Guest Post: Divorce Has Changed Me; Focusing on Self-Love
Today I present you with a powerful guest post from an anonymous friend. I love this post because I know exactly how she feels, and I know the struggle (all too well...) to love myself before looking for love in others.
Divorce has changed me. I remember thinking that meeting my soulmate would end all of my troubles; that love was the answer to my everything. I walked down the aisle in my white dress filled with hopeful dreams stuffed underneath the many layers of lace and fabric. Together we made a life for ourselves. We bought a house in the suburbs and spent our weekends shopping at Home Depot. My life was perfect for a brief moment.
Each day I watched my marriage fall apart, and I found myself fading away with it. I spent my time sitting on the couch, waiting for my spouse to come home. I became so overly obsessed with the relationship that I forgot about myself. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know who I was, because I was married and my dreams had finally come true. Denial is the best medicine - until it stops working.
When the veil was lifted from our make-believe bubble of marital bliss, I was left with nothing but a shadow of who I was before. Actually, who am I kidding - I don’t think I ever really knew who I was.
I’m not a stranger to heartbreak. I’ve had a string of relationships, one right after the other, that have always left me in pieces. Fall in love. Obsess over significant other. Break up. Rebuild. Repeat. This has happened to me a million times before, and yet something was different about this one. I wish I could say that it was because I didn’t see it coming, but I always see it coming. Instead of accepting the inevitable, I am always left trying to grasp onto the very last threads of life in the relationship. If I held on tight enough, then surely they will see how great of a person I am, right?
Perhaps the difference between this one and the others is that we made it legal. Our relationship was legit, because we signed on the dotted line. That meant something. Our love was bound by the law.
It didn’t mean spit. It just meant that I couldn’t cut ties right away. We had to work together in sorting out the bills and selling the house. I don’t know what I would have done if we had made it to my next big plan of having a baby.
My dream come true turned into a nightmare, which left me broken. I didn’t think I’d ever get back up from it. I made it to my ultimate destination and ended up crashing and burning down to the ground. I tried to do what I have always done after a breakup. I bounced back to get revenge. I cut my hair and started going to the gym. I got on dating sites even before the divorce was final. I wanted to move on to the next relationship.
I learned more about myself, like the fact that I have ADHD, among other things. I started seeing someone immediately. I wanted another do-over, only this time I didn’t. I noticed that I’d stop myself, whenever I’d begin to obsess over my new beau. I no longer wanted to spend my entire time with them. I spent my time allowing myself to feel the grieving period of losing my ex. I was open with my partner and made sure they knew that I had to go slow. I continued with therapy. I’m still in therapy.
The truth is that I don’t want another do-over with someone. I want to be able to say that I am happy with who I am before anything else. I don’t want someone in order to be happy. I want to just be happy. It’s sad that it took me 34 years to finally figure this out. Instead of saying yes to someone else, I finally am learning to say yes to me. To finally take a chance. I am giving myself the comfort and love that I never felt from someone else. I turned the obsession from my significant others inward and started really building myself up.
There have been some setbacks with the transition of my new sense of self. I’m scared of falling back into that super romantic obsessive phase, and have been keeping my distance with my new partner. I do tell them when the sudden fear of commitment erupts and I want to run. They’re super sweet and supportive, and have been a great partner and friend throughout this whole process. We are taking things slow - which is totally normal, according to my therapist.
On the bright side, I’m going places by myself and enjoy spending time at home with my dog. I am enjoying exploring my inner nerd by reading comics and playing Sims 4. Things that I have always hidden away, in fear of my partners’ disapproval. I’m beginning to care more about myself, and less about what others think of me.
It’s not always easy to keep up with this new way of living. I get distracted and sometimes I get frustrated with myself, because I think that I’m regressing back to the way I was before. I have bursts of anger over things like my failed marriage, for not meeting a deadline, and forgetting my lunch on the counter. I’m super hard on myself, which has always been a problem for me. I’ve always felt like I was never good enough for anyone - hence why I’ve had so many failed relationships. This is still a work in process.
Divorce has changed me in ways that I can’t explain. If someone were to ask me if I’d do it again, I’d probably say yes. I loved my ex with every fiber of my being and a part of me will always love them. Love was never the issue. The issue was not giving that love to myself. I’m aware of that now. I’m not sure if I’ll get married again. I probably will, because I believe in love. I’m a hopeless romantic. I know that it won’t be anytime soon. I owe myself a long, overdue pampering session filled with self-love and comfort. I owe myself the kindness that I’ve been giving so many others in hopes to get it back in return. I’m hoping this time, I can finally break the cycle of self-destruction and focus on self-love.