There are many women out there who wonder what their life will be like if they do separate and divorce their partner. I know this because since I've been writing openly about my experience, I've been getting asked a lot by women I know and women I don't know.
Women are strong. We are planners. We want to know what divorce looks like—all of it. So, I can tell you what it has looked like for me. But it goes without saying that every experience is different and my truths won't be the same for everyone.
For me, divorce means I love my new life and hate it at the same time.
Divorce makes me take my guilt further by giving myself mental takedowns all the time. I beat myself up and take more of the blame for my marriage ending than I probably should.
Divorce makes me use my new life as an excuse to get out of things because family parties or gatherings are too hard sometimes—especially the holidays when I don't have the kids. I know it might not be the best answer to isolate myself, but there will be times that's the only thing I can do.
Co-parenting is a lot of damn work. I've always made all of the kids' appointments, so I've kept that up. Now instead of just letting my husband know what's going on, I have to let him know where to be for what appointment if it's scheduled on a day he has the kids.
My ex and I have to deal with knowing there will probably be a stepparent in our kids' lives, whether we like it or not. We try to be on the same page and have the same rules for our kids, as they divide their time between our two homes.
It's a mixed bag of shit days and good days.
Other times, we don't communicate well at all and actually refuse to talk to each other about things, like house rules, and hope for the best because we know there are times we can't agree on a single thing.
I've found out that sleeping alone and not having in-laws to consider is awesome and lonely all at the same time.
Over time, I've forgotten all the little quirks my partner did that drove me to the brink, and the reason we went our separate ways might not make sense anymore. I found out after reading "Crazy Time: Surviving Divorce and Building a New Life," a book I can't recommend enough, almost everyone goes through this phase. But it usually never means you should get back together. It's part of the grieving process.
Being divorced means I don't have to explain my receipts and can decorate my house however I want. This is liberating and a wonderful distraction that helped me discover the second chapter and the person I wanted be after I healed.
Because I did heal. But there are parts of me that are still so scared to be independent, care for my children solo and take care of my home alone because for so long I had a partner. I worry about a lot more things than you used to now.
Most women I've talked to say to allow two years to see the light coming through cracks. Then things will be better than ever. Different, but better.
The one thing I want every woman to know who is going through the divorce process is there will horrible days and there will be amazing days. Even if you wanted your marriage to end, you will miss the partnership and the way it feels to look across the room at someone when you need the roof repaired or your child is struggling in school.
It's a mixed bag of shit days and good days. You will be fine one moment and taken down the next and not even know why. Because the truth is, no one usually gets out of divorce without regrets, guilt, hardships and feeling like they suck.
Don't mistake these feelings for being weak. Learning, growing and changing is part of the process. No one knows the perfect thing to do at every moment, so let go of that pressure.
But, I'm a big advocate of enjoying the positive aspects of divorce, like being a bed and chip hog, and decorating with pink. So, do the things that feel right and forget about appearing strong.
This has been the only mindset that has helped me move forward. And believe me, I've tried them all.