I know a lot of divorced women. A lot. I know them personally, I meet many through business and social events, and I receive dozens of emails from divorced women as they comment on my blog, Divorced Girl Smiling.
All divorced women deal with their new life in a different way. Some become big partiers, some delve into their work, and some focus on their children entirely and ban dating from their lives. I see good, healthy behavior, bad, destructive behavior and behavior that is somewhat of a mix.
Here are 5 types of divorced girls who exhibit bad behavior, and yes, I'm stereotyping. What kind of divorced girl are YOU?
1. The partier: This is the divorced woman who decides to drink and party her worries away. She is constantly getting babysitters and going out drinking with her girlfriends, flirting with guys, and temporarily forgetting all her problems nightly, only to wake up the next day, and realize they are still there. Her solution: go out again tonight to numb the pain for a few hours.
2. The husband #2 searcher: I know this woman who got on match.com and JDate the second she got separated, with full intentions of getting remarried quickly. I'm serious. Her #1 priority was to find another husband. Stat. I can't count the number of divorced women who are engaged before their divorce is finalized.
3. The workaholic: This is the girl who was hurt so deeply that she uses work to forget her pain. Work also gives her self-worth, and the validation that she is needed and appreciated. So, she decides to date her job, because her job will never hurt her like a man can.
4. The supermom: "I'm going to focus on my kids right now." That is an amazing statement, and one that every divorced woman should be saying. But, how much is too much? Some divorced women feel they have to over-compensate by spending every second focused on their children. The supermom feels like she doesn't deserve to have a life of her own because her children are victims of divorce, and she feels guilty about that. So, she gives everything she has to them and does nothing for herself.
5. Ms. Bitterness: This divorced woman lives her life acting like a victim. She was wronged. She didn't deserve what happened to her. Her mind is constantly occupied by thoughts of her ex and his new girlfriend, his life, and what HE is doing. She can't move past the fact that he ended the marriage, that HE wanted the divorce or that he has someone new. Ms. Bitterness is also losing friends by the minute because she cannot stop talking about her ex. She is 100% focused on HIM and doesn't remotely want to move on.
I think every divorced woman becomes a little bit of each of these five divorced girls, which is very normal and understandable. But, the difference between a healthy divorced woman and one of these five is that for the healthy divorced woman, these behaviors are temporary.
When I was getting divorced, I exhibited all five of these behaviors in some way, but only for a little while. I remember going out and drinking a lot, at the beginning. I remember a guy I desperately wanted to marry, who I barely knew. I remember delving into work. I remember thinking all I needed was my children and guys repulsed me. And I had some bitterness, anger and resentment for my ex at points. But, I moved on.
A healthy, happy divorced girl does these things:
1. She drinks responsibly and minimally.
2. She dates, but just for fun at first, and then takes her time to really get to know someone before committing to something permanent.
3. She works because she enjoys it (same as before she was divorced).
4. She continues to be the same great mother she has always been.
5. She accepts the past, takes her share of the blame for the divorce, and focuses on HER future, with little regard to her ex's personal life.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of the blog, Divorced Girl Smiling She is also the author of the comedic novel, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE, about life after divorce. Ms. Pilossoph is a weekly business features reporter for the Pioneer Press, with the monthly column, "Heart of the North Shore." She lives in Chicago with her two kids. And she's divorced (obviously.)