8 Years Ago Today

8 years ago today

There’s something about the tangible signs of the passage of time that makes it all the more real.

I had a precious visit with my dear friend and her daughter last Sunday. This was the friend who took me in during that awful year between the tsunami and the legal cessation of the marriage. And she welcomed her daughter into her home only months before she also welcomed me in.

Her first birthday corresponded with my court date. And when I saw her, now nine and quickly catching up with me on height, I remembered that Sunday was the anniversary of my divorce.

I took a moment, took her in, and reflected on all of the growth we have both experienced these past eight years…


Eight years ago today, I awoke afraid of seeing the man who had abandoned me eight months before. And when he passed me in the courthouse hall, I didn’t even recognize him.

Eight years ago today, I was ready for the divorce I never wanted from the man I thought I knew.

Eight years ago today, I sat in a courtroom with the man I had spent half of my life with. A man I once considered my best friend. We never made eye contact.

Eight years ago today, I looked at his face for any sign of the man I had loved.  I saw none. After sixteen years, he was truly a stranger to me.

Eight years ago today, I sat alone in a hallway waiting for the attorneys to decide his fate and mine. Hoping that the judge saw through his lies and would not fall sway to him charms. She didn’t, even asking my husband’s attorney if he was “psycho.” The lawyer could only shrug.

Eight years ago today, I cried and shook with the realization that it was all over. It was a relief and yet the finality was jarring.

Eight years ago today, I felt a heaviness lift as I cut the dead weight of him from my burden. I believed I couldn’t begin to heal until his malignancy had been removed.

Eight years ago today, I laughed when I learned he hadn’t paid his attorney. I had warned the man my husband was a con. Maybe he believed me now.

Eight years ago today, I held tightly to that decree, still believing that its declarations had power. I felt relief that he would have to pay back some of what he stole from the marriage. The relief was short lived.

Eight years ago today, I took my first steps as a single woman. Steps I never expected to take. The first few were shaky. But I soon started to find my stride.

Eight years ago today, I sat around a restaurant table with friends and my mother. A table that had held my husband and I countless times over our marriage. We celebrated the end of the marriage that night. I had celebrated my anniversary there the year before.

Eight years ago today, I read my husband’s other wife’s blog for the last time, curious if she would mention anything about the court date. She did not. I erased the URL from my history. It no longer mattered.

Eight years ago today, I sealed the piles of paperwork from the divorce and the criminal proceedings into a large plastic tub. As the lid clicked in place, I felt like I was securing all of that anguish in my past.

Eight years ago today, I started to wean myself off of the medication that allowed me to sleep and eat through the ordeal. I was thankful it had been there, but I no longer wanted the help.

Eight years ago today, I fell asleep dreaming of hope for the future rather than experiencing nightmares of the past.

And now, eight years on, I could not be happier with where I am.

Not because of the divorce.

But because losing everything made me thankful for everything.

Because being blind made me learn how to see.

Because being vulnerable created new friendships and bonds.

Because being destroyed made me defiantly want to succeed.

And because losing love made me determined to find it again.

I am happier than I’ve ever been.

And I could not be where I am without eight years ago today.



Guest Post: Proof Divorce Can Make You Happier

When you’re in the midst of it, divorce and happiness seem mutually exclusive. As though you’re not only divorcing your spouse, but also splitting from your ability to ever smile again.

This post gives hope that happiness can follow on the heels of divorce. That sometimes losing what we thought we wanted can sometimes be exactly what we need.


Proof Divorce Can Make You Happier

The decision to end a marriage inevitably comes bundled up with worry and anxiety. It’s only human to find yourself wondering whether you’re making a mistake; whether this decision will continue to have negative repercussions – particularly with regards to your mental health – long after the divorce has been finalised.

As familiar as such concerns will be to anyone that has been through or is considering a divorce, though, a recent study conducted by UK-based Quickie Divorce has revealed that they’re often unfounded.

