Happy Divorced Wedding Anniversary

It’s my wedding anniversary today.

I never really know how to feel on this day, the 12th January, post-divorce.

The first year I had a bit of a laugh about it with my ex. The second I forgot until three days later (standard anniversary behaviour, that). And on this one, the third, I feel quite thoughtful .

In a broad sense, Divorce has chewed me up and spat me out quite dramatically. My life now is totally different to the life I had three years ago, back when I had what I thought was ‘it all’, apart from the number one thing I was searching for: acceptance of myself, contentment in my life. I always smile at the fact that the wider world would must have viewed my life as lucky or blessed back in the day, back in the times of the big house in the country, the lovely husband, the beautiful children. Outwardly I had it all but inside there was nothing.

In comparison to that ‘having it all’ life I’m a nobody now. I live in a small terraced house in a concrete town but inside I feel privileged. I’m one of those lucky ones who has that spark inside, who knows how contentment and happiness feels. I have learned what makes me tick, what gives me pleasure, what makes me sad, what makes me happy. Where there was empty I feel feelings, the ups, the downs, the sideways. I’m incredibly lucky to be in my position and all the more because I am doing it while raising two brilliant children.

It’s not a life anyone would pick for themselves but right now it really works.

I’ve written a lot about the roller-coaster of divorce. It’s not how I imagine it to be: a sliding scale of sadness and grief that starts big and slowly tapers off. It’s much more complex than that, something about the human condition I guess, but at times I’ve found it very difficult to work through the different stages.

I started off by missing my ex-husband hugely. When you have someone in your life who knows you that well, almost better than you know yourself, when they disappear swiftly it is alway going to be tough. I very much went through a grieving process then, trying to find other people, other things to fill the gap that he left.

Then, a few months down the line, my rational head kicked in. I stopped missing him because I know we weren’t right for each other, but I still missed what we once had. In those early days when we were kids who didn’t have businesses or money or our own kids to worry about we had it good. Really really good. And I will always step into whatever’s next with that experience of real true love behind me, never accepting second best because I know how good it feels to come first.

Though we’re not for each other I truly do think my ex-husband is still pretty great: having an ex that I admire and respect so much kind of makes it difficult for whoever’s next… those are some big shoes to fill.

(Sidenote: maybe I should check he still holds me in such high esteem? I may be back to delete this sentence later ;)

Now I’m in a place where I don’t miss the relationship any more – there’s been enough water under that bridge and I have enough rational thought to know it’s completely over. I’m really happy to have moved past it, to know that I don’t have any ghosts lurking behind me. I sit across the dinner table from my ex and feel confident we have done the right thing by the both of us and our children: no regrets.

I’m currently in the stage of divorce that I think comes before final acceptance: the loneliness. In the absence of the company of a husband I fill my evenings with work, cleaning and Netflix, still feeling the vacancy of a man but slowly, slowly getting over it. I miss affection, familiarity, emotional support, company. I don’t like going to bed alone: it’s cold, figuratively and literally.

This will pass, I know, and I’m happy that I have a super clean house in the meantime.

Today I will feel happy at the memory of what I had, happy with what it left me and maybe just a teeny bit lonely. I will kiss my children off to school, mentally thank my ex-husband for making half of them and make sure I spend the day looking after myself.

And I shall think: where will I be 12 months from now? In the words of the late, the great David Bowie:

“I don’t know where I’m going from here but I promise it won’t be boring”

The photo above was from my trip to Thailand last year…  I don’t love pink that much. 

10 Comments
  1. A great post Alice and the Bowie quote sums it up perfectly.
    I am not quite at the stage where I think my ex is a pretty great guy and I don’t know whether I ever will be because he just isn’t a great guy. He did give me my son though and for that I am grateful. I was wondering whether my big house, fiancé etc was all life had to offer, now that I am separated, in a two bedroom flat with avocado skin coloured worktops (I bought my flat from an 86 year old lady and can’t afford to replace the kitchen yet) I know that there is so much more and I have a chance to have it. It’s a great feeling.

    Enjoy today.

    Pen
    X

    1. Thank you Pen! I’m off for a solo prosecco lunch soon to toast myself. And your avocado skin worktops! Sod dry January.

      I know how lucky I am with my ex-husband, I couldn’t ask for a better ex, really. Hoping he’d say the same about me ;) x

  2. Hello Alice – thanks as ever for your great post on the subject of post-divorce and all that. I resonate with you absolutely. I too have an ex-husband who I really respect (now deeply in love with a dutch greek lady who I like very much) and am happy that he is happy. I also appreciate the love that we had in our early days, pre-children. We really adored each other. It was that simple. And it is that atmosphere that I carry within me. That feeling of being with someone where things flow between each other. I am not naive, I know that humans are flawed and we fall out, misunderstand each other, argue. However, I also know that if the space that two people create between them (the relationship) is wide and generous and loving, it is possible to move through harder times.
    I have met a lovely man, very early days (stuck record?) three dates in and about to have a fourth. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime raise a glass for all of us women who have “had it all”, let it all go and now face the future with open hearts and minds, knowing that we will be okay because we value ourselves. Cheers lovely Alice.

  3. A great post Alice. 2015 was the year that I found contentment and peace too, something I thought I never would, or deserved to have. With the greater sense of knowing myself, my capacity for love seems to have grown. I think it’s fabulous that you have such respect for your ex and reeognise what you had was special. So often I think people can forget that, or think that because a relationship didn’t work out for whatever reason it wasn’t real love.

  4. Such a lovely positive post and I hope that you find someone to fill those shoes soon. I think the overwhelmingly positive from your situation is that having a positive relationship with an ex is such a good thing for the children. In so many relationships that go wrong, it becomes acrimonious and difficult and that can have such a detrimental effect on the children.

  5. I can totally relate to most of your post. I divorced my ex in 2007 and we’d been together for 20 years. Even though I’ve remarried and now have my son, I still feel weird on my ex wedding anniversary day and sad sometimes. There are so many memories that only he and I share, things that no-one else would ever find funny. It’s a strange place to be at times.

  6. OH Alice you are truly inspiring and this is so beautifully written. I love this. You have so much positive in your energy and voice that is truly amazing. It’s better to think of what you have from it than to regret or morn for it. Of course it’s a grieving healing process but I am so glad you came out as friends. It’s hard for children of separated parents that don’t get along. I am so relieved my parents always stay friends after they split for us and what they made together. You are amazing girl and doing so great! :) Happy Divorced Wedding Anniversary beautiful!

  7. Hello Alice,
    I saw this post header on my e-mail and I really wanted to read it. I’ve eventually found the time and I’m glad I did! I separated and divorced when my son was one and he’s ten now. I have come so far in those years, I really can’t tell you. I grieved for a long time however I eventually came to thoroughly enjoy being a single parent. I adored the independence and freedom I felt. After lots of internet dating (and plenty of fun)…4 years ago I met someone special and in November we got married. I’m very happy now but I have to admit, I occasionally miss my single parent days…I look back on them with pride and a sense of achievement. You sound like you’re doing brilliantly.
    Tor (www.teacuporia.co.uk)
    x

  8. Great post Alice, it’s good to hear how it is for you a bit further down the road than me. I can really relate to what you say about the outside world thinking you had it all and now things are different. My therapist described this as living ‘off-grid’ (a phrase I LOVE) and the freedom it brings is just something else.

    Thanks for writing this x

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