It’s kind of funny. When you are going through a divorce—no matter who you are or what your circumstances are—you feel like no one else can understand the issues and emotions that you’re dealing with. It’s the loneliest feeling in the world, and something that is hard to explain if you haven’t experienced it. It's like you’re in a bubble, isolated from the rest of the world.
While it's natural to feel that you're alone during a divorce and that no one understands your struggle, nothing could be further from the truth.
The Emotions of Divorce Are Pretty Predictable
We may like to believe that our particular situation is unlike anything that has ever happened. But the truth is, divorce and the emotions that go along with it are pretty common. The circumstances surrounding your divorce might be different, but everyone experiences the same basic feelings:
- reduced self-confidence
There are more emotions that enter the picture, but most of them are related to those top six. How you process these emotions, and the logistics of the divorce, will determine how quickly you can move on. Don't sit around and let yourself fall into the trap of self-pity; you are the only one who is going to hold you back, or push you forward.
Everyone Wonders If They’ve Done All that They Could
There are very few people who don’t second-guess their decision to divorce, or wonder if they’re doing the right thing. You question if you’ve given it everything you could, or if moving on is the best thing. You wonder if you should try, maybe, one more time to make it work. When you second-guess yourself like this, you can paralyze yourself emotionally, and make it impossible to take any action at all. Once this happens, you can get stuck right where you are until you settle things in your mind.
Could you be making a mistake? Sure you could, but the reality is that you are making the best choices that you can make under the circumstances, right?
Go with it. Trust yourself. Do what seems best for you and own it.
You Have to Believe in Yourself
You have to believe in yourself because if you don’t, who will? Divorce is one of the toughest things that you are going to go through and, believe it or not, other people may not be supportive—even if you aren’t the one who sought the divorce!
There is something about divorce that can bring out the very worst in people, not just the spouses going through it. You may lose friends; you may get criticism from your family; you may catch hell from your adult children. Sometimes it will feel like the entire world is against you, so believing in yourself is critical to withstanding the onslaught of negativity.
I lost all but two very close friends during my divorce. Sometimes, it's still difficult to process that people I had depended on, people I had been there for, disappeared once the “D” word was uttered. But I chose to accept my decision and move on rather than “fighting for the marriage”.
It wasn't easy. I had to change churches. I was criticized and ostracized left and right. At one point, I was invited to a couple's party and then completely ignored by all but the hosts—and these were people I had known for over a decade!
It was devastating. It was painful. It was one of the hardest times in my life, but I survived it. I came through it, and now I am stronger and more confident that ever. I have good friends and a network again. When I think of those past experiences, it can still make me feel sick inside. But I know I did the right thing.
And remember, owning your decision doesn't always eliminate the "what if's," so be prepared for those as well.
You Are the Captain of Your Own Life
I finally had a breakthrough when I realized the following: none of the people who were advising me against divorce would have been willing to live in my shoes. Not one of them would've wanted to deal with what I dealt with, and none of them were responsible for my children.
It was on me and me alone.
This realization freed me in a sense from outside judgments and opinions. If I make bad choices based on someone else's wants or preferences, I am the one who's left to deal with the consequences. Not OK. I needed my decisions to be based on my own experiences, not on other peoples’ opinions, pure and simple.
I mean, why would I want to gamble my life and my kids’ lives on outsiders' opinions of what's best for us? You should listen to the people whose opinions you deeply value, but ultimately the choice to divorce is yours. Do what you think is best and don’t look back.
Talk to others who understand where you're at and what you're going through. Join First Wives World today to be part of a group who knows exactly what it’s like to second-guess.
Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User : Pedro Ribeiro Simões