We polled 100 former customers whose divorces had been finalised more than two years ago. We asked them, simply, how happy they now felt and whether they regretted their divorce. Their responses were, we’re pleased to report, overwhelmingly positive.

Of the 100 people we polled, 83 informed us that they were much happier and that they believed that their decision to end their marriage was the right one. Of the remaining 17 respondents, only two informed us that they regretted their decision to end their marriage with the remaining 15 stating that, whilst they believed that they did not regret their divorces, they had found it difficult to adjust to their new lives. All but four of these respondents also informed us, however, that they still felt optimistic for the future and that they believed that they had found it difficult to adapt because they had not established a solid support network following the end of their marriages.

A large number of respondents – 37 to be precise – also reported that they were now in new long-term relationships. In addition, 22 of these individuals stated that they had learnt lessons from their marriages that had benefited their new relationships. In particular, they felt that they were now better at compromising and were more considerate of their partner’s needs.

One of the most common concerns amongst parents that are considering a divorce is that it will have both a significant and adverse effect on the children of the marriage but, of the 73 respondents who had children, only two informed us that they believed that their children had struggled following their divorce. The remaining 71 reported that they felt that their children had benefited from both their and their spouse’s determination to remain civil and create co-parenting plans that were robust enough to meet the needs of both parties and their children.

Ultimately, the pertinent findings of this study are that the vast majority of respondents felt much happier following their divorce, that divorce does not necessarily harm any children involved and that establishing a strong support network during a divorce – as well as maintaining it following the marriage having legally ended – is vital for the emotional wellbeing of those involved.

More important, though, is the fact that this study shows that the worries that so often accompany the decision to end a marriage are often baseless. Indeed, when we asked respondents what advice they would give to anyone that is considering a divorce, their guidance could, without exception, be summarised with one simple statement: trust your judgement.


Jay Williams works for Quickie Divorce, one of the largest providers of uncontested divorce solutions in the United Kingdom.


Five Vows to Make With Yourself After Divorce

Divorce affects us all differently. Some come out of the courthouse immediately feeling lighter, while others carry the heavy weight of sadness for many years. Some look forward to a new beginning; others grow fearful or hopeless about their imagined futures. Some cry. Some scream. Some grow bitter. And some grow more determined.

Yet no matter your personal circumstances or your individual response to divorce, this is an opening. An opportunity. A chance for you to take stock of your life, realign yourself with your values and purpose and make a commitment.

Not to another.

But to yourself.

These are the five promises I made to myself after divorce (I think #5 was the hardest and also the most important).

Have you made vows with yourself after your divorce? If not, maybe it’s time. After all, the promises we make to ourselves are perhaps the most important ones of all.

Why the Hard Work After a Breakup Is Worth It

“It’s not fair,” I remember thinking. He’s the one that had the affair, led a secret life and committed crimes and yet I was left having to manage the recovery from his actions. Part of me railed against putting in the emotional work to right myself again. After all, if he made the mess, shouldn’t he have to clean it up?

In the beginning, I did place the responsibility in his lap (and in the hands of the courts). I was convinced that I needed an apology. I was certain that I needed him to hear my victim impact statement. I was determined that I needed for him to return the swindled funds in order for me to move on.

Yet those things never happened. And so I could wait. Or I could try to navigate the road back to “okay” again on my own.

I chose the latter.

At times, I was angry when it seemed as though he was escaping consequence as easily as a cat navigates through a fence. I felt despair when the reality of where I was mentally  crashed rudely into my reality and getting better seemed like more mirage than realistic goal. I became frustrated when certain strategies or passed milestones failed to bring immediate relief, worried that my efforts were being wasted. And throughout, I was exhausted. Emotional work may not break a sweat, but it sure feels harder than any workout at the gym.

But then, as I kept slogging through the emotional wasteland, some strange things started to happen. Because although the work may be hard, the efforts are worth it.


