“How are things?” I asked her.
Tears welled in her eyes. It was heartbreaking. “Not good,” she said softly.
The memories of feeling the exact same way she did came flooding back. When I was on the verge of divorce, and I was really distraught. I was scared of being alone, scared for my kids, scared for finances, scared of attorney’s fees, and scared of the unknown. I teared up at least 10 times a day.
I wish I would have run into someone like me at the gym when I was getting divorced, because she would have told me some really helpful things, like these:
The day your soon-to-be ex moves out, you will feel surprisingly very relieved. The sadness you thought you’d feel will instead be such reprieve, that you will almost feel joy. Don’t feel guilty about that. You’ve been miserable for so long, you deserve a break.
You’re going to get attorney statements that will make you physically nauseous. If you want to avoid that, try to settle or mediate with your ex. Put your pride aside, suck it up, and talk to him. You will save so much money.
You will not be alone forever. You will FOR SURE meet someone at some point. I seriously guarantee it. It doesn’t feel that way, but trust me, I’ve never met a divorced person yet who hasn’t fallen crazy in love. It just takes time.
Your kids are probably going to cry a lot, feel sad, do strange things or misbehave. They are feeling angry or sad or scared or guilty, (like it’s their fault). Just talk to them. Always keep the lines of communication open. But don’t try to reason with them. Just validate how they feel. Keep telling them that you understand how they feel that way. AND drill it in their heads that it’s not their fault.
Your ex is going to do things that piss you off for the rest of your life. You are going to do things that piss him off, too. Half the time he isn’t speaking to you, you won’t even know why. But, there will be times where he will make you laugh, and you will remember why you married him. They are fleeting, but they are there.
You’re going to meet other divorced women and they are going to become some of the best friends you ever make in life.
Your ex’s family is either going to stop speaking to you completely, or they are going to call you up and go off on you. Nine times out of ten, they will not want to remain friendly. It’s very hard, but DON’T take it personally.
Your ex is going to have a serious girlfriend in 2 minutes. DO NOT be shocked.
Some of your married friends are going to dump you, because they don’t want to go out as a threesome, they want to go out with couples. But, some of your married friends will be there for you at a level you never imagined, and it will touch you beyond belief.
People are going to set you up on blind dates, and when you go on some of them, you will be sitting there dipping your bread in olive oil, and thinking, ‘How could so and so possibly think this was a good match?’
You will be getting take-out with your kids more than ever before. Make an effort to sit at the kitchen or dining room table and eat with your kids and talk, with no cell phones and no TV, because you are STILL a family.
You will have a year ahead of you that includes hilarious moments, crazy dates, but a lot of crying and sadness too. It’s okay. You will be fine.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Jackie holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University, and spent several years writing feature stories for the Pioneer Press.
She lives in Chicago with her family. Oh, and she’s divorced. Email Jackie at: Jackie@divorcedgirlsmiling.com.