1. The person you married isn’t the person you’re divorcing.
I married the boy next door (actually, across the street). I had known him my whole life and would’ve bet everything that our divorce would be civil. Boy, was I wrong. He became a person I no longer recognized. If I would’ve met this version of him from the get-go, I would’ve ran, fast!
2. You lose so much more than expected.
It’s not the division of assets that throws you off, that’s an expected part of divorce. It’s the division of friends and family. Those people that you welcomed into your home, that were there for huge milestones, that had your back. You don’t just lose them to your ex, you sometimes lose them because they just don’t agree with your decision to divorce.
3. You’ll be treated like a failure.
No matter what you believe. Especially if you believe you’ve done the right thing. There will always be those that treat you as if you’re a failure. You’ll get the “oh, you’re divorced?” with the head-tilt-of-pity. As divorcees, we beat ourselves up enough about this one, but to have to face everyone else’s judgement of your decision is just horrible.
4. It’s not over once you sign on the dotted line.
I wish I could have had a mulligan. Hindsight is 20/20 as everyone knows. If we knew then, what we know now, we could’ve saved ourselves a whole lot of heartache. However, that’s not how life works. Divorce is a process, especially if you have children and have to co-parent, it’ll take a very long time for some sense of normalcy to roll around.
5. Divorce leaves you jaded in a way you don’t anticipate it to.
It might not necessarily be a bad thing. I’ve learned what I’m just not willing to put up with within a relationship. You get real, real quick, with the people around you and all that additional BS that comes with the relationship dance, goes out the window. Those boundaries might have been there before, but you don’t have that misguided notion that things will eventually change into what you really want. My second time around, I approached dating like a business meeting. Weeded out what I couldn’t live with, accepted (wholeheartedly) what I could live with, and enjoyed the ride and truly fell in love.
Here’s the thing: to each their own.
It took me a long time to even pull the trigger on my divorce, so much longer than I would’ve done, had I not been listening to everyone around me. No one lived my life. No one cried my tears. No one even held my hand through it. But I survived.
Why am I not miserable you ask? How did I survive?
I made things easy for myself. I gave myself a break. I allowed myself to feel every single emotion. It was a 15 year marriage. You don’t get over it overnight. Most of all, I reminded myself of what my grandmother taught me, “he who gets mad, has 2 jobs, to get mad and to get over it”. I decided to go straight to getting over it. I exhausted my energy on that, rather on being mad and jaded and miserable and resentful. I was worth more than that.
It’s unfortunate that ‘divorce’ still has the stigma that it has. However, pulling myself out of a situation that was unhealthy for myself and my children is the best decision I’ve ever made. Stigma or not, that’s everyone’s else’s issues and I don’t subscribe to those. I subscribe to being surrounded by the strength of those that have been there for me and those that have gone through a divorce and understand what coming out on the other side means. Divorce equals being strong enough to value yourself enough to leave an unhealthy situation, it’s not failure. Failure is staying and being miserable in a marriage long after it’s over.