Thursday, November 19, 2015

Starting a New Chapter | Life After a Failed Marriage

#marriage, #divorce, #advice, #asimplergrace

A lot has happened since the great divide of 2015 (aka, the split with my husband) and I've received a lot of questions about how I'm doing and what I am planning for the future.  I thought it'd be a great idea to post all my answers here and address everyone at once, but also offer a little encouragement for anyone who might be going through a separation or a divorce and feels alone in the situation.

Q1: WHAT HAPPENED?
For the sake of privacy for myself, my ex and our families, I'm not going to disclose details about what happened that ultimately ended our marriage.  I will, however, say that marriage is VERY HARD WORK.  I know you hear it all the time, but if you don't put 150% effort into your marriage, you're leaving space open for "the rot" to get in and it will destroy the relationship.  

People grow and evolve over time and that's exactly what happened between us.  We grew apart and didn't take the steps necessary to fix the damage and stop the rapid breakdown of the relationship.

Q2: HOW ARE YOU DOING WITH THE SPLIT?
If I told you I was doing great, that would be a big, fat lie.  I have to be honest and say that going through a divorce is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  I have gone through some very tough moments, emotionally, and there were days I wanted to just roll over and die instead of facing the world.  

On that note, I have some AWESOME friends who dragged me out of my depression and pulled me back to my feet.  If it weren't for them and my truly amazing family, I would probably still be drowning in my pity party.  Looking back, this is something I had to go through to become who I am at this moment, and even though it was rough, I am grateful for eventually seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and pushing forward when all else seemed impossible.

Q3: WILL YOU MAINTAIN A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR EX-HUSBAND?
Lorne and I will always be friends.  We were best friends before we ever met in person and started dating.  We were best friends through the early years of our marriage and even now, I know if I need him for anything, I can call on him and he, me.  Divorce is emotional and stressful, so the friendship is strained right now, but we are trying to be amicable during this process.  Once all is said and done, our relationship might not be as strong as it had been in the past, but I will always count Lorne as a friend in life.

Q4: WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THIS PROCESS?
Other than my earlier statement about having to put 150% into your relationship, I would say the most important thing I learned was to not lose yourself in your marriage.  Being married for over a decade is tough because you start to turn into the "couple" instead of two individuals with different thoughts, goals, and beliefs who are married.  I lost myself in my marriage.  I gave up the person I was to be the person someone else wanted me to be and because of this, I lost my happiness.  This wasn't intentional, rather a natural process you go through as you start to blend your persons into one.

Going forward, I would make a greater effort to stay true to myself and keep myself happy.  Whether this means doing things I love, hanging out with girlfriends or just doing some self-reflection, it will be important to remind myself of who I am.  Never, ever lose the person you are because you become a plus-one and remember who you are, because ultimately, your spouse picked you for who you were when you met, fell in love and got married.  


Q5: WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU?  WILL YOU GET MARRIED AGAIN?
At this point in time, I have no idea what the future holds.  I'm taking each day as it comes and cherishing every moment I have in my second singledom.  I am dating again and I am having a great time meeting new people and doing some fun things with them.  Down the line, I would love to get married again.  I love being a wife and even though I'm not perfect at it, I think I have been a good one, and would really feel blessed if I got the opportunity to settle down with the man I'm destined to do the rest of my life with.

Q6: WILL YOU GET RID OF ALL THE MEMORIES FROM YOUR MARRIAGE?
I've thought long and hard about this very question.  Personal effects like pictures and gifts are easy to pack away and store until you have a clearer head, but the thing I was focused on was all the memories we shared that are now public domain, like posts and photos on Facebook, the mutual friends we share and other associated memorabilia.  Although this is a very personal decision, I have decided to keep everything for the time being.  


My main reason for this is because I'm not ending one life and beginning another.  It's instead a chapter in my life that is ending and I'm opening a new one. I'm still writing the book called my life and he was a very big part of it, so those memories stay.  I want my story to be as complete as possible so I can look back one day and see my full life and all the ups and downs that came with it.

Q7: WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU SHARE WITH WOMEN GOING THROUGH DIVORCE?
Although there isn't anything I can say that will make this a pain-free process for anyone, I will tell you one of the things that helped me was to talk to someone.  I have a great friend who went through a divorce a few months before my separation, so it was nice getting another perspective and having a buddy who checked in on me when the road got tough.

I hope this gives you a little encouragement if you happen to be dealing with a marriage in its final curtain call.  Divorce is certainly survivable if you try to keep a positive outlook and remember that because this relationship had to come to an end, it doesn't mean you are failure or a bad person.  Life does go on and God might have someone better lined up for you just around the bend.  

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