Is Living After An Unwanted Divorce Worth It?

“Is living after an unwanted divorce worth it?”

That particular search string has been leading people to my blog these past few weeks.

And every time I see it, I feel a pull to reach out to them and a twinge because I cannot.

But if I could somehow identify the struggling soul on the other side of the keyboard, this is what I would say:

Yes! 100%, unequivocably yes! Living after an unwanted divorce is absolutely worth it.

Now, I know you don’t feel that right now and I know you can’t see how, so please just try to keep an open mind right now and let those who have been through it strengthen your faith in your future.

I know you know the pain. The void. The never-ending loss of lives ripped apart.

So I’m not going to go there. You need no guide to the suffering.

Instead, I’m going to start at the beginning.

Because divorce is the end of one life

but the beginning of another.

Trying to compare where you are right now with where you were before the divorce is like trying to equate a lot cleared for a house with a personalized and well lived-in home.

They’re not the same thing.

And here’s the hard part, the part that took me some time to accept –

One is no better or worse than the other. Just different. And this one feels worse because it is new and foreign and unwanted.

It starts with accepting that you’re at a beginning. A blank slate, albeit a tear-stained one.

Your divorce was unwanted. Perhaps you had no say.

Now you do. You may be starting with nothing. From nothing.

But you’re still starting.

You may feel as though your ex has taken everything from you. So, get angry. And use that anger to fuel your conviction that you will not allow your ex to take away your future as well.

That’s your energy pushing you forward.

Now find something to pull you as well.

What do you have to live for? Who do you have to live for?

It’s there. It may be hidden under the cloak of the divorce, but it’s there.

Latch on.

I know the empty wasteland is overwhelming. So don’t look at it in its entirety. Instead, build a picture of what you want your life to look like. No, not what it was. I know that trick. But what you really, really want. Because every marriage, every life, no matter how good we thought it was left some desires unfed. There’s no reason to suppress them now.

Let that image of your desired life be your beacon.

While you simply focus on your next step.

And your next breath.

———-

I can still vividly recall the devastation and utter hopelessness I felt after my ex left me with no warning and no opportunity for discussion. I remember the hollowing, the agony, the blinding fear.

I recollect wondering if life after would be worth it. If I would ever be happy again.

And those feelings now are as far away as joy was then.

Because not only is life after an unwanted divorce worth living, it can be even better.

Accept where you’re beginning.

Summon your motivation.

See where you want to go.

And take one step. And then another.

You are worth it.

———-

I am generally a very independent and headstrong person. In the first few days, I refused any professional intervention. By week two, I learned that I could not do it alone and sought medical and psychiatric assistance. And I could not have done it without them.

If you are experiencing a persistent feeling of hopelessness or prolonged changed in eating or sleeping, please seek help. Remember, you’re at the end of one life and the beginning of another. And we ALL need help at the beginning and end of life.

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30 thoughts on “Is Living After An Unwanted Divorce Worth It?

  1. It takes time to process but it is so amazing to reach the other side where life is precious and every step forward is an opportunity. I am so excited about being single now. It is important to honour the depths of despair that arrive at the end of a relationship, they are real and shape who we are. It is beautiful to appreciate the gift of individuality and opportunity that unfolds with time. Great post as usual, Lisa.

  2. Oh, the agony! Finally on the other side and… I like me! There are times I still hurt if I think too much, but I have grown and I am continuing to grow. Thank you for helping in my process.

  3. Thank you. I really relate to the example you give – an empty lot compared to a lived in house.

    Yes, an old home is settled and familiar, but there are always things that could be improved, leaks fixed, rooms that would work better if renovations were made, decor updated.

    An empty lot is full of potential though. A new home can be built that is perfect for the person who is going to live there. It will take a lot of hard work, probably be a long slow process, especially if building it on your own, but it is an exciting project to undertake.

    I am now going to look at this unexpected and unwanted stage in my life as an opportunity to build my dream life. I hope I have the budget for it.

  4. I love the part where you stated to seek medical and psychiatric assistance. I think counseling (provided you have the right type of counselor) is so beneficial. Even for people who have it all together! Society harps upon our physical well-being and that’s awesome! I mean, medically, you should do a yearly physical. And then, if you get sick, you may try to doctor it yourself before realizing that you may need a more specialized opinion and assistance. Why wouldn’t you do the same for your mental state? A checkup even when things are going great and a thorough exam when things aren’t…Most of us wouldn’t learn that we have cancer and then, attempt to suffer through it on our own with no intervention. Why try that same scenario with our mental state? Kudos to you for encouraging that assistance. It isn’t a weakness, it is a strength!