Opportunities to Heal Earlier Traumas

While I wrestled with the pain and consequences of abandonment, the early childhood pain of my parent’s divorce and my dad’s subsequent move across the country resurfaced. I had long ago buried this sense of abandonment, convinced that it wasn’t worth the attention. Yet when my ex-husband left, I became acutely aware at how strong of a presence this fear was in my life.

The pros call it “trauma reenactment.” Others refer to it as baggage. No matter its label, the stuff that has happened to us tends to stay with us unless we do the work of processing it – absorbing the lessons and dispelling the waste. We often fail to do this work because it’s not fun and we can usually convince ourselves that it’s not necessary.

A breakup will often trigger earlier trauma that has not been resolved. It’s a spotlight on your past, pointing out areas that need attention. And if you do the work to resolve those early pains, it will help you find and create better relationships going forward.


Acceptance of Personal Power

I felt powerless after my marriage ended. I had no say in (or even knowledge of) of its eminent demise. I felt like I had few choices in how I handled the immediate aftermath and my basic needs. And no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t make him talk to me, much less offer an explanation or apology.

I started small. I pledged to finish an entire waffle for dinner. Or to walk twice a week. I accepted the offer of medications to calm the body and allow it to rest.

Then, I began to cook instead of just eat. My walks turned into runs, which led to crossing a finish line of a half marathon. The medications allowed me to experiment with other ways to calm my body, leading me to solid yoga and meditation practices.

Maybe I didn’t have a say in my marriage or my divorce, but I realized just how much of a say I still had in my life.

When you undertake the emotional work of recovering from a breakup, you’re learning to identify those things you can control. And even though your agency is limited to your sphere, it’s amazing how much of a difference just changing your attitude and perspective can make.


An Opening to Build Authentic Confidence

Breakups have a way of destroying our self-confidence. We feel rejected. Unloved. Unwanted. Even while smearing our ex’s character, we silently question if we are somehow broken and not worth loving.

Emotional recovery is a long and often arduous process, two steps forward followed by a long slide backward. It can difficult to see the progress along the way, because it is often nonlinear and even nonsensical.

Yet at some point, you’ll encounter a memory, or a bit of writing, or a picture that highlights just how far you’ve come. And you’ll shake your head in wonder even as you feel a little sense of pride blossoming within you – “I made it through that. Damn, I’m a badass!”

That newfound confidence, along with the insight and skills you have learned, will serve you well going forward as you approach subsequent life challenges.


An Invitation to Overcome Inertia

Okay, so maybe “invitation” isn’t quite the right word. It’s way more like being shoved out of a plane with a tangled parachute and having only part of the instructions for its use.

It certainly is a wake-up call.

In my former life, I had certain elements that I was discontent with and I had allowed myself to become content with that discontent. I rationalized my reasons for avoiding the efforts of change, but really it came down to being more comfortable with the status quo than uncomfortable with my life.

When my ex left, I no longer had the option to remain as I was. My life had been pulled out from under me and I was either going to have to make some changes or crash spectacularly into the ground. Those options certainly make the efforts required to do the emotional work a lot more compelling.

This is a magical moment. A break in the routine. A chance to try something different. You’re not settled, not anchored, not stuck. You can move, you can shift. You can even dance.


A Gift

So the wrapping is ugly. And at first glance, the contents seem rotten. Yet inside that mess are the seeds that you can plant and nurture and grow. And once you see the verdant and magnificent results, you realize that all the efforts were worth it.




10 Things People Who Thrive After Divorce DON’T Do!

We all have seen that some people manage to make it through even the most horrific of divorces with their hearts and smiles intact, whereas others seem permanently withered by their experience. We all want to be a member of the first group and yet we often find ourselves unwitting members of the second.

Why is it that some people flourish and others atrophy?

This is the advice that I wished I had received while I was still in the depths of my own divorce.  I had plenty of people telling me what to do (and I followed the suggestions that fit for me), but nobody really clarified what those that thrive don’t do.

Learn what not to do here.