There are a few things that nobody wants to tell you when you’re going through a divorce, but there are many things people will say…
You’ll feel one hundred pounds lighter when you let go.
You will feel like you never mattered to them, but don’t worry — joke’s on them, YOU were the one that left.
You will finally be able to be you again and feel free.
You are a courageous being for walking through your fear.
Here is what they don’t tell you.
Grief is not linear and the fact that you wanted to leave years before you did does not make you exempt from the experience of it. You are not recused of feeling the anguish of losing an entire life. A life that you once believed would be the answer to all of your self-doubt or your self-loathing. A life that you believed to be the missing clue on your quest for self-love. A life you had once begged for.
What they don’t tell you is that over time, you will begin to have tiny flashbacks. Moments here and there that suddenly remind you of something that you never even knew you were missing. That one night you will be taking care of your new lover, who isn’t feeling very well. As you turn down the bed sheets your mind will take you back to the bed in your old home. How every night when you returned home late from work, your sheets would be turned down waiting for you to crawl in.
That one day you will be in the middle of a conversation, and you’ll let out a one-liner that the two of you used to throw around… only there is no one there who understands it. Suddenly, somewhere within the awkward silence, you understand that there is a part of you missing. A piece that held inside jokes, and knowing glances, and understanding. So that now, when you instinctively make a comment, it hangs in the air just long enough for you to remember you no longer feel like a whole person anymore.
That sometimes you will just burst into tears. That you will be in the middle of cooking yourself dinner, and you will realize you are only cooking for yourself. You’ll realize that no one will ever open up the blender, stick their finger in the puree and let their eyes roll back in the delightful way they did. That nobody will ever recreate the exact moments with the exact feelings, and you realize you will have to go the rest of your life without ever feeling THAT contentment again.
And the grief of losing one family member to death, and another family member to life, will mix and mingle and you will feel paralyzed by it.
That one day, you will learn sad news about a loved one. You will learn that they are dying. And in the middle of your sorrow, the thought will come to mind to pick up the phone and call your ex after months and months of silence. They were there through the sorrow and the only one who knows you by heart. And the grief of losing one family member to death, and another family member to life, will mix and mingle and you will feel paralyzed by it.
You’ll wonder if your “I love you’s” of the past mean something less now because you’ve offered them to someone new.
That someday, sooner or later, you may fall in love with a beautiful human being again. And the first time you say “I love you,” as you sit on their back porch underneath the summer night’s moon, the words will rush out of your mouth. You will mean them with new a new passion, honesty, and fervor. And then later, as you walk back to your car alone… you will feel the weight of the decision you just made. You will know that these three words to someone new begin a new story, but also close an old one. You’ll wonder if your “I love you’s” of the past mean something less now because you’ve offered them to someone new. You’ll probably feel guilty like you just let your old self down. Like you just threw away something that at one point was the most important treasure you had ever held.
That in your new life… you will be better. You’ll love more honestly, you’ll be kinder. You will seek to understand more and let the small things go. You will make “love” a verb instead of a noun and perhaps even give instead of always asking to receive. Though, in the being better, you will begin to wonder if maybe you shouldn’t have pointed your finger so much. Maybe you could have loved better before. Maybe you could have loved this way in your marriage and that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t all of their fault.
That maybe, that horrible, awful, lying, self-centered ex of yours, taught you how to learn how to love yourself enough to walk away from them.
This is the part of divorce we like to keep hidden from ourselves as we march onward and upward into our new existence.
By Kristen Balles