Let’s be honest, when we are young, we typically don’t have dreams of being divorced. The reality is that about half of all marriages will end in divorce. Some divorces are amicable, and some are messy and ugly—mine was, and now we co-parent amazingly well together (trust me, there is hope if you don’t!). I was married for 10 years, and when I went through my divorce, it was the biggest time of personal growth and self-discovery. Even though my world felt like it was falling apart, I began to realize it was actually coming together for the very first time. Part of the self-discovery for me was not only owning up to my role in the demise of my marriage—and no matter how bad it was, you had a role, even if it was not enforcing boundaries and staying when you were treated badly—but also evaluating the people in my life and how they fit into the future I wanted. Divorce can be a time to take inventory of yourself and your friendships and to learn how to move forward with the life you want.
A friend you felt was always there for you might be nowhere to be found when the divorce is announced, and a friend you weren’t as close to might end up being your rock during the process. I think it’s so important to remember that everyone has their own struggles they are dealing with, and someone not being there might be less about you and more about them. No matter your situation, you will need the support of friends, and identifying who you can count on is key. I had several friends who helped me through it all, and seeing them step up and be there made us even more connected and closer than before. It also reminded me to invest in people who invest in me the most. If someone you thought would be by your side isn’t, have grace for them and instead focus your energy on yourself and others who are in your life and supporting you in a positive way. There is so much you go through when getting divorced; being angry or sad at friends is not worth the energy.
While your friends will listen to you vent and dump, eventually they need a break, and you also don’t want to become that person who is always complaining, even if it is rightfully needed. Consider using a therapist as your venting person if possible, and then pick a couple of friends who want to hear it all. Also, don’t forget that everyone is going through something, so while your world is being shifted, those around you might want to share what they are going through too. All relationships are give and take at times, and going through a divorce is usually a little more of a taking stage, but don’t forget to still give and be there for others.
If you had couple friends during your marriage, you might notice they often feel stuck in the middle, especially if the divorce is contentious. Remind yourself that some friends last a season and others are meant to last a lifetime. Focusing on the good in your life and the friendships that withstand this trying time is essential for keeping a positive mindset. Allow yourself time to feel your emotions, but dwelling on negative feelings all day can quickly spiral someone into a very dark space, which can be hard to get out of.
For the first couple of months, I recommend planning lots of dates with friends and family. Keep yourself busy in the hours you don’t work or would have been with your partner. With time, you will see that the journey of rediscovery and being single again can be one filled with excitement and joy. And of course, time allows for healing. This change of direction could lead to a future more beautiful than you imagined.
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