Yes, I said divorce can be better than Christmas morning. Sometimes even better than sex, or better than sex with your ex.
For some of you, those who are experiencing an unwanted divorce, it will take time to appreciate the many possible virtues of divorce. For those of you who initiated the divorce, you may get it right now.
I had divorce forced upon me. I went through my fair share of heartache and anger and I learned eventually that there were things I didn’t know until the process was behind me and I was living, breathing and experiencing the person I became after that unwanted divorce. Here is my list of five reasons divorce can be better than Christmas morning:
1. The opportunity to get to know yourself again. It’s easy to lose yourself when dealing with marriage, children and the humdrum of daily life. Throw in a husband who long ago stopped caring and there is little time to focus on what you want, who you are and taking care of the woman buried deep under all those layers of daily muck.
Remember how you used to laugh out loud? Or how you used to be spontaneous and open to new experiences? How about that woman who enjoyed flirting, felt sexy and knew the virtues of a great intimate connection with a man? Yeah, that woman. Well, divorce promotes getting to know that woman again. She has been in hibernation and will show herself again. She is wonderful, just wait and see!
2. The silence (it really is golden!) No fighting, no slamming doors, no tension in the air, no walking on egg shells afraid of saying the wrong thing. No more footballs games to listen to, no more sounds of him flipping endlessly from one channel to the other. No more burping or farting noises to intrude on your delicate senses of what should and should not be shared. Divorce silences conflict, criticism and, best of all, doubt. Enjoy the silence, you’ve earned it!
3. A clean house. Dirty dishes in the sink? Only if you left them there. And, let’s admit it, we don’t resent cleaning dishes we dirty quite as much as those he left behind without a second thought. No more piles of his dirty laundry. Oh, God, those dirty shorts and gym socks -- gone for good! And that God awful “Man of the sea” lamp he insisted sit in the living room…gone, right out the door with him. Even if your house isn’t clean, it is your mess, not his.
During my marriage, every time I went to the bathroom I had to look at a dirty flight suit hanging on the back of the bathroom door. Flights suits went from his body, to hanging on the door and eventually the dirty clothes hamper when I could no longer stand them hanging there. It was liberating to be able to close my bathroom door and not have to look at a flight suit hanging there like a three-legged Billy goat waiting to mount me.
There is something oppressive about someone else’s mess. Some husbands use untidiness to mark their territory much like male dogs do when they urinate. And if they thought they could get away with it, you better bet husbands would be peeing in every corner of the house. Divorce leaves you with clean, unmarked territory to do with as you see fit.
4. The freedom to choose. There is a sense of liberation that comes along with being able to eat a bowl of Cheerios for dinner, watching ESPN because you want to (not because it is the only thing he will watch), or buying organically grown vegetables without someone there to tell you, “We can’t afford those.” No more cheap frozen veggies! Or, whatever it is you’ve done without due to his penny pinching. Want a pink and purple quilt, or sheets with raspberries on them, go for it! Dream big dreams. Want to make a career change or take your last name back? Do as you please -- your freewill has been restored!
5. A reason to shop. If Nordstrom’s was smart, they would have an annual divorce sale for all the newly single women. During divorce, pounds will fall off your body due to stress, with no rhyme or reason. Seriously, you will eat all you want, consume wine like you haven’t since your early 20s and lose weight on a daily basis. The silver lining? Shopping! Money is understandably tight, but toss aside a few of those size 12s and treat yourself to a few new size sixes. Doing so will make you happy and help you feel like you’ve still got it going on. Just think of how good you will feel when you show up in divorce court looking better than you have in 10 years. Flaunt it!
Yes, divorce sucks and I’m not dismissing that or making light of the pain and frightening change. I look at my children at times and wish things could have been different, that they could have grown up in an intact family. At the end of the day, they’ve turned out quite well and even though the change was forced upon me, I ended up liking who I am and who I became due to the struggles I endured.
The process can be painful but the return you get on that emotional investment can be astounding if you are open to learning and growing through it all.
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