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6 things I learned about divorce – 12 months on

This article was first featured in Mamamia. You can find it here.

It’s been one year since my marriage ended and to be honest, this has been one of the absolute best but equally one of the worst years of my life. This polarity has made for a real rollercoaster which included a night so fun that I now have a lifetime ban from the Viper Room in Los Angeles. But, I’ve also ugly cried in the bread section in Coles. See? Rollercoaster.

Like most people going through divorce, we look for lessons from other people to lessen the pain. I read every single book by Zoe Foster Blake and listened to every podcast on divorce, and still there were some things that shocked me.

So in case you need to know – here are the things that no one tells you about getting divorced. The things I had to learn after just 10 months of marriage.

1. You will lose other people in your life

You are expecting your significant other to leave your life, but when you are already feeling isolated and alone, a whole bunch of other people also hit the exit door.

The first out the door is your former partner’s family – parents, cousins, aunts, nephews – which is quite jarring because for a long time they were also your family.

You will also lose close mutual friends.

In some situations, some of these people have taken sides but the truth is that most of them don’t know how to be friends with you now you aren’t part of a couple anymore.

All those dinner invitations you regularly received also dry up.

You end up losing so many more people than just your significant other in any split.

2. You need to have sex but it’s going to be weird…

While I’ve made a conscious decision to not be in a serious relationship, I have ‘casually dated’ a few lovely people in the past 12 months. Very casually.

So casual that dating is probably the wrong word…

Look, I downloaded Tinder. And I have no regrets.

But it is very strange to have sex with someone else after a long time with someone else. It’s a foreign person, a completely foreign experiences and is it me – or are men these days open to asking for a lot more than before?

Anyway, it’s going to be weird and the only thing I strongly recommend ripping that band-aid off sooner rather than later and tell them upfront. It makes the process easier.

3. Healing is not linear

I used to think that healing is a bit of a straight-line process.In theory, as each day progressed – you got better. Overall, this is absolutely the case because time does heal, but it is not that straight of a process.Some days your bones will feel heavy and you will feel like doing nothing. Other days you will feel relief, and then guilt for feeling good.It’s just not as straight forward as that – but while it’s not linear, just remember that time does heal.

4. It is SO BORING

No one really warned me about how boring divorce was.It involves a tonne of paperwork and a lot of really mundane discussions about who really owns the cutlery set that you got five years ago. You need to dissect your lives and no one has ever had fun at lawyers office. You expect that!

And then the night comes and the boredom washes in. This time is universally a sacred time for couples and families – and suddenly it is very different. My significant other didn’t come home at 6pm. I have to cook dinner for myself and there is nothing sadder to me than a meal for one. I didn’t have anyone to watch the new Netflix show with. I was suddenly sleeping by myself in my King sized bed.

5. Other people will have wildly different reactions to your news

I didn’t expect that my divorce would impact other people in any way. Here were just a few of the things that went down.

Some people judged me for not ‘working hard enough’ on my marriage.

One friend told me that he knew his marriage was also over when he listened to me speaking about my separation. He left six months later.

One person I loosely knew sent me a message telling me not to make my Facebook all divorce-y on the same day we made a public announcement.

Multiple married couples would immediately tell me how they aren’t ever going to get one and that it simply wasn’t an option for them.

Some women made it clear that I wasn’t to be friends with their husband anymore. One of those women’s husbands attempted to slide into my DMs.

Other people had REAL reactions to my divorce and they were wildly different.

6. One day it’s just better

For a long time (read: six months) I couldn’t see a future outside of the day to day life that I was just existing in. When your pre-planned future is ripped away, your body and mind needs a beat to catch up.

But there is a moment where that changes. You can suddenly see outside this funk – it’s like magic. This flicker of hope when you can see your future – independent, happy and it feels like utter joy you didn’t think you’d feel again.

If you’re going through this at the moment – I hope this can help you navigate this supremely shitty time. I promise you that someday happy couples won’t make you want to cry anymore. Someday you will feel like yourself again.

It does really get better, even with some surprise bumps in the road.

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