The Emotional Toll Of Going Through A Divorce

the-emotional-toll-of-going-through-divorce
My ex-husband and I decided to separate last October. After struggling for years, discussing separatation many times, and trying everything we could think of to salvage our marriage, we agreed it was the right thing to do.

He had been away for the weekend and upon his return, we sat in bed and had a conversation I never thought I’d have with anyone, “I think I should move out,” he said. I agreed with my whole being, but I was afraid to say it. A huge wave of relief washed over me.

We saw the writing on the wall and knew this next step was right for us. We decided to start with a trial separation and see how it felt. Within a few weeks, we met for lunch and knew we were doing the right thing; it felt better to be apart than it did to be together.

Our kids were adjusting, we agreed on financials, custody, and who would keep the family car and home. Then, we signed the divorce papers together.

I’m not trying to paint a pretty picture of divorce; It has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through. When I’m struggling (which is at least once every damn day), I’ve thought, ‘It could be worse so why do I feel so broken right now? Why do I cry so much? Why the hell does it still hurt so much? This is what we both wanted.’

We’ve all heard different stories of divorce: Couples fighting for over a year about things like custody and who gets to stay in the family home, or have the pets. Those who are absolutely lost and devastated over their split. The thing is everyone has a different story to tell; marriage and divorce alike are never one size fits all. But here’s the thing: No matter what that story is, divorce hurts everyone who is going through it.

No matter what the ending of your marriage looks and feels like, it’s a huge uphill battle. It will be, by far, the most gut-wrenching decision most people ever make. And even if you want a divorce, you and your ex are still friends, and things are going as smoothly as they can in an unbearable situation, you still need to let yourself heal.

Your new life will feel freeing and scary at the same time. You can be happy but deeply exhausted and unsure about what the future holds. Feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. You think for years you are going to have a partner for life to see you through everything from babies to retirement, then it changes. Beating yourself up because your life didn’t go as planned helps no one, especially not you.

There is part of you that wonders if you even deserve a second chapter in your life, if you will ever find love again, and if you will ever figure out how to be a mother and a father simultaneously when the kids are with you.

It’s all so new, and it’s imperative to give yourself time to heal — I say a year, minimum. Everyone I know who has been through a divorce has come out a stronger version of themselves. They’ve learned so much about life and struggle, and it’s made them realize what they will and will not put up with. But it’s taken them all time to come to this realization.

Nearly a year after my ex and I split, I am just now starting to feel somewhat normal again. I’m not saying you get over it in a year; I’m saying don’t be impatient with yourself or rush your healing. It takes as long as it takes. But I do know one thing: You will be okay, you really will.

Photo: Getty