How can divorce be “the best thing that’s ever happened”?

broken-heart

Author Honoree Corder reckons the majority of divorced people she meets think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them.

Not the “miserable process” itself, but the second chance it gave them at life.

Thinking about my marriage break-up in those terms makes me feel like the razor clam that started squirming when I squeezed lemon juice on it in a tapas bar (and immediately lost my appetite).

How can tearing my family apart be a blessing?

I’ve been worrying about the kids this week. A divorced friend told me that her daughter is struggling with it all and I started to wonder if I’ve been kidding myself that my children are fine.

I haven’t actually checked how they’re going. I’ve just presumed everything is OK.

So I steeled myself and asked my daughter if she was coping with “living in two households” (a euphemism for “mum and dad not being together any more”).

She replied that she was “good” because her dad and I are “friends.” Many of the kids at her school with divorced parents aren’t so lucky. She told me one girl’s parents can’t even speak to each other, they only correspond via text.

It’s a trap I’ve tried to avoid – there’s bad juju in hating your ex more than you love your kids.

There is wisdom in Honoree’s attitude to divorce. In an article she wrote for Huffington Post she notes:

When going through a divorce, you’ve got options:

  • You can be mad and stay mad. For years. Forever.

  • You can make sure the divorce take years and years, drags on and on, and cost lots of money.

  • You can be in denial. You were just relieved it was over, and other than that, “you’re good.”

  • You can punish your ex, and yourself, by exacting revenge and causing as much hurt as possible.

  • Or … you can change what you can change, accept what you cannot change, heal what needs healing, and have the courage to design the life you want.

I’m not entirely healed … I still have a long way to go. Get me started and I’ll lather myself up quite nicely about how I was done wrong. But I’m trying to follow that fifth option.

I’m designing my new life. It’s a bit of a crazy one, with potential trapezes in kids’ bedrooms and neurotic pets and obsessive texting, but it’s filled with far more joy than anger.

And yours – if you’re going through a marriage break-up – will be too.

It might not feel like it right now, but things will be OK.

One day you’ll feel a seed of joy beginning to sprout in your heart. You won’t want to sob in shower (so the kids don’t hear you).

Courage isn’t easy when your comfort zone is gone, but it’s worth finding.

And I’m here if you ever need a friend who understands your pain.

Song of the day: Kelly Clarkson “Stronger”

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “How can divorce be “the best thing that’s ever happened”?

  1. I am going to be honest here – and my daughters were never fine with our divorce. Nine years later and there’s a lot of damage still. And even though their dad and I managed to stay friends and be civilised, I know that I destroyed the rock that kept them secure by upsetting that family dynamic and leaving their father. They were older than your kids (19 and 16) and somehow I thought it would be easier, but it was awful. If I had known how much it would have hurt them, I think I would have stayed miserable and in that marriage.

    My stepdaughter too, is still in a whole lot of pain seven years after her parents’ separation. Even though I didn’t know her before the divorce, her father tells me that she was a happy, secure and contented child beforehand – now she is anxious, stressed and often confused and unhappy. Her parents do have a fraught relationship though – most communication is by text and very rarely face-to-face as both find it difficult to have a normal, friendly conversation. And the challenges of balancing two households and the demands of school and work make day-to-day logistics very difficult.

    I admire you and your girls so much Alana for coming through this well and really hope it continues.

    • It must have been hard for you to write those words here, so thank you Lynne. I would have thought the same as you – that as late teenagers they would have coped better. I am incredibly fortunate that my kids – so far – are weathering the storm well.

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