Having been through a divorce, in hindsight I can look back and recognize there were some things I wish I had known in order to prepare myself. For people that have already walked that path, things on this list will seem common sense, so I invite you to think back to before that fateful day. Did you know these eight things? Hopefully, for those that are presently facing the Big D, this list will give them a jump on the healing process.
1. You might never hear your ex say, “I’m sorry.” For most people, to hear these words seems to be the goal in order for them to start to heal, but a big portion of divorced people will never hear these words. Do not let the actions of someone else control your actions.
2. You gain clarity on what is really important to you. There comes a moment in time when life as you knew it fades away and a new one emerges. This can be scary and at the same time very refreshing. There is a tremendous sense of freedom when you have clarity on what is really important to you.
3. Being friends with your ex is not a given. I remember people saying, “Give it time, you two will be friends at some point.” Well, it’s been 13 years and I’m still waiting for that magical date. I’m not sure it will arrive and with that realization, I have had to make adjustments in my mindset. The biggest one is that I can’t control another person and that’s ok, I’m ok and my kids are ok as long as I handle it the right way.
4. Your kids will need 2 of everything. This is a fact and one that can cause undue stress on you and your kids. Nothing spells STRESS more than uniforms or books left at the other parent’s house. If one parent is unwilling to get his/her half, I’m going to give you some fabulous advice, don’t argue about it. Go and get it yourself and hand it over. Get over that you feel it’s unfair. Trust me on this, that will have been the best money you had to spend.
5. You will lose friends but you will also gain new ones. This was a tough realization for me. I have always cherished my friends, so the thought of losing them was heartbreaking, but sadly, that is the cold hard truth. So, let those go that want to go and embrace the ones that come along. I can tell you that the friends I have made post-divorce have been some of my best friends.
6. It’s a guarantee you will feel guilty about everything. As a divorced, single parent this feeling is a given and it will cause great harm to both you and your children if left unchecked.
7. You will miss your kids. Here is another full-fledged guarantee, so be ready. I will tell you I was not prepared for the feelings I had the first time I had to say bye to my kids as they drove away with their dad. Know that it’s coming and be prepared for it.
8. You now look at your life in terms of BD (before divorce) and AD (after divorce). This is normal; however, it can be destructive to your mental well-being. Your life is your life with all the hills and valleys. Embrace all of it and don’t compartmentalize, because that compartmentalization can get you stuck.