There’s no sugar coating the fact that divorce is hard. There are many difficult lessons to be learned, but along with those difficulties comes triumph and a renewed sense of who you are. Since nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, many of you reading this can probably relate to some, if not all, of these 20 things.
1. Nobody’s relationship is perfect.
Social media is all a highlight reel. Now that you’ve been through the trenches of a divorce, you know that everyone has problems. Some problems can be resolved and some can’t, but no one- and I mean no one- has a perfect relationship.
2. The dating scene sucks.
Maybe you thought finally being free from the chains of your marriage would be fun, and while there are definitely perks, you’re really discovering that the post-divorce dating scene pretty much sucks. Dating apps, commitment issues, dealing with exes– it’s not easy. If you are lucky enough to find that diamond in the rough, make sure you treat it like a diamond because it is rare…so rare.
3. Everyone wants to set you up.
As if dating apps and commitment phobes wasn’t bad enough, now you have everyone wanting to set you up. They mean well and want to see you happy, but if you aren’t ready to date, don’t be afraid to tell people to back off and reassure them that you’re fine taking some time for self-discovery.
4. If they aren’t trying to set you up, they’re coming to you for relationship advice.
Maybe it’s because you’ve literally been through the worst and somehow survived, but now that you’re divorced, everyone seems to come to you with their relationship problems. As if by going through a divorce you now suddenly have all the answers. You can certainly give them advice about what not to do, and maybe even pass on some valuable lessons you’ve learned since you’re divorce, but going through a divorce doesn’t make you an expert on relationships. It makes you an expert on divorce.
5. People don’t understand why you can’t “just be single”.
Post-divorce it can go one of two ways. You either have everyone asking you when you’re going to settle down again, or you have everyone asking why you can’t just be single. The answer to both questions is- it’s none of their business! They may mean well, but frankly, this is your time to figure out what you want and you don’t need other people’s opinions influencing that.
6. Once you do enter a relationship, everyone reminds you not to make the same mistakes you did in your marriage.
You’re the one who went through the divorce. You did all the hard work. Yet, everyone seems to take it upon themselves to remind you of your so-called “failures”. As if you’re intentionally looking to repeat them again. This is where you can politely tell them to mind their own business and let you live your best life- thank you very much!
7. You’re always looking for red flags.
It’s natural after a divorce to look for the negatives. No one wants to go through another breakup. It’s important to pay attention to the big red flags, but don’t get so caught up nitpicking every little thing or you might miss out on something really great.
8. You don’t know how to just date casually.
It’s really hard to go from being married and attached to someone so deeply to just casually dating. Even if you try your best to play it cool, deep down you’re overthinking and second guessing everything. Don’t be so hard on yourself during this transition period. It does get easier with time, but making such a major life change takes some getting used to.
9. It’s really hard to date with kids.
If you have children from your marriage, you quickly realize that dating with kids is very different from dating without kids. Between finding time to see each other to determining when it’s okay to introduce your main squeeze to your littles, it’s all a bit overwhelming. It’s important to date someone who understands the struggles of dating with kids, even if they don’t have any of their own. Patience is key. With time, this does get easier.
10. Your kids are always going to come first- and not everyone can handle that.
Your kids were there first and they’re always going to be there, so naturally they are your first priority. Not everyone is capable of handling that. It’s normal to want to be the number one priority when you’re in a relationship, but that’s simply not going to happen when there are kids involved- especially if you have young children. Wait for the one who not only understands this, but who fully supports it.
11. Even if you want to get married again, you’re a little scared.
It’s not marriage itself that scares you- it’s failing at it again. This is where you need to change your mindset. Divorce isn’t a failure. Deciding to end a relationship that isn’t working is actually a victory. Staying in an unhealthy relationship is much more detrimental to your physical and emotional health. Remember how far you’ve come and how many lessons you’ve learned from your divorce and take that leap of faith- when you’re ready.
12. If you do get married again, you’re going to protect yourself.
Prenups don’t sound so bad now that you’ve been through a divorce. It’s a lot easier to figure out the financials and logistics of a relationship when you have a clear head that’s not clouded by anger and resentment. Whether you get a prenup or not before getting married again, you’re definitely going to make decisions that ensure you’re protected, should you ever get divorced again.
13. Every relationship requires 100% from each participant, not 50/50.
This is true for marriage, co-parenting, dating, or even friendships. If you aren’t giving 100%, it’s not going to work. You need to be fully committed to everything you do and really have a strong desire for healthy relationships. The idea of 50/50 reinforces the idea that you aren’t whole without that other 50%, which is a valuable lesson that must be learned during a divorce. You are whole all on your own. Another person just adds to your life.
14. You can stand on your own.
The thought of getting a divorce is scary because you haven’t been on your own. You’re afraid you won’t be able to survive- whether it be financially, emotionally, or otherwise. You’re thrust into life on your own and you just have to figure it out. When you do realize that you can not only stand on your own, but that you can thrive, is when the second half of your life begins.
15. You don’t care what people think anymore.
The most important person in your life walked away and you survived. That changes something internally. It flips this switch from caring what people think to literally not giving a damn. That doesn’t mean that you don’t take other people’s thoughts and opinions into consideration, but this is your life now and you’re going to do what makes you happy.
16. The oddest things trigger you.
You can do all the healing in the world, but there will still be some things that will take you back in time. Whether it be a fond memory or a bad memory, there are some things you just can’t avoid. They won’t be the things you expect either. It won’t be the wedding photos or the holidays alone.
It’ll be a commercial for your ex’s favorite coffee creamer or the scent of their body wash as you walk through the grocery aisles. The goal is to not let those triggers interrupt your daily life. Acknowledge them and move on.
17. Your kids may struggle, but they’ll be okay.
Kids are surprisingly resilient. We can actually learn a lot from them if we pay close enough attention. Any life change is going to impact them, especially their parents splitting up, but it’s how you handle the aftermath that will really determine how they’ll be going forward. Put them first- always. Even if you absolutely hate your ex, your child doesn’t. Love your kids a little extra through it and they’ll be okay.
18. You can’t control your ex’s actions, but you can control how you react to them.
Control is pretty much thrown out the window as soon as those divorce papers are signed. There’s no longer love holding you two together. They’re going to push your buttons however they can and the only thing you can control is how you react to them. Being the bigger person isn’t easy, but once you let go of that control over your ex, you’ll finally find the peace that you deserve.
19. Gut instincts are real and you should trust them.
There’s a difference between having trust issues and gut instincts. It’s natural to struggle with trust after a divorce, but it’s also important to pay attention to your gut instincts. If something feels off, it probably is. Protecting your peace is so important after you’ve been through a divorce, so anything that triggers that gut instinct, make sure you pay attention to it.
20. You can be happy again.
Divorce is like a death and you need to grieve it, but once you’re finally past that point of grief, it’s time to be happy again. Once you’ve gotten through the hard work of healing, you can be happy again, you just need to be open to it. Fill your bucket up with all the good things so the bad things don’t affect you as deeply. You deserve to be happy- remember that.
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