: This applies mostly to women. When you get divorced, women are often forced to go back to work because of finances. I can tell you firsthand it was very scary. I hadn’t worked in 10 years. Getting up to speed on computer technology was probably the most frightening thing for me. But, going back to work has HUGE benefits!! Work is productive, and that brings self-esteem, self love and confidence! You will love yourself when you feel smart and productive and you see that “You still got it!” AND, you will meet so many men and women that could become friends, and maybe even romantic interests. Nothing bad ever comes from work. It’s always good.
3. Loneliness subsides: When I was getting divorced, people would always give me this look that was saying to me, “I feel so sorry for you.” I felt like saying, “Please don’t give me that look! I didn’t just tell you I had cancer!” In fact, if they knew how a divorced person felt, they would give me a happy look. Because, when you have been divorced for awhile, you will probably look back and say, “Wow. I was really lonely in my marriage.” I truly believe it is better to be lonely while you’re alone, than lonely if you are in a relationship. Loneliness is a terrible feeling, but you won’t be lonely forever. I promise!!
4. Make your house your own. Do you realize that you can re-decorate and re-organize your home, and make it exactly the way you want it? Pink and shabby chic and feminine. Do whatever you’d like! You’re the boss!
5. Live Baby Live! I have a friend who was married for 27 years. Her husband blindsided her and left her for another woman. She was obviously devastated. In fact, there were times I was beyond worried about her and wasn’t sure she’d be okay. Let me tell you what she has done over the past 4 years. She has run a marathon, she’s traveled to Israel, Spain, China, and all over the US., she has joined a softball league, and she never says no to any adventure. She said she would never have done all these things if she was still married.
6. The door is open. Regardless of who left who, the door is now wide open for you to have a meaningful, loving relationship with someone who is right for you. If your husband or wife left you, they did you a favor. Because, who wants to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with them? Mr. or Ms. Right is out there. Give it time and don’t try too hard. Just enjoy your life. Refer to point #5!
7. Say bu-bye to your mother in law. For some people, never seeing their in-laws after divorce is very upsetting. To others, never having to deal with their in-laws again is a huge perk. So, obviously this only applies to people who look at never having to see their mother-in-law again as a gift. Everything that bugged you about her is ancient history! Woo hoo!
8. You just became a single parent. “Why is that a plus, Jackie?!” Because a lot of people I talk to tell me that they became a better parent after their divorce. As single parents, we appreciate our time with our children more. Quality always wins over quantity. In other words, sure, you may see your children a less number of days throughout the year, but if you take advantage of every moment you have with them, you will be truly fulfilled, and you will continue to be a wonderful parent, even better. Talk to your kids, laugh with them, hug and kiss them, play with them. Just love them. They need you now more than ever. And you are here for them.
The biggest, most obvious advantage of divorce is that you are getting out of a situation that doesn’t work, and that doesn’t make one or either of you happy. What I would say is that during your darkest times, the times when the tears dont seem to stop, when stress seems to overwhelm you, and when sadness envelops your soul, please try to look at what is happening as a stepping stone to happiness, perhaps a better life, a gift, if you will, and a new chapter that could bring lots of really really good things.