suddenlysinglewomen

Surviving the unwanted divorce

Shame Game – –

Shame?  I never really thought too much about it until recently.  For some reason I always attributed the “shame” of my divorce to my ex.  After all he was the one who had the affairs, he was the one who wanted the divorce and filed the paper work.  He was the one who moved out, ending thirty plus years of a relationship.  He was the one with the shame. I didn’t think I carried any.

Several years ago I attended a wedding where both the parents of the bride and the groom had been married forty plus years.  It was mentioned during the wedding ceremony and after the feeling of joy and amazement washed over me, I felt strange.  There was an emptiness in my heart I had then attributed to being alone, divorced, unhappy.  Now I realize that what I was feeling was shame.  I carried shame that when my children got married no one would be able to say that about me.

I held shame that I had somehow let down my sons in showing them what a good marriage could and should be.  I held shame that my friends were all happily married, looking forward to retiring someday and just being with “each other” and I couldn’t keep my husband from straying.  I held shame that I was not attractive enough, smart enough, thin enough, witty enough to keep my man.  I felt shame that I couldn’t seem to fall in love with the game of golf that was so important to him and his friends and their wives.

There was shame in being the first person in my family to fall victim to divorce.  Everyone else had held it together throughout the good times and the bad, why couldn’t I?  Carrying around shame is like a noose around your neck.  Now that I’ve identified it, I’m going to get rid of it.  We all make mistakes and no marriage is perfect and even if there were things you wish you could have done differently that’s all in the past.  It’s not easy, we’re not born with guilt but we sure pick it up quickly there after.

So today I’m going to start dumping the shame, I did the best that I could with the circumstances that life dealt me.  I will start to become proud of who I am, the things I stand for and the places I have yet to go.  Don’t play the “Shame Game” – keep walking forward in your new life and enjoy the journey of new opportunities.

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Girlfriends –

I was looking through my stash of cards today, getting ready to write a thank you note to a great friend for a contribution she had made in my honor to one of the charities we share a passion for.  I found a card I had purchased, just waiting for the right person to send it to.  This was that right person.  The sentiments written on the card are all about the importance of girlfriends, those wonderful women who are always there for you no matter what.  Hereinafter referred to as the “GF’s”!!  Since I give FULL credit to the Blue Mountain Arts Card company, I hope that by sharing some of the things written 1) will not get me in trouble, I did pay for the card and 2) I can pass along the wonderful thoughts shared in that card.

Girlfriends –

It’s girlfriends like you who help keep me sane . . . .

Girlfriends are all ears when we need them to listen.  They lend us a hand if we need their help.  They’re generous, and they’ll give us the shirts off their backs if they know we want them.  (well, probably not if they’re a designer label, but you get the drift . . .)  They’re fun to hang out with, talk silly about nothing with, shop with and cheat on our diets with.

They understand our feelings and show us acceptance and perspective.  They acknowledge our efforts when we’re trying hard.  They help relieve the pressure of everyday life just by always being there.

What would we do without our girlfriends to complain to and act so crazy with?  They’re sensitive to our moods, and they stand by us when we need them to.  They lend us their shoulders to cry on.  They laugh with us when life’s not all that funny and we get caught in some mess.  They lift us and encourage us and support us.  They’re our refuge in this unfriendly world, our buddies to walk with through the storms.  I’m so glad to have a girlfriend like you.

Do you have a GF you feel that way about??  Have you told her lately how wonderful it is to have her in your life??  Men seem to come and go, love you and leave you sometimes but the real gal pals – they’re the best.  Here’s a big shout out to all the gal pals in the world – thanks for hanging in there with me!!

 

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It takes a Village –

You know, I have to admit that when I heard that years ago from Hillary Clinton in reference to raising her daughter I was skeptical.  I probably didn’t really understand it the way she meant it.  I felt like I had raised my children, no baby nurses, no nannies, pretty much just me until I figured out the glory of a “Mother’s Day Out” when the first son hit three!!  Even then that was for about four hours and I spent it running errands and getting household things done, certainly nothing personal or just for myself.  I didn’t realize I needed a village.

Fast forward to my life now and I think I’m finally coming around.  You cannot live in a cocoon, and coming out of a divorce puts you in a place of needing to reach out and find yourself a village!  I heard a great line in my Divorce Recovery Series that I’ve been attending and I wanted to share it with you.  It’s not my line, I didn’t originate it but I am going to share it.   Healing Happens in Community

We’ve all experienced the loneliness that comes after leaving a marriage, a partnership, a relationship where you are a couple.  You are now alone.  You are on your own.  There is only one person squeezing that tube of toothpaste now.  You are now making your way in the world without a mate to help you through it and it stinks.  Forget thoughts of dating for a while.  I gave myself a full year before I even considered whether I wanted to let another man into my life.  However life does not happen in a vacuum.  You need people.  You cannot and should not do this alone.

