An Open Letter to the Newly Divorced Woman

Please stop crying. You should be celebrating. More likely than not, he won't be sitting home crying over you.
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Please stop crying. You should be celebrating. More likely than not, he won't be sitting home crying over you. Men have an emotional knob that dials down the pain to the lowest setting once they start to see long legs and flowing blond hair all around them. He's fast on his way to getting over you.

But let's get back to you. You've wasted enough energy dwelling on him and the past. I'm about to tell you some things that you won't believe. In fact, I'll actually feel your collective head shake as you think, "She's sooooo wrong."

I am not wrong. I was you. I made every foolish mistake you can make post divorce. After four years of my own post divorce journey, of figuring this whole happiness thing out organically, I decided I should impart the knowledge to you that I wish someone gave me.

Let's take a look at the best post-divorce advice you're ever going to get, shall we?

The first guy is not THE ONE. I know you swear he is. How fortunate you are! You don't have to go through the agony of countless bad dates looking for Mr. Right! Thoughts of remarriage enter your head. You wouldn't tell anyone this, of course. How could they understand? They can't because, as sorry as I am to break this to you, he's not THE ONE. That's OK, though, because here is what he is. He is the guy that is a shot of morphine to the emotional mind f*ck you've been going through for longer than anyone could really know. He is the one that gave you your swagger back, but he is not THE ONE. So don't go through a mini breakdown when it ends. There will be others and fortunately the sex will be just as good.

Your married friends will judge you. This could be the most bitter pill to swallow in all of divorce. Nothing will sting as badly as hearing those you trusted are not-so secretly disapproving of every move you make as a divorced single woman. It's only partially their fault. Listening to your stories of steamy makeout sessions before going home to clean spaghetti off the walls would make anyone hate you. They don't comprehend that it's perfectly OK for you to casually date a 20-something for his rock hard abs rather than his intellectual prowess. They frown upon your "friend with benefits" situation. They don't get it because it's not their reality... and you would never want it to be. No matter how well-articulated the fact that your moments of ecstasy do not make up for the Sahara desert dry spells, they won't get it. So just don't tell them about it.

Don't chase the party. There will be nights that you find yourself dancing with a little person named Paco wearing a sombrero in the middle of a club at 3 a.m., and there will be nights that you are home by 11 looking at yourself in the mirror and think, "I got dressed up for THAT?" It's going to be a crapshoot, but you can't manufacture fun. If the night just isn't happening, ask for the check, and head home. Bonus advice: when you do find yourself dancing on table tops and living it up... let it ride. Don't turn into Cinderella and race off to find your pumpkin carriage. Those are legendary nights, and they'll provide great memories for the many non-legendary nights in your future.

Explore the sexual candy store. When you signed the divorce papers you were also handed a key to the Wonka factory. It's a crazy place, but nothing is off limits. This is the time to explore. To be adventurous. To do the things you always secretly thought about but were afraid or unable to try. This is when you get to taste the sexual Skittles rainbow. Dating different types of men will help you zone in on what traits you desire, not just what you assume you should be desiring. Do not let societal standards outweigh your need for sexual exploration.

Buy condoms. You're going to need them. Not because you are promiscuous, but because there will be that moment after date three, four or five (or one... no judgements here!) that he comes back to your place and as things get heated, he tells you he has no protection. Your vagina will override your brain. Let me be very clear, if you don't care about your own body, no one else will. You are not a slut because you buy condoms. You are a genius because you know that when your body is chemically responding to another's, there is nothing that will get in your way of fulfilling your needs, including lack of protection. Stay smart, and stay safe. Buy every kind, every size, every flavor. Consider it your Lady Bits insurance policy.

You will eventually figure it all out. One night when the kids are settling into bed, the dishes are done, and the dogs are resting peacefully on the couch, you will look around your quiet house and have an epiphany. A new normal has settled in, and you are doing just fine. Better than fine. You haven't felt sad in some time, and not only that, you are actually hopeful and excited for your future. You've moved from healing to growth. It's a profound moment. One that calls for celebration. In your very own Candyland style reality of two steps forward, one step back, you have made it to Gum Drop Mountain. Take it in.

When you get there, remember the time when you thought I was wrong about all this. Now, you will understand that something really great can come from something really bad. Raise a glass for me. I'll be on my way to Candy Castle. I'll keep you posted on what the road looks like up ahead, but I think I see Skittles.

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