I love being divorced. I'm proud of the fact that I'm divorced. For years, I've considered getting a license plate to tell the world that I'm DIVORCD. I love talking about my divorce.
Unfortunately, I'm an anomaly. There are many out there who struggle with deep-seated feelings of guilt and shame as a result of their divorces. They wish for the day when they can again check the "married" box when filling out forms at the doctor's office. The pressure, guilt and shame are the result of a society full of people who make unfair assumptions about those who get divorced.
Well, I'm here to say that I too have made a lot of knee-jerk, assumptive judgments about divorced people. They are as follows...
Divorced people are open-minded. Obviously. I mean, we all know that a man and a woman are supposed to get married when they're young and stay together forever. But people who get divorced are able to envision and embrace a reality beyond the All-American Fantasy. They believe that we don't all fit into the same mold, and some people should never be molded together. They're open to a life of possibilities beyond a death-do-us-part existence with someone they don't know, love or respect.
Divorced people are strong. Those of us who are cool enough to be divorced know the truth: divorce is not the "easy way out." It's hard. Really freaking hard. A tremendous amount of courage is needed just to speak the truth about your situation and take the first step. The separation process means turning your life upside down, losing a piece of your identity and enduring a hurricane of swirling emotions that can last for years. Add to that the shameful looks from others, the smugness of another woman and a decreased standard of living. Let's be honest, divorce isn't for sissies.
Divorced people are creative. Divorce comes with many challenges. How will you stretch a reduced monthly budget to cover all necessary expenses? Can you make an actual meal with those food scraps in the fridge? What can you do to limit unproductive communications with the ex? How will you handle your child's birthday celebration now that your ex has remarried and your child wants her new stepmother, step-siblings and even step-grandparents to attend a party in your home? Navigating life as a Divorced Person is all about functioning outside the box. It means being thoughtful and designing creative solutions appropriate for your family.
Divorced people care about their relationship. Yes, you read that right. Deciding to divorce doesn't mean a relationship will dissolve into nothingness. It means the two people in it have given their relationship permission to evolve. Outside the confines of a miserable marriage, previous life partners can transition into cooperative co-parents. As time goes by, they might even become friends. If handled properly, divorce can also provide a gateway to healthier and more productive parent-child relationships. I know this is true because I've lived it.
Divorced people are independent. Not only are divorced people strong enough to buck the system and end their marriages, they also spend a considerable amount of time flying solo before finding another meaningful partnership. This means they cook their own meals, take out their own trash, pay their own rent/mortgage and fix their own leaky faucets. Also, they're probably not afraid to go out to dinner alone.
In short: Divorced people are awesome. Don't you think?
Now, truthfully speaking, the logical side of my brain knows the above list doesn't apply to everyone who gets divorced. But neither do all those equally unfair judgments of a negative nature. We're all entitled to our opinions, right? Personally, I find my assumptions to be rather empowering. I think I'll keep them.
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