  5. Excellent advice! I’m divorced 5 years my choice due to being done with lying and cheating. Yes it will get better. Think of your life as a blank canvas and paint it any way you desire. Lots of love to all on the journey πŸ’•

  6. You know, I was doing OK. Not great but a little better than just surviving. Now, the rejection continues to pile up. First the marriage. The I finally found someone that I was interested in. Like, REALLY interested in. Rejected. Took me nearly 3 years to begin to feel anything for someone. I tried so hard not to “fall” for her but I guess I failed. Another rejection. Hell, all I wanted to do was get to know her better to see if what I felt was real (and if she felt the same). Nope, not even given the chance.

    How does one have this alleged “life” when it really seems they’re not worthy of love?

    1. So sorry. I found that subsequent rejections (even when minor) while I was still raw from the primary rejection were devastating. Like sandpaper on a burn. I instinctively worked to limit them for a time by surrounding myself with people that accepted me and avoiding situations that risked rejection. Sort of an incubator for self worth, I guess. Rejection sucks. Yet it says way more about them than you, especially when it occurs at the beginning of a potential relationship. You ARE worthy of love. And that conviction comes from within, not from what anybody else says.

  7. I wonder if that’s always true. This rings very true for my first divorce, but currently, to use your analogy, I am being evicted from my dream home. The one that I built with my bare hands (and my partner’s), and yes, I am being given a fresh lot. But that was truly my dream home. I don’t know that I want another house. Especially not one without my soulmate or my (step) kids in it. Not sure the house is worth building. . . .

      1. Very recently. I think my issue is that my marriage was idyllic in literally every way, and for all parties involved. I was building the life that I wanted, and it was moving perfectly. I was giving my wife the life she wanted, and she was exceptionally happy with our direction, including financially, spiritually, parenting-wise, relationship, everything. Then it was SUDDENLY derailed by (her) PTSD onset. (From my experience and understanding) most marriages go through a down-hill slide, or something like infidelity is suddenly discovered. There is a triggering event in the marriage, rather than without. You “get” it, even if you don’t like it. You realize that what you had was not as perfect as you thought it was. That isn’t the case for me. . . It was, and it was for her, too (though she doesn’t realize that anymore), and it just collapsed. It is really hard to rebuild when you know that whatever you achieve will be a shadow of what you had.

      2. So sorry. Mine ended abruptly too. Made it very hard to accept. Right now, just take care of yourself. It’s totally normal to have no interest in rebuilding right now. It’s one breath at a time before it’s one step at a time. Keep breathing.

      3. Mind if I ask how long ago? Everyone says “you’ll be ok”. . I think that is encouragement for people who look back and remember misery, fighting, etc. . For me, OK sounds horrible. OK is not what I put the last ten years into. OK doesn’t include seeing my kids, which seems unfathomable.

      4. How long since my ordeal? Almost 7 years. After 16 years together and loving and building. I believed in okay but didn’t really see until almost 3 years out. Moving on (mostly) fully took longer- closer to 5 years or so. In that time, I hurt. I cried. I raged. I felt defeated. And I also still lived. Enjoying the little moments like lily pads.

        My ex wrote in his “Dear John” letter, “I know you’ll bounce back. You’ll live a happier life than I could ever give you.” I wanted to hit him. Bounce back? I couldn’t walk. I needed medication simply to eat. He was right though. Maybe not about the bouncing, but about the happy. He took away everything I cared about. Yet I’m happier now. But it was a hell of a journey.

        You’re right that it takes time to gain the perspective of okay. Those saying are looking back. And they remember not okay. And they also now know okay or even great.

  8. Really enjoyed this. Thanks. My unwanted divorce is still under 1 year. The hardest part for me is still anger and acceptance. All while sharing custody of two beautiful children. It is almost impossible for me to communicate with her still. Yet I am really finding out that time does help. It is a very slow process for me however. Very slow and again this is part of my acceptance eventually coming.

  9. I’ve seen alot of positive talk about getting through divorce and how it gets better you get to start new! These almost always fail to consider children in a divorce. Not only are you losing what you considered your soul mate but the relationship with you kids is forever strained and contorted. Every future involes constant reminders of what you lost. There is no rebuilding or getting somthing better. Just suffering and misery.

    1. I’m a child of divorce. I won’t pretend it was easy, but it also wasn’t all suffering either. I saw my mom build new family with a focus on friendship rather than blood or legal bonds. I learned that people are fallible and also stronger than they imagine. And perhaps most importantly, I began to understand that endings are transitions and the importance of becoming comfortable with change.

      Divorce is never what a parent would choose for a child. But just like with scraped knees and schoolyard bullies, you can’t protect them from every bump and insult. But you can teach them resilience and optimism and fortitude.

  10. Love is bullshit life sucks 3 kids worked hard for 25 years for what half pension almoney working 4 jobs for what wish this was a bad dream she has a mid life crisis checks out and I’m the bad guy the end can’t come soon enough

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