Category Archives: there is life after divorce

Settling In

It didn’t really hit me that I was on my own again and starting over until I moved from a 4 bd, 2 ba home into a 2 bd, 1 ba apartment. The dogs had to get used to being in a smaller place. I had to somehow cram all my junk into a much smaller space. But once I sorted through my stuff, got rid of what I didn’t want (mostly stuff I had with ex), and got used to the idea of being in a smaller space, I was fine.

I enjoyed being on my own – having the things I wanted to have (like dishes and furniture), being able to stay up late, have dinner with friends, and entertain people in my humble abode. Yes, my apartment was small compared to the homes I had lived in, but it was my apartment. It was a new beginning for me.

The first time I really felt settled in was when the dogs and I sat in my big “napping chair” (an estate sale bargain!) and just listened to the peace and quiet. When I first moved into the apartment, I had the furniture from my home with ex – it had become ratty due to dogs chewing on it. I got rid of that and finally got something I wanted. Granted, it was smaller and not brand new, but it was something that did not remind me of ex. My loveseat, napping chair and two (not matching) wingback chairs were estate sale finds. They were cheap enough that I could decorate my home the way I wanted to and not go into debt to do so. Somehow, all the pieces complemented one another.

Once I got beyond the anger and bitterness and began to heal, I began to settle in to my new life. It was scary at times and I would get irritated that I did not have enough money for what I wanted –  travel, new clothes, etc. – but I learned to be content with what I had. I was happy to finally be getting on with my life.

I have lived with Cycle Dude now for almost a year. When I moved in with him last March, I had to get rid of a lot more stuff. I still have the napping chair and the loveseat – they are now his living room furniture – and I also have my bedroom suite (it was my mom and dad’s and is over 50 years old). Cycle Dude has allowed me to settle into his home and make parts of it my own (like my bedroom). We are settled in together now.

Life does move on after a divorce – it has to. One cannot stay in that place of anger, bitterness, depression and sadness for very long. Once the dust has settled, one needs to take a deep breath, assess one’s assets and surroundings and move forward. You will eventually come to a place that feels better and you will discover the new normal for your life. You will come to that place of being comfortable and settled in. Life will once again make sense. Just don’t expect your life to be as it was. Expect it to be better! Stay tuned. . . .



Tell Your Heart to Beat Again*

It’s easy for me to feel happy and contented seven years post-divorce. I wasn’t always happy and contented after my divorce. The first few months, even years, after my divorce, I was still angry and bitter. It took a long time to get over that. I eventually went to see a counselor for PTSD. Yes, women who have been through a divorce do experience PTSD, especially if there was any kind of abuse involved, no matter how subtle.

Even though Cycle Dude and I started dating not long after my divorce, I was still angry and bitter, though I made sure not to take it out on Cycle Dude. I worked diligently to get past the anger and bitterness in order to have a good relationship with him. He was so patient with me. I cannot express how much that meant to me.

I was listening to my Pandora Praise and Worship station this morning when the song, “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Gokey started to play. The first verse and chorus are this:

You’re shattered Like you’ve never been before The life you knew In a thousand pieces on the floor And words fall short in times like these When this world drives you to your knees You think you’re never gonna get back To the you that used to be

Tell your heart to beat again Close your eyes and breathe it in Let the shadows fall away Step into the light of grace Yesterday’s a closing door You don’t live there anymore Say goodbye to where you’ve been And tell your heart to beat again (*Songwriters: Matthew West, Bernie Herms, Randy Phillips – performed by Danny Gokey).

The phrase, “Yesterday’s a closing door, you don’t live there anymore; say goodbye to where you’ve been. . .” spoke volumes to me. I don’t want to be the me I used to be. I am not the same person I was when I got divorced. I don’t live with that anger and bitterness anymore. Yesterday is long past. My heart can beat again. I no longer feel that ache in the pit of my stomach. I no longer cry myself to sleep. God has used Cycle Dude and his unconditional love, two friends and their incredible wisdom and His Word to heal my heart.

