It was June 7, 2008. I should have been getting ready to go on vacation to Hawaii, but instead, I was lying face-down on my bed, crying my eyes out. Why? Twenty minutes earlier, my husband of seven years had confessed that he had been seeing someone else. And then divorce happened.
But my divorce didn’t spell the end for me. It could have, given my attitude at that terrible time. I had no motivation to do anything but sit, sleep, and be sad.
Finding my way back was a process, and, because I am a blogger, I would love to share this experience with others – helping them to overcome major negative events and come out the other side as winners.
Divorce and Death – They are Similar
I have decided that divorce is very much like death. It involves the loss of someone who was very close and, in most instances, loved. There are definite stages of recovery from such a loss, and I certainly acquired an intimate understanding of them all. Here is a look at my life through the recovery process and how I emerged victoriously.
Shock (and a bit of denial too)
I was in shock.
The man I had shared my life with for seven years was leaving me. He didn’t love me anymore. How was this possible after I had poured so much into this marriage? He moved out immediately, to a hotel at first. During that time, the denial set in. He would come to his senses, I knew, and realize what a mistake he had made and would be back (not!).
I spent those first days unable to focus on anything – not on eating, personal grooming, and certainly not on anything related to my work. I cried; I called him; I slept fitfully; and, even though I had several articles to write, I did not even open my laptop.
The Pain and Guilt Set In
After several days, during which I didn’t even shave or wash my hair, and with a sink full of dirty dishes and dust bunnies creeping across the floors, the pain set in. It was a gnawing kind of thing in the pit of my stomach that was with me all the time. And with that pain came some guilt. What had I done wrong? What had I not done that could have kept him in love with me? Maybe I didn’t satisfy him sexually; maybe I was just not good-looking or sexy enough. This is the stage when all of the self-doubt settles in, and it carries over to other parts of your life too. I began to doubt that I could ever write a decent article again.
And the thought of opening that laptop was abhorrent.
Anger — it Actually Helped
I’m not sure how the anger crept in. Most people think it’s a pretty negative emotion. But for me, it was healthy. I was pissed at him. I committed seven years of my life – good years – to a man who couldn’t stay faithful and who betrayed me. And with that emotion, I actually opened my laptop – not to write an article but to get my anger out. The words just fell onto the page, as I got it all out – what a relief.
I highly recommend this outlet to anyone. Getting my anger onto that computer screen was a cathartic experience, and it actually began my recovery. I didn’t write any articles, but I did write, and my confidence began to creep back in.
Once I got the anger out, I became a much calmer person. Yes, I was lonely; yes, I was pretty depressed; but I began to reflect on the whole of my life and what I had accomplished all on my own, none of which had to do with my marriage.
My life began to get organized again; I made the bed, did the laundry, grocery shopped, and renewed my personal grooming regimens.
I even contacted my editors and clients, stating that I would be getting back to work. This was huge. I had made promises that I now had to keep. This is another thing I highly recommend. Even if you lack the motivation to do anything, making a commitment has a way of forcing you into action.
The Reconstruction Phase
As I forced myself back into my previous writing schedule, my mind actually began to function again. I began with several blog posts for TrustMyPaper, an assignment I had taken on a few weeks before but had forsaken in my grief. With each paragraph, my confidence grew. And with that confidence came the motivation to get back to what I knew I did well. And this talent was not dependent upon anyone else or upon any relationship. It was all within me. What a great feeling.
Finally – Acceptance
Am I still sad about a failed marriage? Yes, I am. Something that was important to me has died. Do I miss having a partner in my life? Yes, I do. Acceptance has not brought complete happiness.
But I have learned one very important thing. My identity and my worth are not built upon anyone else. They are within me, my history, my experiences, my skills and talents, and my achievements. More than ever, I am motivated to grow my career and to look forward. And best of all, I am starting to anticipate good times in my future.
About the Author: Marie Fincher is a content marketer at Trust My Paper company. After a painful divorce in 2008, she decided to chase a new career. She now works as a freelance marketer and writer. She also loves inspiring others to take control of their lives by sharing her own experiences.