My journey through divorce was not unique. Like many of my clients, we share common feelings during that first year of divorce that no one ever talks about. I decided to share what I experienced to help others going through divorce to stand strong and realize that they are not alone, they are not defined by divorce and despite all the changes that come in the first year, they have a rare opportunity to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives.
Here are 10 truths about my first year of divorce:
1. I was exhausted. The divorce process is confusing, complex and difficult! You know the saying… if it were easy, everyone would do it. I can tell you that during my first year of divorce I often said, “It’s easier to stay married than to get divorced.”
2. I was sad. The first year I cried every day. I thought my ex would change and fight to get me back. He didn’t. Instead, he blamed me for everything, even things I didn’t do. He said hurtful things to me, made up stories about me and shared them with friends and family.
3. I was embarrassed the first time I went to the doctor’s office. For the first time, I had to check the “divorced” box on the forms. Checking that box made me feel inferior and alone.
4. I was financially terrified. (Even with my professional background in finance and financial planning!)
5. I dreaded going to events. I frequently went to my children’s school events alone, but as a divorcee, it was different. I felt like everyone looked at me differently.
6. I missed my ex. Even though we fought often, I was accustomed to involving him in everything I did.
7. I wondered if I was “messing my kids” up every time they reacted or expressed their emotions.
8. I wished the first year of firsts would just come and go (First Christmas alone, first anniversary alone, first Valentine’s Day alone, etc.).
9. I lost a lot of weight. (Okay, I admit this was actually a positive for me).
10. I lost some people. Some people who I thought were good friends simply dropped out of my life. I realized who my true friends were.
Many changes will come in the first year of divorce, and most are uncomfortable and even quite painful. However, there is an opportunity here that you might not know about – an opportunity to create a life that makes you happy!
Some people will bail on you, you’ll have a flood of feelings and you’ll encounter uncomfortable situations, but you’ll also make some important soul discoveries. Once I realized that my happiness and my finances were in my own hands, I incorporated a new motto to remind me of the power I hold, “Make the rest of my life the best of my life!” Even though that first year is a tough one, I would have never experienced the joy I do today without going through it.
I encourage you, no matter what stage of divorce you’re in, to make this motto your new motto – I will make the rest of my life, the best of my life! Sign up for our Divorce U Solutions newsletter and receive a Who Can Help Guide absolutely free so you know where to go to get the knowledge and expert guidance you need.