Divorce may seem like an odd thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. But as plenty of HuffPost Divorce readers and bloggers will tell you, nothing forces you to reevaluate your priorities quite like a split.
Below, they share the new relationships, opportunities and strengthened bonds with their kids that made their divorces entirely worth the trouble.
1. "I am thankful to be able to breathe again. I no longer walk on eggshells." -Tamara W.
2. "My divorce made me a stronger, more secure woman. I had no idea until after the divorce was final what an impact his hostility had on me. To be honest, divorcing him was the best decision I've ever made." -Teresa F.
3. "I'm grateful I have sole custody of my daughter! I have raised her myself for seven years now. I wouldn't change a thing. I found out what kind of man and father I was because of my divorce. It was the best thing that could have happened to me." -Doug S.
4. "I’m thankful for my divorce because through it I learned the truth of the saying, 'Sometimes good things have to fall apart so that better things can come together.' Nearly five years after my first marriage failed, I’m a blissful newlywed of three weeks! He is -– and we are –- so much better than I could have imagined." -Penney Berryman
Photo credit: Noe Todorovich
5. "I am thankful I no longer have to wonder what's going on and where I stand. I no longer have to ask myself, 'Why does it feel like he isn't even trying to maintain our relationship?' Living in a nebulous cloud is confusing and frustrating and now the cloud has been blown away. I can see my path and his path is going another way." -Jess O.
6. "I would have never finished college or realized my full potential had I not been put in the position I was in as a single mother. My ex basically left us with nothing -- no car, no income, no hope. I learned what community really means and that I had an awesome village around me. I am grateful for the divorce because although it hasn't always been a good experience, it has forced me to push myself in ways I didn't know I was capable and I am proud to be able to show my daughter that she can be strong without a man." -Lisa M.
7. "Getting divorced at age 28, when my biological tick was ticking so fast the hands were about to fly off, made me feel like I would be too old to have a child by the time I picked up the pieces. Little did I know that my divorce was simply the end of life as I knew it, but not the life I was meant to live. In the end, divorce brought me my daughter, Genevieve. She's two months old and everyone says she’s the spitting image of her daddy Frank, my new husband. (But I say that’s just because they’re both bald.) I’ve accomplished many goals, but the most important has always been motherhood. Holding my baby in my arms is so surreal. Every time I look into her eyes, tears swell in mine. Her smile evokes an indescribable feeling of warmth in my soul. I used to think I had wasted the most important years with my ex-husband. Now I know the most precious time has just begun." - Joelle Caputa, author of Trash the Dress: Stories of Celebrating Divorce in your 20s
Photo courtesy of Joelle Caputa
8. "I'm thankful that I can finally see the good in my ex. It had been too long since I could appreciate anything about him. All I saw was the bad. Finally the hurt has abated some and I remember he has good qualities. I'm also thankful for my own growth and renewed confidence. The ability to see the good in me!" -Joey T.
9. "I'm grateful I no longer cry everyday on my drive home, looking for any excuse to not go home. I'm happier since my divorce. I no longer have to cater to someone who never appreciated everything I did for him until I left." -Maranda R.
10. "I'm grateful that I was able to pull myself up from the wreckage of divorce, gathering up pieces of my broken dreams and with them, creating something new and better. Divorce was merely the flash paper igniting the change. If divorce affords us anything it’s the chance to rewind, reflect, and renew. We take what we learn and choose to do life differently. I came to see my divorce as a remarkable gift. I now had the freedom to build a unique and lasting bond with my children, outside the shadow of their mother. A decade later, I realize that divorce was the best gift I could have received." -Kyle Bradford
11. "This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for my ex-husband. Thank you, husband #1, for having the courage to walk out that cold January morning. After 19 years we no longer knew each other and I’m pretty sure we no longer liked each other. Your betrayal still hurt but maybe that was the only way you could make the end of us be the end of us. Thank you for teaching me that a marriage can’t be held together by willpower alone. Thank you for teaching me how much better my life was without you and for teaching me that your life would be better without me. Thank you for teaching me to learn how worthy and deserving I was and am of a man who is secure in himself. Thank you for teaching me that I deserved to be treasured above all others. Thank you for the good times because it wasn’t all bad. Thank you for being an amazing dad to our daughters. I truly believe they got the best of both of us. Mostly, thank you for leaving me. My husband (pictured below) thanks you for leaving me, too." -Peggy Nolan
Photo courtesy of Peggy Nolan
12. "It's the little things: I'm grateful that I don't have to go to the in-laws this Thanksgiving and deal with all that drama!" -Foxie S.
13. "Divorce has given me an ability to examine my life in a deeper, more thoughtful way than I ever could have before an event this tragic happened. Whether you’re the leaver or the leave-ee, divorce shocks you into understanding that you can’t keep living the way you have been. You realize it’s OK to accept that things have gone wrong because that gives you the opportunity to talk openly about how to improve." -Craig Tomashoff
14. "It's been 10 years since the gavel came down after 30 years of marriage. Are there times when I dream of a white-picket fence with a spouse and perfect little grandchildren bouncing on my knee? Not really. I love my life now, even with all of its flaws -- and there are many. But in spite of the tears, fears, loneliness and middle-of-the-night gremlins, I’d rather be free than trapped in a marriage gone wrong. This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my divorce because I learned how to better deal with whatever life hurled my way—-and taste the sweetness of freedom. And I’m thankful that my ex continues to be a wonderful dad to our daughters." -Katherine Forsythe
Photo courtesy of Katherine Forsythe
15. "I feel so light since my divorce and feel lighter everyday. My worries are lifted off my chest more and more each day. My children found it surprising when I was sitting and smiling for no reason –- now that's going to be my regular face. Life isn’t going to be easy, but so far it never has been. I didn’t plan this, but it has been a gift and I am going to treasure it and make sure it doesn’t go to waste." -Amelia Maciejewski
16. "So many people stay together 'for the kids.' I am thankful that I have the opportunity to teach my kids that no one should endure a miserable existence. My happiness was, and continues to be, my own responsibility. Other than raising my kids to be independent, responsible human beings, the most important thing I can teach them is not to rely on someone else to 'make' them happy. My divorce gave me the opportunity to truly be happy, and I'm thankful for that every day." -Michel B.