Have you ever wanted to divorce yourself? Your life? Your choices? Your bad habits and/or outlook on your “situation”. I sure have.
Before you blame everything on everyone else here are the Top Ten Things I wish I would have known BEFORE I got married and then divorced.
Spoiler Alert: The common denominator is YOU shug. The good news is you have 100% control over your choices too! Woohoo!
I am happy being single but not for the reasons most assume. Some people are just happier solo. I don’t like who I become in tandem so there’s always that to think through. How are you naturally the happiest?
I chose to leave my marriage very abruptly which I do not advise without planning and preparation.
I am pretty sure some of us aren’t built for marriage as well as others, allowing that yo be okay is where a lot of us struggle.
I am one of those women who got married for the wrong reasons: age, fears, societal expectations; a general unfulfilled unhappiness all wrapped into the pressure we put ourselves under to force a timeline of accomplishments and all that should happen by certain ages and life stages. I don’t live that way anymore and life is so much happier!
The pressure to partner up is interesting. The married friends who feel the most sorry for my single situation are usually the most lonesome and sad in their relationship, but hey, at least they are married right? Blech.
I question the norm; the idea of what my new normal relationship wants, needs and expectations are and what will make me the healthiest, happiest and generously loving person in the world. With so much divorce, why aren’t we all questioning the norm?
I have zero tolerance for bad behavior from others, especially from myself, which is the lesson I am most thankful for because of divorce. If I allow someone to bring out my inner mean girl – that is a NO GO fo’ sho!
When I focus on this list I would have saved myself a lot of hard knock learning by feet in the fire always reacting in constant crisis mode instead of planning proactively creating the life I want.
First and most important words of wisdom for any stage in life = Practice your 30 second elevator pitch without a sad or angry or weird yucky back story.
Hi, I’m Cathy, fun, creative & fearless ready for adventures!
- Forgive Yourself. Redefine what perceived failure leads to change in yourself, for yourself. Do not compare your path to others.
- Know who you are and what you stand for.
- Visualize what you want your next chapter to be like.
- Ask yourself what kind of person you are in the world?
- Who are you mind, body and spirit as a single person (as if marriage or partnership never existed).
- What is your new title?
- What will you do on weekends?
- What kind of married or divorced person will you be?
- What kind of co-parent will you be?
- What kind of guys will you date knowing what you know now?
- What will your identity in the world?
Example: Will you be that divorced gal/guy who acts like a sex starved cougar in denial of her age, the angry/bitter victimized Debbie downer nobody wants to be around, or the hot mess party girl busy staying so busy so she is never home alone by herself, the attention starved people pleaser push over, the man hating relationship expert, the hyper religious judge Judy, the sensitive recluse or the freedom fighting feminist?
You get the drift, you WILL be changed because of marriage/divorce, health/sickness, wealth or lack thereof, [insert all life stuff here]… so its important to just go ahead and think it through before life twists and turns defines it for you. (This “at the crossroads” of personal change rule goes for high school/college age too).
- Vacation Alone. No, not a fun girls trip, not a hobby group with other solo sojourners, but 100% take at least one alone vacation PER YEAR that does not cater to being single or married. Know who you are and what you like. Go to the Beach, Grand Canyon, Disney World or Las Vegas for example – just you, yourself and all the head voices in toe. Just GO, BE YOU! Do you know who that is? If you don’t it’s fun to find out.
- Stash Cash. Keep a financial diary. If you don’t save naturally, at least one year before your big DDAY, start stashing as much money as possible in cash because once you start divorce proceedings every account is sliced and diced out of your control. The legal system and very crazy emotions take over and your funds are literally frozen. This goes for saving and planning for a wedding just to turn out being divorced bridezilla in the end. What I know for sure, who you think you’ll be through marriage/divorce planning isn’t who will show up. That goes for your spouse too. People who are stress triggered, get really weird and unpredictable very fast. In break up preparation make a survival freedom kit. Why not consider the grocery store check out line a cash back savings option. Simply get an additional $20 out to feed your secret cash stash can if possible, get even more. Save! Save! Save!
