Rock bottom, a dark night of the soul, the end of your life as you know it. Divorce can be a real motherf*cker. It changes you, but it doesn’t define you. What does life after divorce really look like?
Divorce is a major life event. An emotional trauma. No matter whose decision it is, how it happens, it still changes you. You may question yourself – how you stayed or how/why you’re going. You may feel unlovable or broken. You may feel shame and guilt for your contribution to the dissolution of marriage. You may feel a lot of things and all of these things are OK.
I’ve been there and felt all of these things so I’m here to share with you some lessons I learned and how I worked to rebuild a life I love after divorce.
The first lesson: feel the feelings. Trying to bury them or push them aside will only delay the grieving/growing process. Feel the feelings and work through them. They may hurt or make you angry or sad, but you have to go through them, not around them. Otherwise they’re likely to rear their ugly heads later in life and that’s a real bitch to deal with.
Lesson 2: You are not broken. You’re not damaged goods. Yes, your marriage ended. No, that’s not what anyone hopes for, but this does not mean there is something wrong with you. Divorce is tough, so give yourself grace and be patient. You are not broken and this does not define you.
Lesson 3: You are lovable and deserving of love. Seriously, just because your relationship is over does not mean you don’t deserve all the love in the world, especially from yourself. It’s easy to forget ourselves in relationships and then during trauma like a divorce, but it’s times like these that we need to love ourselves the most.
Lesson 4: You will be able to love again. You don’t have to get into another relationship ever again if you don’t want to, but….you are capable, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.
Lesson 5: You deserve forgiveness. Now, start with forgiving yourself.
Lesson 6: You are not a failure. Most people don’t go into marriage expecting to get divorced. Most people believe their marriage will last forever and if it doesn’t, it’s easy to peg yourself as a failure just because you’re relationship didn’t survive. Listen to me closely: You. Are. Not. A. Failure. Your divorce does not define you. Sometimes shit happens and sometimes it really sucks, but take it from me…things usually work out exactly the way they’re supposed to…
Lesson 7: People will judge you. This is a tough one. Sometimes people don’t agree. Sometimes those people are your family. As hard as it is, you have to keep going. And remember that this is your life. You’re the one who has to deal with this every single day and you’re entitled to a decision that makes you happy or at least gives you the best shot at happiness later in life.
Lesson 8: It’s normal to still care about your ex. It takes time to get over this person you spent your life with, no matter how long you were together or how it ends. It’s not usually realistic to expect to wake up the next morning with no feelings.
Lesson 9: Don’t love your ex. You know what I mean…don’t cross that line. You have to let yourself heal. Give this process the time and space it deserves and don’t dally where you no longer belong. It will only lead to heartache.
Lesson 10: Taxes after a divorce can be a pain in the ass. If it’s not cut and dry after your divorce, ask for help. Go to a tax professional or pay a little more for the assisted version of an at-home software. Dividing assets and getting the best tax options after a divorce can be confusing. Don’t let anyone steamroll you into something you don’t understand.
Lesson 11: If you can help it, don’t trash your ex. They’re human and going through a divorce too. Turns out that shit makes people act real crazy sometimes. You’ll feel better in the long run if you haven’t given in to the drama and haven’t spent the energy on destroying their character. Seriously, no matter how bad it gets, stay safe and stay out of it if you can.
Lesson 12: It may take time to get to know yourself again. There’s a fair chance you may wake up one day and realize you don’t know yourself at all anymore or that you changed yourself entirely for someone else’s benefit. Use this as an opportunity to get to know the real you and to learn to love yourself for who you truly are. Don’t be surprised if you find out things you never knew and feel energized by this incredible opportunity for a new life, living as the authentic, amazing woman you truly are.
Divorce is no picnic. It can make you question who you are and how you got to that point. It can make you doubt yourself and your ability to love ever again. It’s not uncommon for women to feel like no one will ever want them again because they’re divorced. Trust me when I tell you that most people don’t care at all. Also, it’s not uncommon for women coming out of a longterm relationship to feel like they don’t recognize themselves, and like they’re not sure who they are or what’s important to them. In this way, a divorce can be a lifesaver, a fresh start. A chance to get to know the real you, to stop living for someone else, and to create the life of your dreams.
Going through a tough time? Want to talk more? Email me at Audry@ThirtySomethingMagic.com to schedule a free coaching session.