The Light at the End of the Tunnel

If you ask me, divorce might very well be the worst experience of your life, second only to the passing of a loved one. Think of it as a revolution inside your head, one that you feel all the way to the pit of your stomach.
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In honor of the New Year, I'm here to offer some hope. After all, like many of you, I've been through the ringer of divorce. I've paid my dues and am now an alumnus of "Divorce University." That means I'm in a position to bring you some good news.

Wherever you are with your divorce, whatever stage you're in, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That light might be on the blink right now, but rest assured that one day, it will be there, with a strong, bright beam. In the meantime, take a breath, do your best to keep a positive attitude and keep saying to yourself, "This, too, shall pass."

If you ask me, divorce might very well be the worst experience of your life, second only to the passing of a loved one. (I should know; I lost both of my parents during my divorce.) Think of it as a revolution inside your head, one that you feel all the way to the pit of your stomach. You're in the eye of the storm, grappling with what went wrong and meeting with lawyers and mediators. You may even be doing all this while feeling numb and shocked by the demise of your marriage. Perhaps, you're feeling as though you have been hit by a truck. Repeatedly.

Well, these emotions don't last forever, though it may be hard to see that while you're smack in the middle of it and all that it entails -- the "he said, she said" banter, the dividing of the assets, custody battles, etc. Having hope that you can make it through the tunnel or, even, that there is a tunnel, can be hard to imagine. But, having graduated from D.U., I speak from experience. It will get better, with a lot of perseverance, and a little help from the old adage, time heals everything.

Believe it or not, divorce can be an opportunity. It has the potential to uplift you. For, when the day comes that you reach the other side of the tunnel, you'll likely find, not only did you recover and come out of it okay, you are no longer the same person you were before the divorce, and the change you're seeing is, no doubt, for the better. Which is what happened to me.

When I was first going through my divorce, I'd wake up everyday, saying to myself:

"Welcome to my nightmare!"

I can't pinpoint when I stopped, but I know it took years. One morning, I just woke up and realized I wasn't saying it anymore. I discovered I had power. For the first time in ages, my self-esteem was high, and I was feeling good about myself. I had achieved this through the will to survive, which is inherent in all of us, and by taking baby steps. Sounds corny, I know. But it's true.

You see, even though my ex initiated the discussion of divorce, and moved out, he wasn't ready to take any further action than that. He said he needed time to think about our future, and whether we could possibly have one together. So, I waited. And then, I waited some more. I spent months in limbo. Almost a year. I was hoping we could work it out.

But, one day I finally realized that it just wasn't going to happen. So I made up my mind to stop waiting, since the uncertainty of my situation was doing a major number on me. I needed to take my future into my own hands, and not leave it up to him.

It was time for me to think about what I wanted. Which is when I went to see a lawyer and filed the papers. I made a slew of other decisions, too. Like taking my maiden name back, and establishing my own accounts and credit. And, with each decision I made, I felt empowered.

I was changing and no longer kowtowing to my ex, or to his parents. He noticed the difference and I could tell that it made him uncomfortable. But I didn't care. I was finding my inner strength!

Each choice that I made represented a baby step, and before I knew it, I was hitting my stride! I felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. I finally figured out how to get back home -- to me.

So, patience. It takes time. Getting there isn't easy and each of us has to get there in our own way. Maybe this will be the year for you. And when you do reach the end of that tunnel, you'll know it's worth it. And so are you.

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