1) “Getting to Know You” Conversations Can Become Awkward
“So, what brought you to Atlanta?”
I hate it when I get that question. Because the true answer is, “My ex-husband’s job.” But I don’t always want to go there, especially in a professional setting. So sometimes this perfectly innocuous question leads to conversational gymnastics to try to avoid the more salacious aspects of my life. And that’s not the only potentially tricky question. Once you’ve been married to somebody, your life stories intertwine and it can be difficult to tell yours without including unwanted information about your former spouse.
2) You Find Yourself Referencing Your “Other Life”
Once the divorce is final and in the rear view mirror, it feels like it happened to somebody else. Like that chapter was a whole other life. Even though your friends and family may see a contiguous you, you know otherwise. There was the person before the divorce and the person after. Thus, the “other life.”
3) Some Things Are Still Under Your Former Married Name
Changing your name is no easy feat. And after the emotional and financial upheaval of divorce? It’s almost an impossibility to gather enough energy to do it completely. I still have my old name on my car insurance (only because their demands mean I would have to visit the courthouse for additional documentation) and most of my classroom supplies are branded with the former moniker (When my students inquire about the name, I simply say, “She is a woman I used to know“). And, of course, I still receive credit card offers and advertisements under my old name. I guess they’re not aware she doesn’t exist anymore.
4) Your Blood Pressure Rises When You Have to Indicate “Marital Status” On Some Form
This is the worst while you’re in the process of divorcing: Technically you’re married, but you certainly don’t feel it. You’re not quite divorced yet, and you silently wonder if checking that box will speed up the legal process. You’re not single, but you’re slowly learning to be on your own. Nor are you widowed, although you may wish your spouse was dead. Here’s the box I would like to have placed on intake forms.
5) Weddings Become Bittersweet Events
The first wedding I attended was my cousin’s, two years after my divorce. I sat in the pew, my then-boyfriend now-husband by my side, and I tried to hold back the tears. I was happy for her. Excited for this new chapter in her life. But I was also sad for me, remembering back to the day when I possessed that certainty and unbridled excitement for the future. And I was scared for her. I wanted her happiness to last, untouched by divorce. Weddings are beginnings. And after divorce, you become acutely aware that sometimes they lead to premature endings.