You need a community, you need a village.  It’s OK being a single, but do not live singly.  If you still have children at home then you have a family community but what I’m talking about here is other adult friendships.  We are social beings and we need connections to others.  You can find these in the work place.  You can find these in social clubs, volunteer opportunities, your local church or synagogue.  You have to look but your new community is out there.  Reach out and let people know that you are available to have lunch, dinner, happy hour, go to a movie, go to the dog park.  You need to connect to others.  Join a singles group (don’t expect too much, lol!) but open up your heart to let others into your world. Find a group to be a part of because you are a valuable person and still have so much to give, and life to live.

If you have a community to share, let us hear from you.  Thank you for being part of my community!

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Hitting the Wall –

Hitting the wall.  When I hear that phrase I think of Marathon runners.  I’ve never run one, don’t intend to.  My take on running is that only creatures with four legs were put on this earth to run thank you very much!  But I know people who have run Marathons and my ex ran a Marathon once.  As a matter of fact, that was back when one of those first indicators of infidelity popped up that completely went over my head and I missed it.  You know what they say about hind sight being 20 – 20.  But that’s for another story.  Marathon runners are said to “hit the wall” around my 22 or so of the 26+ miles they run.  Divorce recovery is a lot like that.  The end is in sight yet so far away . . . . .

When you’re recovering from a divorce, it’s one of the biggest life changes you will ever go through.  Nothing as you knew it or lived it will ever be the same again.  We are creatures of habit, we love things that are familiar.  Familiar gives up comfort.  Trying to break away from all that familiarity is a very hard task.  I like to think of it as leaving your “comfort zone”.  There’s nothing wrong with a comfort zone.  Life after divorce however is going to force you out of your comfort zone.

Whatever patterns of behavior and patterns of life you had before just got blown up.  And do you know what happens when you refuse to break those old patterns in your life??  You will hit a wall.  You refuse to make changes and continue to try to live life as you had before is just like butting your head against the wall over and over and over again.  Guess what??  That wall isn’t going to move and it’s not going to crumble upon impact.  It’s just going to give you a really big headache.

Hard?? Yes!!  Impossible??  No!!  I know, I’ve hit it multiple times.  I’m stubborn, I keep trying to live my life as I did before and it’s not working.  When that wall won’t move, it’s time to make changes.  Assess yourself and your life and what you can do to scale that wall.  Is it moving to a different town?  Maybe.  Is it changing your group of friends and surrounding yourself with those people who live like you live and believe in the same moral and ethical values as you?  Absolutely.  Is it putting up boundaries and learning to respect yourself as a valuable and important human being?  Yes, please!   Create a new life for yourself that gives you new options and keeps you away from repeatedly running into that wall.

Find a ladder, it’s going to be great on the other side!!  Believing that gets me through each and every day!

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Finding yourself again –

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vicki-larson/why-do-women-lose-themsel_b_1402680.html?icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl8%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D150419

A dear friend sent me this link to an article concerning “losing ourselves” in our relationships with men.  It does seem to happen, has for generations.  Sometimes on the “other side” of marriage we manage to recoup that which we had given “away” or given “up” when we married.  It’s true, we can lose ourselves totally and forget the things that we believed in, that we were passionate about, that meant the world to us.

I share the post here with you to provoke thoughts of what you lost, and what you now have the freedom to get back.  It’s a struggle but maybe, just maybe it’s also an opportunity.  I’m reminded of a poster I once had hung up in my classroom. I know you’ve heard it!  “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  I’ll be making some lemonade today!!

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The Rear View Mirror –

In cars and trucks?  A purposeful thing!  You have to see all around yourself when you’re driving.  You’re looking for a clear lane ahead, you’re making sure the vehicle beside you isn’t changing lanes into you.  Looking in the rear view mirror also helps you anticipate when you can make a lane change, or move out of the way of the car racing up behind you or the emergency vehicle that needs to get by you.

In life after divorce?  Only up to a certain point.

Another line in a great song (I’ll refer a lot to song since it’s such an important thing in my life) refers to a rearview mirror and the singer says “I ain’t never looking’ back, and that’s a fact!”  I believe all of us spend a great deal of time looking back when first separated and / or getting a divorce.  We beat ourselves up with the “what if’s”.  We wonder what we could have done differently to have not landed ourselves in this situation.  We blame ourselves for not being smart enough, attractive enough, thin enough, funny enough, sexy enough – the list goes on.  What did you think you’d done wrong?  What did you think you should have done differently to make your marriage last?

