Life After Divorce
Boomer here — and something happened last night that was too good not to share! I was out to eat with a friend and noticed the server who I found both attractive and funny. When she came to the table and asked if I wanted more salad dressing, I said something like, “daflergler ngorfenschmlr” (which roughly translates to “yes” in English). I didn’t “trip” over my words so much as fall down an entire flight of stairs. So I just nodded.
While most of us can relate to moments (or entire lives!) of being awkward, perhaps a lesser number of people can say they’ve been through a divorce. As of Spring 2013, I indeed officially joined that club in what amounted to an extremely painful divorce, and re-entering life has been just as unexpected a journey as the divorce itself… “It wasn’t supposed to be this way!!”
The restaurant moment reminded me that it’s been a LONG time since I’ve attempted to make conversation with someone I’m interested in… a small but real reminder of where I’m at, and where I’ve come from.
Forgiveness, grief, and processing pain… well, they look different for everyone. Everyone’s story is unique. But for me, there are some concrete milestones, in retrospect, that are really, really, really helping me through mine, which is still mostly definitely a work in progress. Thought I’d share for whatever it’s worth:
Counseling. I tend to go “inwards” with difficult situations, and I often forget that there are trained, qualified people who WANT to help and CAN help. A few things I appreciated about mine: she didn’t rush me or hurry me, or quickly prescribe a bunch of advice (my worst fear about going in the first place). She listened and affirmed with great patience. Sometimes she asked questions, and sometimes she interjected with a thought, but it gave me confidence to know she was for my health and wellness. Also, the first counselor I saw was NOT a good fit for me, and I didn’t feel bad about shopping around and going with my gut.
Support: I found a divorce support group through a local church for a short period. While it ended up not being a good fit, it reminded me that there are others like me. I also got to know a few others who had been through a divorce, and I’m grateful for the ones who asked me to coffee when I was too numb, or depressed, or anxious, or (fill in the blank) to seek out those friendships myself!
Exercise: Even if it’s just a daily dog walk, in my experience, depression makes it easy to isolate. Getting out there and moving around, somehow, someway, has served me.
Using “The New Normal” to my advantage: One thing I had plenty more of after the divorce: time (fully aware that this is NOT the case for everyone). Or maybe a better word: flexibility. No date nights, no summer vacations, and no holidays together. I used the time to learn something that excited me: voice acting.
I can’t offer any of these thoughts as advice… it’s only what’s helped me, and if you’d be so kind, feel free to offer what’s helped you. And don’t forget… there IS life after divorce. There IS hope!