Every time I hear that Eagles song, Already Gone I blast it. I can completely identify with the lyrics. Before filing for divorce, many years were spent trying to make my marriage work. But at some point when you are in a dissolving marriage, the question whether to stay or not to stay takes over your daily thoughts and there is nothing left to do but make a decision.
Getting to that decision is difficult and everyone has their own journey they must embark on. However, once that decision is made, whichever you decide, you will feel lighter. The strain and stress will not feel as heavy as it did. If the decision was to leave your marriage, you may be already gone in your head, but it is during this time that you must be diligent and focused on what lies ahead.
When I was divorcing my ex, we lived in the same house. His lawyer told him to stay and my lawyer told me not to leave. Living in the same house with a constantly angry man (which existed before the divorce filing) was fraught with constant worry and anxiety. The living conditions were combustible. Because of this, I didn’t think through certain financial particulars in the divorce agreement because my immediate concerns were safety and sanity. I needed to get out. His daily mind games were off the charts: emptying packed boxes of mine, storming into whatever room I was in with a glaring angry demeanor, starting arguments with me or my son then calling the police on us, and on and on it went.
Since I was the one who needed to get out for sanity, he kept the mind games going so that I would cave and give in to significant issues in the agreement that are now coming to haunt me. I am writing this hoping I can save you from the same fate. You have to keep focused on what is ahead. The choice you make today will impact you until your children are grown. If you cannot live with something, do not think, “I will change it later.” It’s nearly impossible to change an order and costly to boot.
When your heart is already gone, keep your head focused by concentrating on these 5 things:
For those of us who are divorced, we know firsthand just how hard every aspect of it is. After you divorce, the party doesn’t quite end. There can still be perpetual issues that crop up that need tweaking and readjusting, especially if you have children together. In fact, I like to call divorce: the gift that keeps on giving.
However, aside from the lingering effects that can often feel like a bad intravenous drip into your veins, you may be doing a lot better than you realize. Sometimes we cannot see how far we have come because we are still a work in progress.
If you can recognize any of these 8 signs, than you are most likely doing better than you realize
1. You found your voice. Some of us lost ourselves in our marriages for a variety of reasons. Our voice had to be shushed often to prevent more fighting, or we gave up expressing our point of view because it wasn’t respected. If that has changed and you can honestly say that you found your voice and do not put up with anyone’s shit anymore, especially your ex’s, than you are doing better than you think you are.
2. You rarely think of your ex. If you only think of your ex when he/she pulls up in your driveway to pick up your kids, or when the child support is late, or when you realize it’s their birthday when you see the date on your phone, then you are well over them and have moved past the hurt.
3. Hearing from your ex doesn’t make you nuts. There was once a time that a mere text or email out of the blue would send you into a tizzy or full-blown anxiety attack. Plus, you had the compulsion to write back immediately for fear of retribution. Today, if you write back it’s a simple sentence and you put it off since you are busy with your own life and the email ends up getting buried in your in-box.
4. You are sleeping through the night and comfortable being alone. When I first moved into my new place, I felt very uncomfortable sleeping in the house alone. I heard every noise and would jump up often. One thing that helped was getting an alarm system. The other was time. I am now comfortable sleeping in the house alone and find I do enjoy the mornings when no one is around and I can go about my day without having to do anything for anyone but me.
5. You do not feel bad anymore when you see happy families. Whenever I would see “happy” families in the grocery store or out in restaurants after my divorce, I would feel a pang of jealousy and guilt. I felt jealous that I wasn’t able to attain that and I felt guilty that my children would be deprived of that. And, though both those results are true today, I now know I did do what was right for me and my family. Plus, as a divorced person, I know that being “happy” is relative, because what looks good on the outside doesn’t always equate to it being good on the inside. We never truly know what goes on in other people’s homes.
6. You stop checking their social media. When you first divorced, you were checking their status page or spying on them to see what they were up to. Now you are either both blocked, or never bother to look since you could care less as to what or who they are doing.
7. You put yourself above your children. Many of us realized after the divorce that we put our children first, many times above our spouse while we were married. We may have not taken vacations without the kids so as not to upset them, put off doing many activities we wanted to do so we can taxi our children to the many activities that they are doing. Now don’t get me wrong, our underage children should always be our priority, but we do have to allow ourselves some time to do our own thing whether its yoga, sailing, playing an instrument or writing, you must make your activities a priority as well. Just like on airplanes you have to take the oxygen mask first to save yourself before you can save your child, you have to take care of your needs before you can take care of your children’s.
8. You are at peace with your decision. Not only are you at peace with your decision, but you have dated and met others you can see a future with. You no longer react or engage with your ex in anything other than what is absolutely necessary. You have a built a life without him or her in it and it is starting to feel just right. This is how you know you are not only adjusting, but thriving after divorce.
Once you have made the decision to leave your marriage, either by separation or divorce your spouse, and I know how pain-staking that decision can be. It’s important to note, the road ahead is long, but with a little planning you can avoid some of the pitfalls and save yourself some money and a whole lot of aggravation.