“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.
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.