Let the healing balm of the love of Christ wash over you this holiday season. Take some time to sit in the silence of your living room and listen – to the quiet, to the voice of God, to your own heartbeat. Healing will come and your heart will beat again. Stay tuned. . .


Beginning With Joy

Prior to my recent move, I asked a friend of mine to text me the questions one uses when sorting through stuff. One of the questions was, “Does it (the object) bring you joy?” If not, toss it or give it away. The thing is, so much of my stuff has to do with my children and they definitely bring me joy! Cycle Dude has given me until May 1 to sort through all my stuff. How do I condense all that joy?

Webster’s Dictionary defines joy as: “The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires; delight; bliss.”

I must admit that joy was the furthest thing from my mind when I was going through my divorce. If you could have seen my emotions during that time, they were a swirl of nasty, acidic, putrid muck – rather akin to nuclear waste. Emotionally, I was a prime candidate for a Superfund cleanup site. Yuck, yuck and more yuck.

Yet, I had people around me who encouraged me to remember joy – my children, my best friends, Cycle Dude, my dogs. Moments of joy during my divorce were fleeting, but they were there. When I finally emerged from my toxic cocoon, almost five years later, I saw there were people waiting there for me – people who loved me and had my best interests at heart. It was not hard to feel joy, and gratitude, at their presence. My healing journey had taken on a whole new feel, beginning with joy.

Dear one, if you are at the point in your healing journey where you feel like toxic sludge, you are not alone. I encourage you to look for moments of joy – in God’s creation around you, in the laughter of your children, in the hug of a friend, in the taste of a delightful piece of chocolate! Your joy may come in bits and pieces right now, but soon, those bits and pieces will grow larger and larger. Joy is part of the healing journey. Stay tuned. . . .



Divorce and Love

(Let me begin this post by saying it’s not about what you think it’s about.)

When I was younger, we often spent time at my Grandmother’s house in Chicago, IL. In fact, when my family returned from three months in Brazil, we lived with my mom’s parents in Chicago for about 6 months. I remember my Grandmother doing her laundry in the basement every Saturday. Even though my uncle had bought her a washer and dryer, she insisted on doing laundry the old-fashioned way – drum washer and wringer, line dry. The basement was always steamy and smelled of bleach. I was fascinated by the wringer and how flat and nearly dry the clothes were when they came out of the wringer. Grandma would then take the clothes and hang them on the line in her backyard. In the winter, she’d hang the clothes on lines stretched across her basement.

Let’s go back to the wringer for a moment. After being beat up in the drum washer, the clothes were put through the wringer. Divorce is like that – you feel as if you’ve been beaten up and put through the wringer. You may even feel as if you’ve been put out to dry on a line in someone’s backyard – exposed and wind-whipped. You committed your life to someone you professed to love and now all that has come crashing down.

We just celebrated Valentine’s Day, or, as many unattached folks refer to it, Singles Awareness Day. The day was all about love, flowers, chocolate, gifts, and love. If you are not in a relationship, did you take the time to love yourself? What??!! Love myself??

After being put through the wringer of a divorce, we need to take the time to love ourselves. Allow yourself to feel the emotions of loss, take time to be silent and reflect on your experience, seek out professional help if you need it, give yourself grace, and be selfish. Yes, be selfish – with your time, money, etc. Give yourself time to heal – don’t jump back into a relationship, say “No” to requested commitments, don’t extend yourself or your money until you are more stable, seek out help to get your financial house in order. Allow yourself time for recovery. You alone know how long it will take you to heal from your divorce. You will know when you’re ready to jump back into life.

As we reflect on the loves in our lives, let us add ourselves to the mix. Learn to love that lady who looks back at you from your mirror. Let her know she is special and powerful. Giver her the grace to move forward. Stay tuned . . .

