5 things no one told me about divorce

  1. Just because you are the one leaving, doesn’t mean it won’t be hard

I actually initiated the split — and i was so sure what i was doing was best. I had no clue how sad i would still be; how unprepared for just how big of a life transition divorce really is. Not only did I lose my marriage, but I lost some friends, time with my kids, and even my ex’s family. It is no small change. That said, my days had less negative in them and that was a starting place. Creating a new life is hard and until you get to your new normal, you are going to be afraid and anxious — it’s the unknown. So it takes work, and it’s still a loss, but you will find happiness at the other end!

2. You’re divorced but not done

Once the divorce is finalized you no longer have to deal with the day-to-day things that make you crazy. What a plus. But if you have kids, the spouse doesn’t actually disappear. In fact, it can get a little more contentious between you as you vie for time with the kids and figure out how to help them survive 2 households. So your buttons may still get pushed. Try to breathe and focus on the fact that you can get off the phone or ignore the cranky text. You have space even if you don’t have total freedom.

3. You may lose some friends — and not always the ones you think.

Some people seem to actually think divorce can be contagious. And maybe it is — we all know that there are many unhappily married people out there who are too scared to get divorced. These people often do not want you around (them or their spouses) giving them any ideas or courage to take that step. Certainly married friends don’t include the divorced ones as much anymore. Uneven numbers and all that. On the flip side, sometimes even the ones you weren’t so close to step up and offer tremendous support.

So it’s important to create new friends — single friends and married friends who are comfortable including you in their plans.

4. Your kids may not tell you how they feel, but they sure might show you.

Kids are pretty adept at saying the “right” thing. It’s really important to watch their actions and behaviors — not just listen to them. One of my kids said he was “ok”, “dealing with it” and “fine’. He did start wanting to snuggle and sleep with me. Also started fighting with his sister a lot. All age-appropriate kids stuff. But really, it wasn’t caused by age. Talk to your kids about what they are thinking and feeling and don’t just accept the first layer. Probe. I have been divorced a few years and my kids are still sad sometimes. Do they say they are sad? Not always….I have just learned to read the signs better.

5. You will feel like a failure. But you’re not.

Marriage is hard. More than that, it is made up of two people who grow and change in different ways. You do your best and hope they do yours. In the end, maybe it has an expiration date. Maybe you are together for all these reasons, and once they happen it runs its course. Whatever the case, it takes 2 people to get married — and 2 people to ruin it. Try to let it go. Otherwise it takes you down with it and there is just no point in that.

So, today my divorce is still with me. My ex is still part of my life. But you know what? My life is upbeat and happy and real. Not negative and not lonely. It wasn’t easy, but it was totally worth it. I had no idea how much lighter and better my life could be.