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It’s a sad fact that my friends are starting to get divorced. I think I was a bit of an early adopter with the whole divorce thing, 27 being fairly young to even be married let alone separated, and as we start to move through our 30s it’s only natural that some long-term relationships begin to break down – statistically speaking it’s 42% of marriages (2012).
When friends ask me what divorce is like I try and give helpful advice – be kind to yourself, don’t expect to feel OK straight away, use the experience to figure out what you want out of your new life. But there is no better substitute than speaking to someone who knows exactly how you feel at that moment in time. It can be a very lonely experience, especially when everyone around you is seemingly blissfully happy with their husband, wives and kids and you’re starting out on a single-based path you’d never considered before.
When I wrote about Modern Romance last week I spent a while going through my old posts about divorce and I won’t lie, some of them made for difficult reading. I’d forgotten just how awful the experience was but it was good to see how far I’ve come. Processing the experiences again helped me, remembering the stages I went through as a newly single person… the dating, the sadness, the excitement, the trepidation. It was cathartic.
And so I’m going to leave you with a run-down of my favourite posts I’ve written about divorce. If this is something you’re going through then I really hope it helps.
“All those things that weren’t supposed to happen? They happened. What happens next is up to you.” – Hank Moody
The One Where I Tell You My Marriage Didn’t Work Out
“Will and I have now split up. Without going into the details, we are both very different people to the ones we were when we embarked on our relationship 10 years ago. We love each other dearly and are going to do our utmost to live separate lives in the best way possible for our two lovely children, but to be truly happy we need to be apart. ”
The One Where I Ponder Dating As A Single Mum
“When you’re on a first date with someone you can’t explain away your greasy mop with a sickly toddler, or your yawning with your baby who isn’t a great sleeper. Your date doesn’t want to be reminded of the fact that you were once in a relationship with someone that was serious enough to produce two children: it’s not exactly sexy.”
The One Where I Feel Sad About Getting Divorced
“I miss having someone who knows me better than I know myself in the way that only your partner of 10 years can. I miss the camaraderie and companionship of sharing a life, two children and a home. I miss wearing my wedding ring and being able to refer to ‘my husband’. Most of all I miss my children having their daddy at home.”
The One Where I Wonder What I Want In A Man
“So before I went on dates I literally sat down and wrote a list. If I was going to spend time with someone, who would it be with? What attributes would I want my ideal man to have? How are they going to look?”
The One Where I Get The Feels About Throwing Away My Marital Bed
“This bed has seen it all: a move to London. A move back to Nottingham. A move to Buckinghamshire. It’s seen fights but loads more love. It was where Elfie was definitely conceived (TMI?) and was where I co-slept with both my babies when they were tiny.”
The One Where I Realise I Can Actually Take The Bins Out (And The Rest)
“It was a massive surprise (and confidence boost) to discover that, actually, it’s not all that hard. Yes there are jobs I have very reluctantly taken on but they aren’t as tough as I thought they were. And actually, living alone is sometimes easier as there is one less person to clean up after and cook for.”
The One Where I Can’t Decide What To Do With My Name
“One small stumbling block is of course Elfie and Hux. They will always have their father’s surname, no matter what mine is, and this is where some people seem to feel uncomfortable (mum, I’m looking at you. Not in a bad way, but I am).”
The One Where I Have My First Single Parent Mother’s Day
“But now it’s just an ordinary day with added crafts. Elfie has made me two Mother’s Day cards at pre-school, the first has a hand-drawn octopus on the front and was given to me on Friday and the second we hid under her bed together ready for her to give to me in the morning. I’m hoping Hux will treat me by not removing his pants and nappy and peeing on his bed before I get to him.”
The One Where I Start Dating
“You can meet blokes through friends but there’s only so often you can bother them for introductions before they start getting pissed off with you. I met a man in the pub who seemed nice but he was 23 and living with his mum and I felt like putting him on the naughty step every time he said a bad word.”
The One Where I Decide I’m Giving Up On Dating
“If a man sends you a photograph of his willy before you’ve even met he’s probably not the one. Even if it’s massive.”
The One Where I Become A Ms
“Of course it doesn’t help that I decided to make these changes right before a brutal bout of PMS; my emotions have always been very closely linked to my hormones and the name change seemed to prompt an attack of OH MY GOD I’M RUINING MY KIDS LIVES, because there is no guilt like that of divorce.”
The One Where My Divorce Was Finalised
“But it took the final stages of my divorce to realised I haven’t failed, not at all. Choosing to get divorced was instead the bravest thing I have ever done.”