Till death do us part, or at least that’s the plan until he runs off with the hairdresser, you grow apart, or just have one too many fights about who is doing the dishes. Then, it’s till divorce do us part. No one gets married with the intention of splitting up. Separations are never easy, especially when kids are involved. Add to this an official ending with a third party holding a rubber stamp, and what you feel in that moment can be conflicting.
Only the Lonely
Often ‘D Day’ feels like an anticlimax. Even more so if you don’t actually attend court and let the other party do the work. There is this whole period of waiting from the breakdown until you can even get a divorce. Perhaps coincidentally it is roughly the same length of time as what it takes to plan most weddings, at least one year.
This is a different scenario to anything else you will experience in your life. Unless people are aware of your feelings, they are unlikely to send you flowers or a sympathy card on the day of your divorce. They were there for you following the initial split, but time has passed and you should be ‘A OK’ by now. But, what if you’re not? Maybe you aren’t over it yet, maybe you are still mourning the closing of that chapter. We know time heals all wounds, but how much time? Or, maybe you are over it but that final piece of paper is a reminder of the emotional rollercoaster you have been on.
Getting divorced can be a lonely experience.
It’s Over … But, It’s Not
And, here is the icing on the cake. If there were a cake which unlike your wedding day, there probably isn’t. Divorce cake should be a thing. If you have kids and you get divorced your ex will be there for the rest of your life! Stuff the cake, bring me a vodka instead.
Not just until they turn 18 but THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! Graduations, weddings, births, birthdays … there they will be. This is not your typical breakup. There is no deleting them off Facebook and hoping you don’t bump into them at the local supermarket. They have a mutual connection who you can’t get rid of … your kids!
If you don’t have a supportive ex the divorce might not give you that clear cut closure you are looking for. On the positive you no longer have to sleep next to him.
It Can Feel Like a Failure
The ‘D’ word is not something you imagine yourself uttering as a little girl. In fact, all the princesses we grew up with lived happily ever after. You might be completely over the relationship. You may have even moved on.
The divorce itself may feel like a personal failure. If you come from a split family you may even have felt determined not to make the same mistakes as your parents. But then it happens. It doesn’t even matter whose fault it is. If you have that high achiever in you the fact you couldn’t save your family might make you feel unsuccessful. There you go, there’s that sad feeling. If this sounds like you, just remember life happens and there is something even better right around the corner.
Legal Battles Hurt
We don’t all step out of a marriage with an amicable 50/50 split down the middle of all the assets we shared. Sometimes the months leading up to the divorce can be met with gold toothed lawyers and negotiations over who will get custody of the dog.
Or like the bittersweet scene from When Harry Met Sally, who gets the stupid wagon wheel Roy Rogers garage sale coffee table?
The actual divorce might be a quick and easy procedure, it hurts far less than getting your ears pierced. But, it’s everything that comes along with it that can be emotionally, mentally and financially draining. If you have been battling it out in a scenario fit for an episode of Suits it is perfectly understandable that you would feel a bit out of sorts.
Party Like It’s 1999
Have you ever heard of a divorce party? It may sound silly but it can signify the beginning of your new, utterly wonderful, exciting new life. This should be a no pressure event. Invite your besties and do it your way. Have a PJ party if you want to. Ride around in go-karts if you want to. Drink wine if you want to. And, it’s your party so you can cry if you want to. Having something to look forward to will make that divorce a little bit easier.
Regaining your independence can be a scary thing. Going from two incomes to one, or from one home to two. It might take time to adjust to doing those things your ex took care of. Like remembering to fill up the car with petrol. Part of the panic many people face after divorce is surviving financially. Work on you. Get your cards in order. Study if you want to. When you are happy in your own life that feeling of hurt and resentment will fade.
When your divorce does come through you might feel happy. You might feel sad. You might feel everything, or you may feel nothing at all. Whatever you are feeling is normal, and it will pass.