There are countless reasons why people get divorced, but they all the reasons come down to one commonality: one or both people in the marriage decided they would be happier alone rather than staying married.
That's why it surprises me that so many divorced men and women have such a hard time being by themselves (at first, anyhow.)
I get it that being alone is very scary and takes time getting used to. Been there. But I think the difference between divorced people who end up happy and those who don't boils down to one word: INDEPENDENCE.
Being independent is both really scary and the best feeling in the word, both at the same time. What independence means to me is the ability to be truly happy in your life whether you are:
2. dating someone (or several people) casually
3. in a relationship
Independence means being your own person. What I mean by that is, being a mom (or a dad) is great. In fact it's beyond a joyful role, probably the best in life. But, being independent means having a life that fulfills you that is autonomous of that role. It means having a fulfilling career, or if you don't work, having a passion or hobby that fills a lot of your time because you choose that. It means having a social life with family and friends you choose to see.
Being truly independent means that you are completely capable of taking care of yourself, even if you have a person or people who want to take care of you. In other words, you don't need anyone.
Now, I'm not saying that people should live their lives not needing or depending on others. I think it is healthy to have support and to lean on family, friends or a significant other, at times. In fact, it takes guts to ask for help or to let someone take care of you. But being independent means that for the most part, you thrive on self-sufficiency. You got this.
Independence fosters self-esteem, pride, poise and confidence. I mean, how great does it feel when you can look in the mirror and think, "Wow, I'm really proud that I'm doing this all by myself?"
I believe that one of the greatest joys in life is having a moment when you realize you achieved something you never thought you were capable of, or as Whitney Houston sang in her 1988 hit "One Moment In time," "When I'm more than I thought I could be." (There's a reason they chose that song for the theme song for the 1988 summer Olympics.)
Furthermore, having that self-esteem and confidence gained through being independent is extremely attractive to others. My point is, guys (or girls) dig someone with those qualities. Big time.
In closing, being independent isn't always easy. It takes courage and strength to be a leader in your household, to make big decisions, and to go it alone. But I truly believe the rewards that come with independence are priceless.
And by the way, you can still be independent and be madly in love, feel feminine, and be a couple with someone.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, Love Essentially" for Chicago Tribune Media Group local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.