Now that you’ve ‘survived’ here’s your “Lessons Learned” – it’s not easy and it’s another painful experience to go thru but you will survive – hey hey! It will also make you a wiser, stronger person in the long run.
**Disclosure: The following is an excerpt of my experience with my ex, my friends, my family as I went through the divorce. This does not have any reflection on your current situation.
Do not expect:
The ex to be civil, easy to deal with, able to get things done. Do not expect phone calls to be answered or returned, certified letters to be received/accepted either. Sometimes the most important things are never on their priority list.
For your divorce do not go thru a Mediator – he or she will want you both to work it out yourself, this takes longer (took me almost 2 years). Get a good lawyer, it will all pay out in the long run and there will be less frustration on getting things done on time since you have legal assistance (and the ultimate threat of ‘going to court’).
Make sure you incorporate due dates into the Property Settlement (it took 5 years for him to refi because I neglected to add ‘due dates’…hence why you should not use a mediator, it also took a letter from a really good Lawyer to push the issue)
What to Expect:
- Expect your family not to understand. Expect them to offer unsolicited advice such as “Have a baby it will fix things”. No it won’t, it would have made things a lot worse and more difficult.
- Expect friends to disappear and take sides. The ones that stick around were you true friends in the long run.
- Expect to be abandoned by your married with children friends. You were once part of their network because you like many others were married and expecting to have children. Now you are single and without children, they may not want to hang with you or be a part of your new life. **I do not know how it is when you have children, I can only speak from my experience. This hurts at first, but it is okay, you will again realize who your true friends are, you will also make new ones.
- Expect to feel like an outcast for a little while. I hid from co-workers and some friends for a very long time, I did not want them to know my business, what was going on. You’ll feel like you’ve done something wrong and this is ok. What you’ve done was try to make it work, it didn’t so you moved on to find your happiness. Life is too short.
- Expect to feel like this at holiday events – don’t worry you’ll get used to it and they’ll get over it.
- Expect to be the poster child for a “Plan B”. Expect your unhappily married friends to ask you ‘how did you do it?’ what process was needed, the pain, pitfalls, emotional stress, etc. It’s okay, everyone needs support and its best to get it from those who already went through that experience. You may even get a referral to use their lawyer.
- Expect changing your name back to be a PITA. See what I wrote back in 2010 here. Note to future self: if I cannot write my future next husband’s last name in one fluid motion (not breaking it up into multiple parts just to dot ‘i’s’) then I know it won’t work out.
- Expect men from your past (who you may not have dated) to come out of the woodwork and profess their undying love for you. Stalkers included.
- Expect your parents, grandparents, other family members to take more time to get over it than you. They may not understand the situation, they may ask you if the two of you still talk. Be patient with them, they will eventually get over it and accept the new love in your life.
- Expect to be bitter (for a while) until you seek your happiness/closure. Question newly engaged couples, putting bets on relationships, telling ‘bachelor’ and ‘bachelorette’ parties to make sure ‘she doesn’t eat the cake’. (Yes I still do this, I’m a true believer that eating the cake is evil)
and now that you’ve got your own place:
- Expect men from your past to come out of the woodwork now that you are single and own a place, especially those who are renting, living at home or have roommates.
- If you do not get the closure you are looking for – write him a letter. I did, but I never sent it.
And most of all, when you are comfortable talking about it, when all the signatures are dry, due dates are met, papers are filed, tell your story to help others. For me, its closure, its telling my side of the story to help myself, to get it off my chest, to help others who may be going thru this even if I went thru this 7 years ago. Some would rather stay together and be miserable but life is too short to be anything but happy.
This ends my ‘Surviving the Big “D” Series’, a story of how I survived, what I experienced, learned, and am now talking about. I moved out of the apartment, bought a house (mortgage is cheaper than rent), bought the right car (I bought a 4 door pre-divorce which sooo wasn’t me), am in the best shape of my life, have my head screwed on straight and am back to doing what I love, what makes me happy and that includes spending time with my friends doing what we do best.
I hope this brings those who have gone thru a divorce and are currently going thru a divorce some comfort in knowing ‘you are not alone’, ‘you will get thru this’ and most importantly ‘you will have a happier life’.
To read the entire series visit the links on the right hand side under “Surviving the Big “D” Series”