Learning to Love Again

Getting divorced is like falling off a horse or falling off a bike or anything else that could happen that would make you not want to try that thing again. You gave your heart once, it got blown to smithereens and you really don’t want to do that again. Any divorce counselor will tell you that it is unwise to jump right back into a relationship after getting divorced. (I can’t say I followed that advice.)

The rejection we feel from divorce can be brutal, especially if ex is the one who initiated the divorce. Rejection can leave us feeling unloved, unlovable, vulnerable, angry and bitter. We ask ourselves if we will ever be loved again? Are we even lovable? The first thing we need to do after a divorce is forgive ourselves and learn to love who we are again. I did not like the person I had become during my marriage. I had to find out who I was. I had to get to know me all over again because it had been a long time since I spent time with the childless, unmarried me. What was I going to do?

I discovered that as I got rid of the anger and bitterness from my marriage, I became a softer person – I rarely got angry, I was more compassionate and I slept better at night. I also discovered that I was lovable.

As my divorce wound down to finality, I met Cycle Dude. At first, I liked him because he was not ex. But then, I fell in love with him for who he is, not who he isn’t. When we first began dating, he said he wasn’t sure anyone would be interested in him again. He had lost his wife to a grueling battle with brain cancer. He had children who were still in college. I think he felt a bit deflated after losing his wife.

I saw things in him that were amazing! I told him how wonderful I thought he was – and I still tell him that. Cycle Dude and I have been together for over five years. I think we both had to get back on the horse again and not be afraid to fall off. It takes a while to learn to trust again once you’ve been hurt. It takes a while to see yourself as desirable when all you’ve known is one person. Cycle Dude and I give each other time and space. One of these days, we’ll make it permanent, but until then, we are enjoying sharing our lives with each other, our children, families and friends.

Don’t be afraid to venture forth and learn to love again. Begin by learning to love yourself first. Give yourself time, space and grace. Trust your gut. Stay tuned . . . .

I Am Not A Statistic!

I am finding more and more resources on the internet to help me walk through these post divorce years. This piece comes from “Since My Divorce”:

We’ve all read the divorce-related study with depressing headlines like:

– married men are happier than divorced men
– children from divorced families are more likely to live in poverty
– male children of divorce are more likely to be involved in violent accidents

There’s no denying that these are frightening and depressing statistics but they’re not a reason for you to stay married. For starters, these stats are based on historical studies. They are not intended to be predictive.

Another reason is that the people who participated in the studies are not YOU. Think about your own situation.

Think about all the variables in your situation: your age, your education, your culture, your faith, your upbringing, your health, your personality. Now think about all the variables associated with your STBX and your children. How many people do you think there are in exactly the same situation? Not many. That means your situation is likely very different from any study participant.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying these divorce-related studies are a waste. They’re not. They’re helpful in identifying trends and in learning how we can improve our handling of divorce as a society. They can help us avoid unintended consequences of new laws … but, they are not a reason to see yourself as a statistic.

The most important the reason these statistics don’t apply to you is YOU.

You control the choices you make for yourself and your children and that means you don’t have to accept these research findings as your destiny.

When I first got divorced, I was depressed by the statistics I read, especially when I realized I was now one of those statistics. However, as I look at my life, I realize I am NOT one of those statistics. I have three children who are happily married to amazing people who have resolved to fight for their marriages. I have two sons who may look like their dad, but are not like him. They are strong like me. I have three children who realize that part of who they are today was shaped by the rough time their dad and I went through. I have an incredible boyfriend who is thoughtful, peaceful and kind. I have two dogs who always greet me with a full body wag. I have wonderful friends. No, I am NOT a statistic!! And neither are you!
When you resolve to let the past be the past, to look forward to each new day with happiness, and to take life one day at a time, you are not a statistic. Resolve today to walk forward in strength and live life long and happy!! Give yourself a big hug!! Stay tuned . . . .