No one ever gives you a manual for life. In fact you just kinda wing it and hopefully you make the best decision at the time for all concerned. As the New Year started, I realized that I needed to make a very major change in my life before I turned 40 and that was asking my husband, of nine years, for a divorce! It was not an easy decision but when all you have are more pain than laughter you know it is over. There was no third party involved. It just was not working. I wanted to move on and be done with it.
Here are five things that I discovered no one ever tells you about being single when you are 40.
1. You are single – Yes, even when you are separated and you know it, the painful reminder that you are suddenly single comes up at the most inopportune time. Like the first week after I had moved out, I had to kill a centipede all on my own. Scared as hell, I did it anyway, because I could no longer call on my husband to do it. Do you know what I discovered? I didn’t need to. I killed that sucker and left the remains for the birds!!!!
The other things no one reminds you about being single is that irregardless of what you think, it does get easier, even when it was your decision to be single. You will be happy again one day. Your children will not hate you. Your in-laws are not as important as they think. Life does go on. You are free to choose the next path!
2. Children – Your children either become very distant or they cling tightly. In my case it was the latter.
The children lived through the horrible arguments and I knew it was unfair to subject them to it for much longer. So I not only asked for the divorce, I moved out three months later.
I never asked them to choose sides, but every time I dropped them by their dad for his visitation time, they would get a sad look in their eyes. Whenever they came home, it was hours of clinging and hugs and kisses.
I had suggested a 4/3 split of the week with my ex and that worked out fine but the days alone were hard. The silence was deafening.
The first night was the hardest, but it got easier by the second night. On the third night, I was wondering how the hell I never realized how much fun it was to be alone. Reality hit when I realized that the children were returning the next night.
3. Peace – The quiet at night was great after the third night. I no longer had to come home to tension in the house or face harsh words because of my decision to live a separate life.
The routine at my house was bedtime during the week was 8:30pm and on weekends by 9:30pm. The kids no longer resisted bed time, they did assigned chores without fuss and generally we have a peaceful existence.
In fact, I would say that I had very little reason to quarrel with the children and it was unnerving! There was a good chance, I created many opportunities to yell at them but they never took me on. #MajorErr
4. Friends – It is difficult to move on with your life while you wait for the year long separation to end and the divorce proceedings to begin. However, you find that your friends are the best resources to lean on during these tough times.
Never be afraid to ask for help. When someone says to you “if you need anything, ask”, you should do it. This was my saving grace on many nights during the first two weeks after I had moved out. Whether it was a lift somewhere or a telephone call to talk about the weather, laughter with friends (and children) become the best medicine in the world and healing can begin.
5. Dating – No one tells you what to expect when you start to see someone new. Times have changed so much from 10 years ago with so many ways to communicate that it is virtually impossible not to speak to a love interest.
The main lesson I learned about dating while newly single is that it has its moments. You are faced with insecurities and fears that have to be tempered all the time. A bit of self doubt creeps in and you worry about the first time this new person sees you naked!
In any event, the best advice is to take it slowly and enjoy the time because when you least expect it you may find someone you least expect to be that special person in your life. Now that I am ready to date, I am hoping either Shemar Moore or Mark Wahlberg will also become single so we can have a chat!!!!
I don’t proclaim to know the answers to everything, but these five things helped me to make steady progress during the separation phase. By the time I had moved out, there was no crying, no remorse, no hard feelings. Just a relief that I was finally out from the regimen of the slow death of the marriage. Watching it die was more painful that leaving. Harsh, but true.
Look out for more Girl Interrupted as she blogs about her newly single status! Catching the bus! Doing drop the kids drop off! Lots to talk about. I had to take a break to work through this process before I could even discuss it in public!
Happy to say that it’s a work in progress and I am still here.
Anyone out there facing similar situations can email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear your stories.