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What does it feel like to cross the “three year” mark? As my darling Samantha Jones says, “Fabulous!”

For all the FWW’ers who are moving beyond divorce, I will say that the healing and subsequent happiness comes in yearly blocks. In September, I celebrated the three year mark. Three whole years without that person who berated me on a daily basis, three whole years without feeling less than. It is remarkable.

So, depending on the year you are in, I’ve divided the full divorce departure process thusly:

Year One — The Year of Uncertainty

How will you feel?
Awful. Sad. Lonely. Miserable. Fearful. Dark. Uncertain. Angry. Confused. Somewhat Suicidal.
How will you behave?
Irratic. Crazy. Reclusive. Spontaneous. Withdrawn. Paranoid. (And, crazy, did I mention, crazy?)
What gets you through?
Alcohol. Chocolate. Long baths. Naps. Sleeping late. Comfort food. Your children’s laughter. Your friends’ support (even if you call at midnight, drunk and crying). And in my case, the complete collection of Sex and the City (all six seasons). Movies. Music.
What is the end result?
You survive and move into Year Two.

Year Two — The Year of Assimilation

You feel...
Not too awful. Surprised. OK. Interested. Less angry. Groggy.
You act like...
Someone shaking off a long sleep. A person who can actually focus. Someone who can hold down a job for more than three weeks. Mildly hopeful; you might have a purpose after all. You begin to think about thinking about your future.
What gets you through?
Prozac or some other serotonin inhibitor a.k.a. mood stabilizer. The desire to eat and feed your children, if you have them.
What is the end result?
You begin to feel proud of yourself, and you actually feel excited about Year Three.

Year Three — The Year of Definition

You feel...
Liberated. Sharp. Decisive. Determined. Radiant. Ready. Alive.
You act...
Confident, like someone other people actually want to get to know. There is a spring in your step. You laugh. You sing. You dance. You find good in almost everyone with whom you come in contact. You are now a believer.
...and the end result...
Joy. Power. Two years at the same job. Happiness. Involvement in your community. You want to help and give to others, so you go the extra mile. You ring the Salvation Army Bell not once, but twice. You donate to charities. You help families with less than you receive a holiday blessing in gifts and cash. You just want to celebrate your existence. You are on your way to higher ground. Celebrate!

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