I read so much anger, bitterness and despair in articles about divorce. When do we get past it and work on us?
We lost the future we thought we had.
We lost the marriage and love that made us say “I do.”
We compromised our vows and promises of forever for whatever reasons.
What will help us stop looking back instead of to the future? What will make us stop consuming our time and energy on what was, what could have been or, what should have been and most importantly our reality of what is, as we perceive it to be?
I write this as a divorce attorney for the past fifteen years, and a newly divorced mother of two very young children.
I spent four of our five years of marriage in the trap of lies, depression, unemployment and a hundred other things that I never expected from the man who said he loved me. The day that I was divorced, three days before my 40th birthday, I promised to start loving me. I have all of the power to make my life “better or worse” for the rest of my life on my own. So do you!
We don’t have time to continue focusing on the problems instead of the opportunities and experiences ahead of us. We need to be present and not live in the past or worry so much about the future.
Whether we did “it,” are doing “it”, or had “it” done to us, divorce creates self-doubt, a sense of despair and fear, and brings out the very worst in all of us.
Regardless of the reason, how it happened and most of us will never know why, we need to come back to the me in all of it.
I waited 35 years to find me, get my career on track and then put the right man in place. As a divorce attorney, I always joked that of course I had to find him on Match.com because my list was SO long. I wanted the highly motivated, well-educated, Catholic, 6 foot 6 guy, loves his family, wants a family, sense of humor, non-smoker who was no more than three years younger and five years older to date me and marry me. I gave in on 2…he smokes and was 6 years older.
Then when he lost his job, I worked harder and gave up time with my kids. Then when he suffered through his depression I accepted enabled and supported that too. He probably still thinks that he left because he didn’t clean the grill like I asked him, but in reality enough was enough.
When is enough enough? Whether you ask for the divorce or he does, and after you either sign papers and walk away or spend 200k in a custody battle and are in each other’s lives forever, you have control of the rest.
To love yourself is to get rid of the anger and refocus on you. You and your career; you and your kids; your life needs to be your base of existence and happiness.
It’s like the ring goes on and the compromise begins, from wedding planning, to honeymoon, to kid’s names, to family involvement, to career sacrifice, to marriage counseling, through pain and ultimately – for some of us – divorce.
The ring is off now. Your decisions are yours. Your relationship with your children is yours. Your responses instead of your reactions to the behavior you put up with during the marriage are yours.
To love you and to find the new you and build the new you after your divorce is up to you. After the pain and sacrifice of divorce, I challenge you to see the silver lining of that cloud. My favorite saying right now is:
“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” ~unknown
Let the storm pass and find a meaning in loving you instead. Your “new family” will be all the better for it.