When you make a decision to end your marriage, the first thoughts are how you can get away from the person making you miserable and the arguments will end. However, it is the little things post-separation that begin to gnaw at you.
During my 18 months of being separated, my ex-husband did everything in his power to make me miserable, very subtly through the kids. He would make snide comments about the fact that he wasn’t the one to break up our family or he would accuse me of being unfaithful. Thankfully, the kids are at an age where they were able to see him for what he was and ignored the snide comments. Then I had to deal with the in-laws who would also make nasty comments to the kids, but never to my face. Many nights were spent crying over how broken my 10 year old was and so to help her I spent one year trying to undo the emotional damage they insisted on effecting with counselling for both the kids and myself.
It is best to know that this is when I found myself. I realized how much I enjoyed not having to come home to an unmade bed, or dishes in the sink. I didn’t have to deal with arguments about insignificant things or battles about bedtime and who’s turn it was to do the dishes. Instead what I found was a new perspective on relationships. Some six months into my separation, I met a wonderful man, who not only taught me about what it meant to be loved unconditionally but how to adapt to being on my own. He taught me selflessness and patience. We cooked, laughed and played together and there was this void suddenly filled and I had no idea why or how.
I also charged a new spiritual journey that began when I was in Canada and ended with me being baptized. It was one of the best decisions I had ever made, with the second being the end of my 10 year old marriage. Here are some of the things that divorce taught me.
1. Divorce taught me that I was a control freak but had to let go the reins and learn to relax and be patient even with a new relationship.
2. Divorce taught me to be independent and alone. This is especially hard because I am a people person and enjoy having someone to talk to. Yet I was alone for the first time in 12 years and after the kids were put to bed, there was no one to talk to for a few months and I felt alone.
3. Divorce taught me that to get through the pain of being alone with no support where I lived, I had to dig deep to find a few hours of solitude and do me. It brought out feelings of insecurity about self and abilities. I felt judged more than ever and recoiled from the world and everything familiar to my life pre-divorce.
4. Divorce taught me that I could not depend on my companion to heal the pain of my failed marriage. That’s why there are therapists. After several months in weekly sessions, I realized that I could not get over this pain in a short period of time but rather it would take time to heal and I had to let it (control freak curbed).
5. Divorce taught me to love again. Strange but true. While it might sound like a line, 18 months later, I have opened my heart in many ways to new experiences.
Don’t get me wrong. I still have a long way to go and for all intents and purposes I have no idea where this road will take me. Yet for me the questions still arise. Will I marry again? Maybe, if he asks. Will I have another child? Maybe, if the circumstances were favourable.
I used to think that my companion and I would ride off into the sunset once my divorce was final but even now that is a rocky decision. We have been through many challenges for a new couple (ex-husband making snide comments to new partner included) continue to face new challenges (aging, work life balance and children) and sometimes I am not sure what to make of it. What I do know is that what lies ahead is not for either of us to decide but to let a higher power steer us in the right direction.
Divorce has taught me that dating anyone is a challenge because of the emotional roller coaster you get on. Yet, I am not sad that I ended it just sad that I am not married. I don’t miss my ex but I do miss the institution of marriage. However, I get through I know that I will be alright.