10 Struggles Anybody Who Has Been Divorced Will Understand

I used to have dreams that contained intimate and touching moments with my soon-to-be-ex-husband. In the dreams, I felt loved and safe. Upon waking, I felt disgusted and violated. The truth is that no matter how ugly the end was, there will always be some aspects or memories of your former spouse that you will miss. That doesn’t mean you still wouldn’t punch them if given the chance.

7) You Secretly Worry That You Are Defective

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Even as you utter platitudes like, “It was for the best” and “I’m happier and stronger now,” you still have that small voice inside that wonders if you are somehow unable to sustain a loving relationship. You become acutely aware of your own shortcomings and your own fears. You worry that the baggage from the divorce will push any new interests away and that you are doomed to relationship purgatory. Fear speaks loudly. But it also lies. Don’t let one person decide your worth.

8) Your Heart Breaks Whenever You Hear That Someone is Facing Divorce

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I can spot them now. There’s a certain resolve painted over a face that reveals too many sleepless nights and a look of panic in the eye. And I just want to embrace them. Hold them tightly. Share some of my strength gained from struggle. Convince them that they will be okay. While inside my heart breaks, because I know that before they’re okay, they will endure some of the hardest moments of their life.

9) You Find Books Like, “Eat Pray Love” and “Wild” Both Inspiring and Anger-Inducing

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A friend pressed, “Eat Pray Love” into my hand a couple months after my husband pulled his disappearing act. “I think you’ll like this. It’s inspiring and I think you’ll relate.” And on one hand, she was right. I felt hopeful about my chances for moving on from my teary collapsed self. But I was also angry. Defensive. After all, I reasoned, it must be easy to move on when money doesn’t seem to be a concern and you have the ability to simply leave everything behind and travel the world. But it turns out a yoga class can be as effective as a healing tool as a trip to India. And a lot more practical.

10) You Know That You Can Handle Anything

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And here’s the ultimate truth. Those of us who have faced the brutal dismantling of one life and the rebuilding of another know our own strength. There’s a confidence that comes from facing divorce and surviving. Embrace it and rather than being ashamed of your status, be proud of your perseverance.

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14 Responses

  1. I love your blog! So glad you have so much to share to help others cope.

  2. Jana says:

    Oh, yes — # 7 especially! At this point in time, I just can’t see myself being that vulnerable with anyone again. I can’t fathom how I would ever trust someone implicitly or give my whole heart to them. And yet, I know that I need to be able to do all of this in order to have a healthy relationship. The thing that makes it even scarier is that I know that my first marriage damaged me in a way that contributed to my second marriage ending. I was so scarred that I never fully opened up or trusted my second husband – and always held a bit of myself from him…just in case something like that should happen again. And, of course, it did – and I was still I was incredibly devastated when the marriage ended. It’s like a catch-22 – how can I love if I can’t trust? How can I trust when I’ve been so betrayed and hurt by my husbands? If I do find someone else, how can I be vulnerable knowing that I could be hurt even worse? Gaaahhhhh!

  3. vogue2182 says:

    Love this list. I am starting to struggle with #7. I also totally relate to the idea that those years spent together were another life in a another time.

  4. Reblogged this on Shadows of Hell and commented:
    This is so disgustingly true it almost brought me to tears. Too early for this shit. Enjoy!

  5. Wonderful work. My post-divorce blog is far more cynical and dark, but as a person, I’m not all doom and gloom. I can certainly appreciate every sentiment expressed here. Perhaps you have heard this song. It truly speaks to me. If you have not heard it, I recommend it. I am an atheist, but listening to this song provided me the closest thing to a spiritual experience I have ever had sober.

    Mumford and Sons – The Cave:

  6. I love your #9!

  7. Lizzie Lau says:

    I struggle with #7 in fact I’ve nicknamed myself 3Strikes as a kind of self-deprecating force field, if that makes sense. Like I’m going to say I suck at marriage so much that I’ve divorced three times before you ever get a chance to.

  8. Carly says:

    I hate the “divorced” box more than anything. I will rebel against checking it because it’s completely unnecessary! Might was well say “failure”.

    I struggle with removing “we” from statements of the past. I have to consciously say “I”, regardless if I know there was another person involved in that memory or experience. Owning it and making it my own is an ongoing process.

    I have been told by many others who have experienced divorce, “it gets better, with time”. A year and a half after my world blew up, I can now say it to someone walking that path I’ve been down.

    I have become more courageous facing my demons and going after the things that once intimidated me. The hardest thing I am experiencing now, after the dust settled, is figuring out who I am and what makes tick. It’s an everyday battle, because it’s scary digging deep into the things I tried stuffing down for so long, living in the fear of what it might mean to start being honest and true to myself.

    One day at a time.

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