I have no question that my “mulligan” marriage had a purpose. My ex-husband is the reason I moved overseas, which is where I met my current husband.
The universe has a funny way of making things happen exactly as they should, even if messy and unexpected.
I have a beautiful daughter and am expecting a son with my husband; my ex is expecting a son with his new wife. I believe we are both in the places we were meant to be.
That being said, I don’t know that ANYTHING could have made my process easier; the grieving of our decade together was a process I could not have changed or rushed. I needed every tear, and I grew from every pained memory. But because I was in an “ex-pat bubble” living abroad, I felt very alone. My family was thousands of miles away, our entire social circle was shared (and really, fundamentally HIS), and it was exclusively couples, so I dealt with the ending of our marriage by myself. Determining which friends will champion you after everything “goes down” is nearly impossible. I wish I would have known which of our mutual friends I could confide in and which wouldn’t be there for me in the end.
Find your Outlet
As a fitness professional, I felt like I was living a “double life” as my marriage deteriorated. In the year leading up to my moving out, I was out partying all night (to get away from it all and away from him), barely eating, and waking up at ungodly hours to train clients and teach fitness classes all day. I lost a ton of weight and muscle and had dark circles under my eyes, but no one suspected a thing because of my job/industry.
Once I moved out, I was able to channel the pain and sadness I felt into proper healthy outlets -cooking for myself, working out alone and with intention, returning to my weekly yoga practice, and taking long walks.
Additionally, I met my now-husband, who helped me forgive and heal in a way I would never have let myself. My advice here is to find a consistent outlet that is healthy (i.e., not substance-based, expensive, or excessive in nature) and a person (whether a partner, therapist, family member, or friend) that is unconditionally supportive and willing to listen without judgment. These two things can form a foundation upon which you can build your next chapter and reliably fall back on again and again. Inevitably, you will have moments of weakness and collapse, and you will need to rely on your support systems and outlets.
Words of Wisdom to Share
When my divorce was finalized, I posted two quotes:
“Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she began to fly.”
“We just became strangers who knew each other too well.”
I definitely felt a weight lifted and a new “emergence” of sorts; I also felt like the time between when I moved out and when we finalized our divorce gave me perspective about what really happened between us and that it was simply a case of outgrowing rather than one of animosity, anger, or failure.
Trust that there is always – ALWAYS – something better on the other side. I know of a few women on the fence about divorce who doubt their ability to find love, find happiness, find stability again – but I always say that if you are truly looking for those things, they will still be waiting for you after your marriage ends.
After my divorce, I got a tattoo of three arrows pointing upward – a symbol of my faith that things get better, and better…and better. In the darkest depths of divorce, it seems like you’re making a huge mistake, and you question yourself over and over. I believe that once you’ve decided to leave, the hardest part is over. You then simply need to allow yourself space and grace to grieve and heal.
Wishing you wellness,