Divorce is tough, even when -- as in my case -- you are able to pull it off without lawyers and without mediation. It is hard even when, as I experienced, you are terribly unhappy in your marriage for quite some time. It's difficult, even if your kids, as mine do, adapt well to change.
And yet, I don't regret going through with it. When I was stuck in a dysfunctional marriage, with two kids, I felt -- and I know my ex-husband did too -- that I was doomed. I've always been self-motivated, a go-getter, a hard worker. I've always set goals and accomplished many of them. But when most of your energy goes into trying to control, figure out or change someone, trust me, you don't have a lot of energy left to do what you are passionate about. So dissolving a bad marriage was the best possible outcome for all of us.
If you are wondering whether you should divorce or whether you did the right thing by divorcing, this is what I have learned along the way.
© Lorraine C. Ladish -- There is life after divorce
- Life is short, move on. Don't give up without first giving it your all to make it work, so you won't have any regrets. But when your relationship sucks the life out of you and your partner, it's time to leave. If you dread interacting with your spouse, or simply going home, it's over.
You are not the person your ex thinks you are. To my ex-husband I was the living picture of gloom and doom. That's the side of me that showed up around him. Ask anyone else who knows me if they share that opinion. Your ex is not the person you think he or she is. He might irritate the heck out of you, but the fact is, that you and him (or her) bring out the worst in each other. He (or she) may not act the same way with someone else. That is why you are exes (or on the way to it). You can find your match. Yes, even if you have kids. Is it difficult? Of course it is! Keep in mind, however that not all men (or women) are the same, and if your ex was a cheat or a liar, it does not mean that the next person will be. Give love a chance. I did, and it worked! Your ex could have a soulmate. It's just not you! Someone else may appreciate what you dislike about him or her, believe it or not. Just pray, if you have kids, that the person will be good with your children. I'm very lucky in that department. His fiancé is wonderful. Divorce can be a catalyst for improvement. Yours, not your ex spouse's. That is his or her choice, not for you to decide. Once you are free from the bickering, the energy drain, the emotional distress, and whatever your marriage issues were, you will be filled with energy to do what you set your mind to.The kids can be OK. This is especially true if you strive to keep an amicable relationship with your ex. We did that. A few years after the divorce I took my daughters to a therapist because I couldn't believe they were so well-adjusted. The therapist said, "You all did a great job." I believe I cried in relief.
Am I advocating for divorce? No, of course not, but when it is inevitable it's a good idea to stop guilt tripping about it and turn it into a learning experience for yourself and -- if you have them -- your children. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
[This post first ran on Viva Fifty!]