I was only 23 when my divorce became final – I am now 25. Sure, I have plenty of years ahead of me, a fact that people like to remind me. But, I was with my ex for 6 years – that’s a pretty good chunk of my life! I’m at the age that most of my friends are getting married and having kids, and I feel like I went backwards a bit. Then again, I also know people that haven’t come close to wanted to be married. The bliss of a single life! It really depends on you as a person and what you want.
I met my ex husband a week after I turned 18. I was a senior in high school and the relationship came as a surprise, even to me. At the time I wasn’t thinking of settling down yet – I was dating around and was about to start college. It was a chance meeting – I was taking a friend out after she had a fight with her boyfriend and my now ex pulled up next to me and him and his friend followed us. The rest is history – a very fast and emotionally draining 6 years followed. I changed as a person when I was with him – not for the better. I never used to let anyone walk on me, and now I started to doubt myself. My heart went in this direction and there was no stopping it. Love isn’t something you can explain. I worked hard at the relationship even though I should have ran. My ex was bad news but I SO wanted things to work. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t want to fail, and I didn’t want all my time to be wasted. But, after being cheated on and abused, mainly emotionally, but I also got hit once, I finally filed for divorce. Over the years we had broken up so many times that I lost count, and it was no surprise that I took him back for 3 months and ended up filing for divorce again. It was hard sticking to it. I hated him and loved him all the same.
I fell into a rut for awhile. Actually, for a long time I was in “robot-mode” during our marriage. I went thru the daily motions of working, cleaning, studying. I did everything I could do to make him happy as I lost site of myself. Every time he did something to hurt me, it was just added to the pile and I moved on. Sometimes I cried. Sometimes I felt numb, or even nothing. Once I filed it was a different feeling. It was a mixture – anger, frustration, pity. I felt lost. All that time and effort and look what happened! I was a good person, why couldn’t he have treated me better? Why was he so selfish and disgusting? What was I going to do now? Sure, I had the “nobody will ever love me” thoughts. I stepped away from God, cried why me why me. It didn’t help that my ex still came around, and I let him. He toyed with me, used me. I was really not liking myself.
Time went on. I moved back to my family home to help start over and get away from my ex. Moving really does help to move on. I had to get out of that apartment. I also had a lot of bills to deal with now. Coming home to people helped to ease some of the nighttime pain. I spent a lot of time being clingy with certain people that I knew, or staying home avoiding everyone. My cats kept me going – I had to take care of them. But I also had to take care of myself.
My job helped – I work full time for the IRS. Work can be a nice escape sometimes. It occupies time and thoughts.
Dating became another challenge. Over the course of our relationship, my ex and I had broken up many times and we both had been with other people. I had a lot of rebounds. It’s funny, but the nice guys I met were pushed to the curb and I went for the ones that really just wanted me for my body. It’s true that you end up falling for the same guys. After filing for divorce and I stepped out into the dating world once again, I felt lost. I hadn’t “dated” anyone for such a long time. Once again, I pushed people away. I also brought in the wrong guys, those that wanted to just use me. So, I stopped dating for awhile. Soon I met an actual nice guy and we started to spend some time together. I wasn’t ready though and I told him so. My divorce wasn’t even final yet! I wanted to take things slow. He didn’t understand. I started finding flaws, reasons to not be around him. I was upset that he wouldn’t give me space. I didn’t even know what I wanted! Needless to say, we didn’t continue dating.
Gradually I started thinking more clearly. I knew that if I wanted to be okay with anyone else, I had to be okay with myself first. I wondered if my ex had found someone yet. I was jealous of the people who were in a relationship, whose lives were going well. I wanted to be happy for people but what about me? Really, what is the answer to the question – why do bad things happen to good people?
I had spent a lot of time doubting myself and I had lost respect for myself. I knew it was time to get over that. I didn’t want to stay down in a rut, and I didn’t want to bring others down with me. There wasn’t anything I could do about my divorce. Really, I didn’t want my ex back. I just didn’t want to be divorced. Sound strange? Try going thru it – you will know what I mean. It was time to get my life back on track. It was time to find ME again.
I joined a gym. I pursued new hobbies. I worked on the strained relationship I had with my family. I was restructuring. I wanted to be content with myself and my life. I had to figure out what I wanted. To help this, I knew what I DIDN’T want. I knew what types of people and activities I didn’t want to associate with. I was starting down a new path and I could only take the right things with me. People were telling me to date around and enjoy the single life – I had already done my share of rebounds. I decided that if I was supposed to meet someone, he would come along my path while I was doing my own thing. I took a good look at the people I was around, and I knew that some of them didn’t have a place in my life anymore. It’s not that they were all bad people – it’s just that some of them weren’t right for my life.
I still felt like something was missing. I knew what it was. I’d known for a long time but I had been too angry and self-absorbed in pity to do anything about it. I needed to get back to church. I have always been spiritual, although my family was never religious. My ex and I had sometimes set foot in church but with him it was more for show than anything. I had questioned my faith during my hard times. It’s funny – the times you need God the most are the times you stray from him. I searched around, not finding the right church. The one near my house was stuffy – they acted like I intruded on them. Another one was a party church. Where was the worship? I finally struck gold after an internet search. I knew the second I parked my car that I had found a good one – people in the parking lot were welcoming! This was more like it – an actual caring church! I was shown around, introduced to people, given people’s cell numbers, invited to lunch. And that was even before the service began! I began studying with a minister and his wife, and soon became baptized. A hole in my heart was filled. A year later, I still attend twice a week and have made many friends who care about me and my well-being. My Christian family has been a blessing.
My divorce has been final for almost 2 years now. It’s been a long healing process,. I can say now that I am finally content. I am a good person and I am doing good with my life. I can’t look at others and wish I was in their shoes. This is the hand that I was dealt. We all go down our own path for a reason. I am stronger now, and much happier. I have been able to help others with their problems. If I was still with my ex, I would not be where I am today. I would not be enjoying my new hobbies, have my new car, or have my new church family. There were many things to get over besides my divorce. Sometimes I wonder how I went on. When I was younger, I never imagined going thru the things that I did. There were times that I really was on my own, because my family and friends were either not there for me or didn’t understand. My sister was a part of the pain, moving out with my ex when we broke up one time. It’s crazy how much I cared for him. I still haven’t talked to her in 5 years. You can forgive but not forget. Really, I pity people that have to cause others pain to help themselves. They are the ones with the empty lives, and they are not welcome on my new path/ It will only bring me down if I sink to that level again.
If you ever go thru something as harsh as a divorce, don’t be afraid to express your human emotions. We all need a good cry sometimes. But be sure to pick yourself up and move out of the rut. You are too special and worthy to let others bring you down. A new path has formed and it can be quite a blessing. Everything is about choices. Others may choose to hurt us, or life may go in a different direct than we planned, but it’s all about how we react to it – how we deal with it.
Tammy lives in California, works full time for the IRS and does writing on the side. She is a baptized Christian and has a compassion for animals and children causes. View profile