Some of us chose to leave. Some of us the decision is made for us. But when your relationship breaks down some pretty strong emotions come out of nowhere.
I’m a pretty confident woman. I’ve never doubted my abilities in life to get ahead, to be loved, to create the life I wanted.
Until January 2017.
After nearly 20 years I found myself in a situation where lies crowded my thinking. 3 months I fought these inner demons, losing 30 pounds and coming to terms with my new life. It seemed like a long, black tunnel that wouldn’t end. I remember my kids saying something funny in the car and I couldn’t laugh. I thought I’d never laugh again.
And then I remembered who I was. I remembered who I loved and who loved me. And that one person’s poor judgement does not mean an end to my amazing life… In fact, could it mean a new beginning? Freedom?
If you are going through the pit of hell, the aftermath of divorce, I want you to know so much of what you are thinking is lies. And you won’t believe me straight away. You’ll say your situation is different, or special, but I’m here to tell you – Don’t believe the lies.
It’s my fault
When your partner has an affair, it’s easy to think maybe I wasn’t pretty enough, maybe I didn’t give enough sex, maybe, maybe, maybe. I love this article by MommyTravels on Surviving Infidelity: “I even thought that somehow I could be better. But I am going to tell you the truth about being married to someone who goes out seeking another person. It’s not you, it’s them. They have a problem and you cannot fix it for them.”
Perhaps it wasn’t an affair, perhaps something else caused your divorce. It takes two to tango. And while you can attribute some of the reason for the breakdown of your marriage, do not carry the full burden of being the one to blame.
In Australia, we have no blame divorce proceedings. Ultimately the law decided it didn’t matter. All that mattered was moving two individuals along in their new lives. Some relationships will never be mended and this is a sad and unpleasant situation, but taking a leaf out of the Aussie lawbooks and not playing the blame game will certainly help you move forward faster and lessen the resentment you carry into your future.
Bitterness is a poison in anyone’s body. Lay aside any feelings you have of blame or guilt, decide you are not a victim and move forward. What’s in the past can still hurt, but ultimately you have 2 decisions: to run from it or learn from it.
I will never get to wear jewellery again
“How superficial,” I thought to myself. But as I took off 20 years of jewellery it was one of my most prominent thoughts. 15 years wearing a wedding ring, bracelets from early dating years, a brand-new gold bracelet I had got the month before for my birthday, earrings from a special anniversary – they all came off. And as I stripped away more than half my life’s worth of jewellery the lie came with it, “You won’t ever wear jewellery again.”
Oh yes, you will. Here are 3 reasons how –
Buy your own jewellery. It’s an amazing feeling. These personalised pieces I got from Joyali are my favourite. They have the names Erin, Mia & Caius on them, my family.
Repurpose your old jewellery. Melt it down, make something new and beautiful from the ashes of that awful ending.
Receive new jewellery. I asked my family for jewellery for my birthday. And my new partner has spoiled me with Pandora bracelets and rings that my hands and wrists are full and beautiful.
I don’t miss my old stuff. In fact, I value my new stuff even more.
I will never get flowers again
The same silly lie as above. My birthday was in December, I got a big bunch of flowers and all of a sudden in January he’s waving goodbye as he leaves to travel the world without all the baggage AKA the kids and me.
Then my sister got me flowers, and my Dad, and my new love. And suddenly the lie seemed ridiculous.
Do you know what I also did with this lie? I bought flowers. For my mum, for my daughter, for myself. Giving is a great way for a “getting” lie to be made redundant.
I don’t need contraception
I sat nervously in the doctor’s office waiting for my appointment. When she finally asked what I was after, I told her I wanted my Mirena removed.
“Why?” She asked me.
“Because I got divorced and won’t ever be having sex again.”
She laughed gently and told me to think about it. “Love,” she said in her English accent, “you will probably have more sex. Come see me again in another month if you still feel the same.”
A year later I had my pap smear check-up and thanked her for convincing me not to get rid of my Mirena. She laughed and said, “Good for you.”
Don’t make any rash decisions in the first 6 months of your relationship loss. The world keeps going and who knows who is waiting around the bend.
