I remember the moment as if it were yesterday. My ex-husband and I sitting down our then, 9-year-old son to tell him we were getting a divorce. With big huge tears in his eyes, he blurted out “why can’t you just stop fighting?” It was absolutely heartbreaking. I will never shake that feeling of both immense sadness and complete failure I felt in that very moment. I was broken. I knew that surviving divorce was going to affect all of us.
Marriage is hard. Divorce is much harder. There is no handbook on how to move on. There is no manual to provide step-by-step instructions to pick up the pieces and start a new life. Divorce is like a tragic and unexpected death. It brings out the true ugly in a person. It surfaces feelings and emotions that you do not even realize you had until they sucker punch you in your gut. It takes your breath away. And, whether you’re ready or not, life continues to move on around you. You try your hardest to navigate this new life to the best of your ability, but you stumble. You stumble hard, over and over. It is miserable, it is uncomfortable, and it is exhausting. It does, however, get better. The pieces that so quickly fell apart, will slowly make their way back together. Some way, somehow, you will be whole again.
Dating in Your 30s
I would describe dating as a 30-something single mom as interesting. This was the part about surviving divorce that I didn’t expect for it to have so many challenges. I decided to go the online dating route. To me, it seemed a practical way to meet a person who shared the same interests. I remember that my friends could not wait to hear about my hilarious dating adventures. The stories are quite entertaining, to say the least. I could write a coffee table book about my crazy experiences in online dating. For example, there was the guy who canceled the first time around because he had a stroke. No, really, he had a stroke. What sounded like a lame excuse was actually a legitimate medical emergency. Then we have the guy who had shared a home with his “roommate.” He often referenced his “roommate” in our phone conversations before we met in person. At this point, I was well convinced that this person was a childhood or college buddy. During our first (and last) date, he confessed that his “roommate” was actually his wife and they were planning on divorcing. Talk about awkward. Finally, there came the date that changed my life forever. That date was with my future husband.
Fast-forward 7 years later. I am happily married to this wonderful man. Marriage the second time around is great, but it is not easy. It is a constant learning experience that requires dedication. It is work. It ‘s a lot of work. I have grown up immensely since my first marriage, and I try to live a life that will make my children proud. I have learned lessons from my past mistakes in marriage and make a conscious effort not to repeat these mistakes. The things I once thought were significant, were merely just noise and distractions. I have learned to pick my battles and not sweat the small stuff. Most importantly, I have learned that I am deserving of love.
If you find yourself in the trenches of surviving divorce, take time to learn from your past, care for yourself, and look forward to the future. After all, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt