Learning that “I Can:” Surviving Divorce, Thriving in Life


I’m divorced.”

This was not something that I never expected myself to say to another person, frankly very much the opposite of what I had dreamed of. It was a classic case of “girl meets boy” and he and I came together quite naturally. We both had some unhappy relationships under our belts and liked tattoos and piercings. What could go wrong? You start learning more about each other, your likes and dislikes; you find there were more things in common than you realized. However, there are also things in your lives that you continually disagree on and cannot find resolution for. Eventually you learn that those things will eventually break the bonds that tie you.

You try very hard to be the good one, to be the one that binds the relationship together with love and strength. If you can keep things going, then you will ultimately prove that you were undeniably in love. You were the strong one that could climb mountains; you were the one that could keep everything running smoothly. You were paddling a boat and having it turn in circles without even knowing it was happening. You would have the same old arguments ending the same old way; the words that would ultimately cut you to the quick, “Why don’t you leave me?” eventually turning into “Why don’t you divorce me?

Those words, every time he spoke them, my heart would hurt. I heard variations of those questions at least twice a year for almost 8 years. Why did I continually ignore that? I can’t tell you. I would usually come back with “Why is it only my decision?” and “You must not be happy with me if you keep saying that.

2013 rolled in, and it happened to be a year where I started to make changes in my life. I started to become more self-assured, and I also purchased a bicycle. That bike was the best therapy I could’ve ever asked for. I spent time each day pedaling through the thoughts and worries in my head; shedding the jittery energy.  There were problems and behaviors that cropped up that really scared me. I had never faced having to deal with the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” option that loomed in my face. I found a healthy way to deal with my issues, my then husband had not. Instead it was being away on weekends and drinking that became a soothing touch for him. I looked at my past history with this man, whom I considered a good friend of mine. How do you learn to justify a decision when you respect someone but yet, can’t respect their decisions?

I had to break away from all the doubt-filled thoughts that were repeatedly told to me. That I wouldn’t make it on my income alone; I’d have to give up my cats and move back home. I was tired of being told all of the things I couldn’t do. I decided that I would prove that I, indeed, could live on my own. I would keep the cats, I would keep food in my cupboards, and I would survive.

I’ll never forget the night I told my then husband that we should separate, then the next weekend when we came to the conclusion that divorce was the only real option we had. We both knew that we were not right for each other anymore. We both knew that our problems had gone on too long, and that trust had been broken one too many times.

Divorce was truly the one decision that we were able to come together on in years, and we were able to do so in a kindly and respectful manner. I’ll admit that there were times where I thought “Damn. I’m starting my life over and I’m almost 30.” To look at it retrospectively, many people start over and they are anywhere in age. It’s a scary thing but also liberating at the same time. I had felt a load of bricks crumble and fall away from me. I could breathe again.

Divorce was something I never thought I would do, and I had sworn to myself I never would. It was a lesson in learning to never say “never.” It turned out to be a painful learning experience, but the both of us are much happier now. Lessons learned, growing pains, growing up, and so much more. Above all, I learned that “I can.”



*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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