- Plan your Career. Do this as if you will never be able to rely on another person to take care of you financially ever again. Career is more than just a job to pay bills (we all need that too), its how you serve and make a difference in the world that uses your skills, gifts and abilities to contribute to the greater good and brings you great joy at the same time pays you very well which supports your lifestyle for the long term.
- Have your own health benefits, car & life insurances.
- Visit a banker to create a budget considering cost of living inflation; evaluating your credit as a single person and what you can expect.
- Meet with an attorney to understand what to expect during divorce and how much it will cost, have your own savings/retirement plan.
- Research areas of town you’d like to live & have fun.
- Be realistic about what you will have to let go of in your new life. Be realistic.
- Make New Friends that are not associated or determined by your relationship status. Your married friends will change. Count on it.
- Make Firm Decisions & Stick to them. Give your self bear hugs, uber-respect, take yourself on selfie dates, offer yourself reliance as security & self-assurance and most of all be gentle with your self through high and low emotional waves. I found myself laughing more than I expected I would be. At first I felt guilty about it that I should “act sad” or “be angry” or…whatever we are taught to do during crisis times of injustice. Life is funny to me, so when I was alone I found myself giggling at what a mess I made for myself to clean up! So, in CathyV fashion I just keep cleaning it up the messes knowing this too shall pass and doing the hard work of learning that lesson to avoid future messes.
- Break Your Old Routines….dinner for breakfast anyone?
- Ask Questions often –who, what, where, how & why do I believe this to be the right or only way to think about this? Ponder the alternatives. PS. Do not get funky on Facebook, you look like a crazy person spewing the bitter blame game, it’s ugly, don’t do that.
- BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN HAPPINESS!
If I would have done all of this before I got married to the wrong person, because I was being the wrong person myself, I would never had to have gone through the relational failure lessons and legal pains of divorce. Even though it was the best thing that could have happened for me personally, I don’t suggest it to anyone for obvious reasons.
I don’t believe God hates divorce IF it makes us better people because of having learned from what it needed to teach us. Especially if we use the lessons to help others in the world avoid the same mistakes, heal etc… But, I will say avoid it at all costs by doing the things that make yourself happy before you make a life altering decision that hurts yourself and so many other outside of the marriage. But do not ever stay for the sake of others happiness above your own either.
I give all my unhappily married friends the same advice. The grass is green where you water it; feed and water yourself daily first, create your own life, bloom despite next to whom you are planted. This goes for quitting jobs, all break ups, getting married or living together, co-parenting…doing anything for the wrong reasons, or expecting others to fill your souls unhappy void is just dumb and usually based in fear. Learning better boundaries by figuring out how to fill my own voids has been key for me. Knowing what you need and want isn’t easy if you are a people pleaser, fixer, saver or codependent type.
#Interdependent is where the happiness is at!
Being solo wont make you happier, you can choose to be happy or unhappy right where you are, no matter who you are with, no matter what you are doing or what you have or think you do not have. It’s a simple choice.
DONT BE A JERK! … OR PUT UP WITH ONE EITHER.
Make those internal changes for yourself, nobody else. Nip bad behaviors. Its up to you to recreate your life in a way that works vs. the drama, making others wrong in order for you to justify yourself, and all the negative emotions that tag along with that choice. And, It is 100% a choice. Own it – the good, bad and ugly is what you choose life to become.
Being free and single doesn’t fix any of what breaks down in marriage in the first place. Being married doesn’t make you more successful in life either. Cultivating and balancing your own interdependent healthy living habits, inside of any key relationship is always a struggle because we all are in constant change, and that’s okay too.
Thats the best part, its all A-Okay and do not let anyone make you feel otherwise!
Living, Learning & Laughing at myself A LOT!