In the Divorce Recovery Series that I’m currently attending (www.trinitycounselingandconsulting.com and http://www.gayegjones.wordpress.com), we’re learning how to live meaningfully and wholly in the moment.  At no time is that more important than when you start doubting yourself for the things you think you did wrong in the past.  Sometimes things just happen and nothing you did, or might have done differently could have changed or prevented what happened.  Don’t get me wrong, none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes.  However, constantly looking in the rear view mirror will certainly have you crashing head first before too long.

I wish I had answers for all of us on how to make this easier, more palatable with a speedy recovery – but I don’t.  What I can tell you is that looking forward, looking ahead, making a plan and smart choices about your life NOW is going to get you through this.  There is no set recovery date, but you are moving toward it.  One step at a time, one day at a time.  You can’t change the past in that rear view mirror, but you certainly can choose how to move forward.  Let this be the day.  As they say in the NIKE commercials – just do it!

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This has to be under the category of “Seriously?”

A friend sent me this link today, (thanks JK) sorta “tongue in cheek” and I just couldn’t resist sharing it here.  What will they think of next?  I suppose if you really need to do something to express yourself post divorce, this could fill the bill.  I’m not saying this is good or bad, just food for thought . . . .

http://shine.yahoo.com/photos/divorce-rings-depressing-jewelry-trend-1333398529-slideshow/bouquet-divorce-ring-photo-1333398432.html

So what did you do with your ring/diamond??

 

 

 

 

 

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Life by remote control –

One of the things I’ve come to enjoy “post” divorce is my control over the remote control.  Don’t know about you, but what was playing, where it was playing and why it was playing on the TV was never in my control.  Why is that??  I have an opinion, it just was never asked for.  I had no control over the control.

Now it’s all mine.   Only problem with that now is that I have to remember to have a pair of glasses close by so that I can see the buttons.  He could do it by memory, I have to hunt and peck and make sure I hit the button I’m really wanting to hit.  Heaven help me being able to figure out how to undo what I’ve done if I hit the wrong button.  There is no ooops button on there.  But as I sat contemplating these buttons I realized how much my life has become like my remote control, yet not in a way I feel like I am able to control.  Clear as mud?

There’s the “on” button and the “off” button.  Hopefully you want your life to be “on” because the alternative just doesn’t work so let’s agree that we all want to be “on”.  How about the “mute”?  There are times that I want to put all those people around me who think they know how I should live my life on “mute” – enough already.  Did I ask for your advice?  If I did, then fine, bring it on but please quit acting like you know what’s best for me all the time.  Some times you just don’t know all that’s going on, I have all the info, you don’t so please save your advice until I really ask for it!

“Fast forward” – yep, I’d really like to hit that button some days.  I’m one of those people who likes to know what’s ahead of me, that way I can plan for it.  If I’m going to have a bad day, I want to prepare for it, soften the blow, gird the loins.  I know I can’t change it, but I want to be ready.  How about the “back up, reverse” button?  Absolutely.  There are so many “do overs” out there that I’d like a chance to fix.  Things I would do differently.  I would have enjoyed more of those little league games and carpool lines because that would mean my boys would still be here at home with me to enjoy.

I wouldn’t have believed my “ex” that he would “never cheat again” and I would not have held all that pain inside, not sharing it with anyone, especially my family.  I wouldn’t have stayed through the second affair and into the third, I would have had more respect for myself and started my new life earlier.  Yep – the reverse button could have saved some of the pain.  Then there’s the “menu” button, I’d like to be able to have a menu of selections so that I had some choices during the marriage, then later during the divorce process and the life after.  Choices are good, choices make you think, choices are realizing you have/had options.

How about the “guide” button?  For sure, wouldn’t we all like to have a guide?  A guide to happiness, a guide to good health, a guide to being a good spouse, a good parent, a good friend?  It would be nice to have a guide to living a fulfilled life, to making a difference and doing the right thing when decisions need to be made.  Along with the guide button would also be the “info” button because we can make really good decisions about our life when we have all the info.  If I had the info then that I had now, would I even have married that person?

Divorce is all about the “exit” button, you have exited a marriage.  You have exited a way of life, you have exited what you thought was stable and enduring and happily ever after.  My spouse took the exit because he just had no interest in trying to make 30 years stand for anything.  Door closed.  Last but not least is the “select” button.  Today this is the most important button for me because I get to select everything.  I get to select how to live my life, where to live my life and with whom – if anyone ever – to live my life.  I select how to act, how to dress, what to eat, where to go, who to spend time with and the best????  I get to select my favorite channel on my remote control, but only if I want the TV on.  Select to be the best you can be every day and don’t forget to keep spare batteries on hand!!

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