It doesn't matter if you initiated the divorce or your ex did: There are some emotions you experience during the process that totally take you aback, regardless of who walked away. (Don't worry: That weird sense of elation that your ex is gone, followed immediately by an overwhelming sense of sadness, is pretty much par for the course after a split.)
Below, HuffPost Divorce bloggers share 10 things that caught them off guard when their marriages ended.
1. Marriage -- and finding love again -- is the furthest thing from your mind.
"When I first got divorced, everyone assured me I would get married again. With marriage at the forefront of my mind (because that was the only life I knew), I hoped 'everyone' was right and assumed I would be married in the near future. More than four years later, I'm not even close and don't know if I ever will be or if I want to be. Don't get me wrong, I would love to share my life with a loving partner and be in a healthy, committed relationship. But I like who I am better now and, more so, who I am becoming, especially because the role of 'wife' no longer defines me. I'll know if and when it's time to get married, when doing so won't feel like I'm giving up a part of myself." -- Stacey Freeman, founder of Write On Track
2. If you have kids, it may feel as if you're living a double life.
"If you share custody, you might sometimes feel like you lead a double life. On some days, you are a single parent, shouldering all the responsibilities of raising children. Other days, you are a single adult, free to do whatever you want to do with your time. My advice is to enjoy your newfound freedom and take advantage of it. Make this a positive and explore life a little." -- Bill Flanigin
3. Everything (every restaurant, every city you visited together) reminds you of your ex.
"After my separation, I became acutely aware of how the landscape of my life changed. Not only from selling my home and moving, but changes in cities, states, restaurants, beaches, hiking trails and stores; they all held memories from the past when I was married. Even the rocking chairs in an airport terminal reminded me of a trip we'd taken. It seemed like every place held me a prisoner to memory. I learned the importance of creating new memories for myself to paint a new landscape." -- Patty Blue Hayes, heartbreak recovery coach
4. You'll be surprised at how much you have to communicate with your ex.
"I never expected that I would have to talk to my ex now more than ever. Most of it comes down to coordinating about the kids." -- Denise Albert, co-host of The MOMS on SiriusXM
5. You realize how resilient you are as a person.
"I never expected to feel so strong and unafraid about what the future would hold for me. Deciding to divorce takes courage and determination. It’s a bold choice to follow through with, especially when you have children. There was sadness but once I made the decision, I knew this was the right path for my life moving forward. I learned so much about myself during those tough times and I also discovered how resilient I was." -- Christine Amour-Levar, founding partner of Women On A Mission
6. You may feel positively giddy about the divorce one moment -- and devastated the next.
"One thing I never expected to feel after my ex-husband moved out was elation. For me, the decision to separate was an agonizing dilemma between my responsibility of trying to work it out and my responsibility to myself to have a safe and healthy relationship. When it became clear that I needed to break away and he moved out, I was in a state of euphoria for about two weeks. Sadness came later, but those for few weeks were pure relief and elation -- and it felt odd." -- Elizabeth Denham
7. Forget what Louis C.K. said about post-divorce happiness: You might feel conflicted when people tell you "congratulations!"
"Right after my divorce was finalized, the congratulations started. 'Congratulating me on what?' I would think. 'My marriage just failed.' But as time went on, I stopped thinking of my marriage in such absolute terms. I succeeded at a lot during those 16 years: I parented my three children (and continue to), supported my husband at home which gave him the freedom and flexibility he needed to grow his career on behalf of our family, and was a partner in a relationship that lasted more than 24 years. That's not a failure in my book. That's a success." -- Stacey Freeman
8. You may feel a deep sense of loss when you no longer have contact with your in-laws.
"I assumed my husband's family would be there to support me emotionally through the loss and that we'd maintain our relationships post-divorce. I'd heard of other divorced people who had the fortunate experience of sustaining their good relationships with former in-laws, but that wasn't the case for me. It intensified my feelings of loss when my former family relationships discontinued." -- Patty Blue Hayes
9. You'll miss a lot about your former life.
"When I got divorced, I missed my kids. I missed my house. I missed my financial security. I missed my neighbors. I really missed her cooking. I missed the certainty and comfort of my life. But, when I really took stock of things, I never really missed my ex-wife. I knew I’d be fine." -- Bill Flanigin
10. You might not want to talk about it -- and that's OK.
"I never expected to feel so guarded. I thought the world would open up like a blooming flower and I would dance on in. And while it did open up and lead me into a learning phase, caution was a huge part of that. It's not easy to share your life after an emotional blow, so be gentle with yourself and know that the world will wait until you're ready." -- Jeannine Ellis
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