The day I decided to leave my husband will forever be etched into my brain. On the phone with my best friend, I told her I’d made my decision and listened to her silence on the other end. She quietly asked if I was sure, and I told her I was. For the week leading up to our separation, I was resolute.
What I didn’t realize was that sense of certainty would waver many times over the coming months and years. As a single parent trying to make it on my own and ensure our custody agreement could work, I felt like I was swimming against a current and often wondered if we could have just made do for our child’s sake. (We couldn’t have.)
Sometimes, I felt like I was drowning.
Whether you choose to leave, have an amicable separation, or you’re blindsided by a spouse’s decision to end your marriage, separation and divorce is an enormous upset to your life.
- You’ll feel guilty, even though guilt doesn’t belong in the equation.
- There’s a good chance you’ll cry in the toilet paper aisle, the frozen foods section, or the parking lot of your grocery store. You might even cry in all three. More than once.
- Making meals for one is hard, but the occasional popcorn dinner is totally acceptable.
- One morning, you’ll wake up on the other side of the bed - well-rested and happy. It might take a while, but you will.
- Friends might pick sides, and that’s OK - even if it hurts in the moment.
- You’ll second, or third, or maybe even fourth-guess things.
- There is no one in the world you need to apologize to, except maybe yourself if you’re giving yourself a hard time.
- That thing your partner always did? You can do it, too, and one day you won’t remember that it was their “job.”
- You deserve happiness.
- Being alone is not the same as being lonely.
- Dating is both terrifying and terrific fun.
- It is absolutely OK to drink an entire bottle of wine and binge-watch tear-jerking movies in your sweatpants and refuse to shower for two days.
- Your kid(s) would rather happy parents who live separately than for you to be miserable, even if it’s an adjustment for everyone.
- Counselling is the best gift you will ever give yourself, even if you feel you don’t need it.
- You and your ex may just have a better (platonic) relationship down the road.
- Just because your marriage ended does not mean you are a failure.
- Let me just repeat that, actually: You are not a failure.
- The things that hurt a lot right now will be forgotten (or at least forgiven) one day.
- You are entitled to whatever you are feeling today, tomorrow, or five years down the road.
- It’s entirely possible and totally OK to mourn your marriage with the same intensity you feel about ending it.
- Not sharing the bag of chips/bowl of popcorn/chocolate bar is the best.
- It is liberating to go out for a drink, grab dinner, or see a movie solo.
- A vibrator might just be the second-best gift you ever give yourself.
The author has chosen to share this story anonymously.
IMAGE SOURCE: MARJAN_APOSTOLOVIC VIA GETTY IMAGES