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.