Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Weird Stuff That Happens as a Divorcing Woman

I already posted on how you can help a friend who is divorcing.

But I have had some strange experiences since I announced I wanted to divorce and subsequently got one. Here are some examples:

  1. You seek out people who are divorcing or divorced. This is a lonely, painful process and all those happily married couple friends may or may not know what it feels like. If they were divorced before or their parents were divorced, they probably have more empathy. But you seek out anyone who will be there for you--who understands. This is the time you need support and, often, you can only get it from people who are going through, or have gone through, the same thing.
  2. You have to learn how to take care of yourself. Even if your ex-spouse didn't take care of you, sometimes just having them there allowed you to grab food from the kitchen, where you asked if they wanted something too. You have to re-learn what music/TV/etc. you actually like on your own and not the ones your ex-spouse and you compromised on. Now that they aren't there, you have to do it all. And, it can be really hard to remember who you are and what you like.
  3. You start thinking about your appearance. It doesn't matter if you had zero babies or 10. The little things you haven't had to think about in years since you were in a secure relationship, come to the surface. You notice how yellow your teeth are, the fat you didn't realize had caught up with you, the limpness of your hair, your pores, you name it. And now you feel you have to do something about it. 
  4. Other single people assume you know how to be a single person. Guess what? You're single again. Oh, it's been a long time since you were single? Years? Decades? Do you even remember what it's like? No? Exactly. When you are single, you meet single people. But, this is not a world you have been in for a long, long time. Suddenly other single people assume you know that single people talk about sex. A lot. Did your married friends talk about their sex life? Not really. The single people around you assume you know that being friends with lots of people of the opposite sex is normal. Did you make friends with the husbands of other wives you knew? Nope. Not a thing you really do when you are married. I mean, you are friendly, maybe even close, but when the rubber meets the road, it crosses boundaries to be too friendly with married or even single men when you are married.
  5. Which leads me to my least favorite, single and divorced men from all over start coming out of the woodwork to "make sure you are ok." These are usually men that you have known as a couple. Guys you and your former spouse were friendly with. You think, naively, that they are kindly reaching out. Or that since they are divorced, they are also seeing commiseration with someone going through something similar. But no. They aren't reaching out to check on you. They want to get with you. They probably always did, but didn't have a chance cuz you were married. But GUESS WHAT, MAN FRIENDS? That is NOT COOL. NOT cool. Not at all. If my husband had just died, would you immediately come over and start hitting on me? HELL no. At least, I hope not. Divorce is not much different. Whether it has been 6 days or 6 months, it's NOT ok to reconnect with a divorcing woman with an agenda of getting with her. She is recovering and she will decide to date when she is ready. She has grieving and mourning and becoming healthy to work on. Not to mention, if she has kids. Be a good friends with NO agenda and maybe you will have a chance, maybe not. Or, better yet be honest that you want to date her when she's ready and let her have a chance to tell you that you aren't her type. Then you can be her friend, without coercing her,or you can walk away. 
  6. You become more worldly, hardened, and street smart. I've always been a happy-go-lucky type person. I prefer to think the best of people. I want to maintain the illusion that world and life can be generally positive, even when shitty stuff happens. But, divorce is shitty. It is one of the shittiest things that has ever happened to me. It sent me to the darkest place I have ever known. For years before--misery and pain and heartbreak. After--the same. And, all the while, you still have to live your life. You have to get up in the morning, put one foot in front of the other, get the kids ready for school, take care of them, go to work, and somehow make ends meet. And all you want to do is crawl into a cave and stay there until the pain subsides. But you can't. And this hardens you. It toughens you up. It matures you. It destroys whatever illusions of happiness and peace and control you ever thought you had. And it's rough. But, you do become pretty darn strong from it. My goal now is to not let the hardness and toughness dictate my future. I want to continue to be open to positivity in the world.
  7. No matter how long you've been divorced, how many kids you have, how much money you have, or how powerful you are in your career, men will still hit on you when they find out you aren't married. At least now you are world-weary and hardened and you know how to say "BACK THE FUCK OFF" or at least, "thank you, but it's not ok to call me sweetheart." I have had people working for me--to whom I wrote checks--still call me sweetie and honey. Seriously? I am not your sweetie. I am not your honey. I am a woman, but a strong, capable one who demands respect. Respect me or get out. It is not ok. I don't know how men still get away with this crap.
  8. Other people who are divorcing or want to divorce seek you out. Or worse, say that your strength in your divorce inspired them to have the strength to get out of their marriage. This brings up all kind of mixed feelings. I am no divorce advocate and I hate that it happened to me. But, I'm glad I can support people, because it's lonely and shitty and we all need as much support as we can get. So, while I don't want to encourage it for anyone, I am happy to support a person who needs it. But I won't be taking sides or advocating divorce, that's for sure. Every one and every situation is different.

New experiences abound, but no matter what, divorce shocks your system. Men, chill the F out and leave your divorcing woman friend alone. And divorcing women? You are stronger than you think. You are going to get through this.