I’m so old
I was 36 when I got divorced. I felt old. I had been in a relationship since I was 16 years old, so I guess it was the 20 years that made me feel old.
When I climbed out of my protective shell and took a look at what was happening around me, I realised half the people my age hadn’t even been married yet!
I wasn’t old. I was in the best years of my life. How exciting! And better yet, I looked better than I ever did in those previous years. 😉
I’ve been robbed
These lies came crowding in like a machine gun sending bullets, one after the other. Some were silly, some were serious, but all were not the end of the world. For example –
“I’ll never be able to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary.” But I do get to celebrate first again, yay!
“I’ll not be able to have a third child.” Ha-ha, who says? If you want another baby you can. I’m so in love with my two that I have not felt the need to rectify this. Plus, you never know who might make their way into your life.
It was just a notion that I thought he robbed from me. Before I realised only I have the power to feel robbed. And I am not going to let anyone else have that power.
I’ll never love again
You will and it will be so wonderful. First kisses, first dates, first butterflies. I have never dated and this period of my life is so exciting, I feel young again! Especially when I found this one.
And you know what? If you don’t find a mate straight away, it’s ok. Find love for yourself. Find love for your kids. Give love to those around you that you couldn’t before. Because when you give love, you receive love… In all forms.
I can’t raise kids alone
You are not alone. Seek out your village. Whether it’s friends or family, you are never alone. There are people that will help raise your kids. And you will do an amazing job.
I will never be able to thank my parents for the way they stepped up and completed my kid’s lives. My father has been a wonderful father and role model for my kids.
This ties in with the lie that you won’t have enough money. Things may change, but you will find a way. That’s what us mums do. We make it work. You will be able to provide for your kids. And if you need help, ask. The father of my children refuses to make any contribution to their lives financially or emotionally. That’s a big burden that often left me feeling inadequate, especially when the only way I made money was stolen from me. Living with my parents the last 2 years has been the biggest blessing on my finances, on my love life, on my kids.
Don’t be afraid to seek help. With their help, I was able to start Explore With Erin and grow it quickly into my full-time income again. Something I was told I’d never be able to do…
I am… what they said
Your relationship may have left sour with all kinds of accusations being thrown around. Sometimes it’s hard to wade through these as lies or truths. Having a psychologist is a great way to talk about all these allegations. Straight away I started seeing someone because before the end my previous partner told me I was all sorts of things.
You’ll never be able to be successful. LIE.
When I lost my first blog I was told “Good luck, you’ll never be able to do anything without me.” LIE. Not only did I easily hire a web designer, I started Explore With Erin and made more money on it in its first year than my previous blog made in its 3rd year. You are more than capable of being successful.
You are mentally ill: bi-polar, or something. LIE.
Actually, I was diagnosed with very good mental health. Because I was concerned about my mental well -being I sort help and received validation.
Do not be afraid to seek help during this rough time. Depression is a serious mental illness and not something to be ashamed of. Don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed of seeking healing.
You are not coping and a danger to your children. LIE.
My Psychologist was impressed with how quickly I recovered and nurtured my children. You can cope. You are still their mother.
You are abusive. LIE.
Having been assaulted on the porch of my own house it’s clear to see that often the lies told to us reveal a lot about who the other person is. It’s called projection or gaslighting.
If your previous partner has not seen a psychologist, while you have. If they continually support their own lies with “any reasonable person knows”, but they are the only one to whom they are referring to then consider what they are telling you to be untrue. Don’t be afraid to ask those who love you, your family, your best friend. Let them help you sort out what you can change and what are downright lies made to make the other person feel good about their bad choices.
I am not enough
You are enough.
Who you are is enough.
What you do is enough.
What you have is enough.
I encourage you to change you’re thinking and start each day with, “I am enough.”
It may seem like the darkness will never lift, but you have to understand it will. The truth always comes out and it’s time for you to start living your truth. You are not a “divorced mum”. You are you. Daughter, Mother, Friend, You.
You have reached an end of a chapter, not the end of your book. So turn the page. Life awaits. And as the X-Files promises, ‘The Truth Is Out There’. Don’t believe these lies any more.
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