It's incredibly painful to watch the person you planned to spend your life with walk away from your marriage.
But once you've begun to let go yourself (keep in mind that there's no timetable for moving on), you realize the separation has only made you stronger. Below, HuffPost bloggers and readers share what they gained from divorce.
"As my husband was walking out the door with a suitcase and I was literally holding onto his shirttails begging him to stay, I never thought anything positive could come from it (other than a huge weight loss due to the absolute agony). But something did. Once I began to heal, I found a strong person underneath the 'wife and mother' facade I had hid behind for years. No longer a wife, but still a loving mother, I now make decisions based on my desires and needs. The fear of 'what if he does this or what if he does that?' is gone. I answer to myself, I nurture my own talents and I enjoy wonderful, happy times with my kids." -- Amy Koko
"When my marriage ended after 26 years, I realized how much time I had spent thinking about others: how to make my husband or kids happy, how to anticipate their needs, how to give them emotional support and encouragement to be the best they could be. I had pretty much forgotten to do any of that for myself. My husband didn’t seem to have that problem so I guess he taught me that being selfish isn’t always a bad thing. Through divorce, I learned that I can’t be everything for everyone else if I don’t also value myself." -- Wendy Mooney
"I became more faithful because of my divorce. My ex-wife was a more spiritual person than I was when we entered our marriage. I learned from her and grew myself in a spiritual way. Faith provided a comforting voice that guided me through the adversities of divorce. It gave me the patience and strength to always be there for my children and myself, despite my pain. It has stayed with me to this day." -- Matt Sweetwood
"What my ex gave me when he left twenty years ago was choice. Going forward after 25 years of marriage, it was my choice to live a full, whole and happy life. The early years were a struggle as a single parent. I would never say it was easy. I will say it was worth it. The person I am today is very much a result of his departure. Now, I can only thank him for leaving. It allowed me to find myself and the life I have today." -- Linda Simpson
"Almost ten years ago, my ex-husband abruptly ended our 25-year marriage. I was blindsided. Close to the age of 50, I became a single mother and sole homeowner. I decided that there was no time for self-pity as there was too much to accomplish and my son needed me to be strong. I prepared my home for sale and I sold it. I purchased a new house and settled into a new community. Months and years have passed and I have survived relatively unscathed. Our family has been forever changed, but my relationships with my children have been enriched. The day my marriage ended my strength reemerged." -- Sharen Skelly
"I have learned that I am more resourceful that I thought and that I do not 'need' anyone but myself to be truly happy. I don't need anyone's approval of me. When you are happy with yourself, you are just happy. It doesn't matter if someone else wants you or not." -- Kathleen Baxter
"One of the greatest lessons I learned after he left was to take care of myself. Even when you are swamped, take time to exercise. It's great for relieving stress and you will feel stronger and more self-sufficient!" -- CC Johnson
"I made a conscious effort to try to focus on the positive. I looked for the positive in my ex and what was he doing to get through the dissolution of our marriage that I wanted to adopt or emulate. He seemed to never waiver on taking care of himself first. At first this angered me; how could he be so selfish? But I shifted my perspective to see that putting myself first -- making sure that I was exercising, eating, getting enough sleep and taking time for myself before responding to paperwork -- actually made me calmer, happier, and better in challenging situations. I was able to check in with my best self and get centered and clear on what was important to me." -- Kira Gould
"When I married, so many things about me were put aside, not developed and even ridiculed. When my husband left, I gradually discovered that self again. The adventuresome 'me' emerged, leading to work that got me around the world on expense accounts. The 'me' that loves to learn went back to college to study what I wanted to, not what my husband and community thought I should study. Their idea of a master’s degree for me was business administration, so I'd make more money. My idea was an MFA in creative writing. I made less money but have had a far more satisfying life. I know that in a marriage, compromises need to be made; but some women, like me, mold their life to suit their partner. Now, I look back and wonder who was that woman. The grief was worth the gains." -- Carol Stigger