As a divorced person, I describe it this way: heartbreaking, scary, gut-wrenchingly sad, and really, really depressing at times. That said, I've come to learn that there IS a flipside. Divorce brings growth and acceptance and self-introspection and empowerment. And, divorce brings advantages. That's right, advantages. Would you believe there are ADVANTAGES of being divorced? Let me share the silver linings of divorce.
8 Silver Linings of Divorce:
1. You have an out whenever you want it. I believe that at this stage in my life, I shouldn't have to do anything I don't want to do. Let me clarify. We all have things everyday that we HAVE to do. Meetings we must attend, people we go to see out of the goodness of our hearts, chores, errands, work outs, and business events. Doing those things is just living up to your responsibilities. But, I believe that a person shouldn't do anything he or she does not WANT to do. In other words, don't do anything out of obligation or because you think you will upset someone if you're not there (unless you care deeply for the person). If there is an event that you really don't care to attend, don't. If a person who typically makes you feel bad about yourself wants to get together, don't. Enjoying life and your time is just too valuable. So, here's the divorce benefit: In order to spare someone's feelings, if you simply don't want to get together with someone, you can just say, "Sorry, it's my weekend with the kids!" How great is that?
2. Having to go back to work brings only good things. This applies mostly to women. When divorce happens, women are often forced to go back to work because of finances. I can tell you firsthand it was very scary. I hadn't worked in 10 years. Getting up to speed on computer technology was probably the most frightening thing for me. But, going back to work has HUGE benefits! Work is productive, and that brings self-esteem, self love and confidence! You will love yourself when you feel smart and productive and you see that "You still got it!" AND, you will meet so many men and women that could become friends, and maybe even romantic interests. Nothing bad ever comes from work. It's always good.
3. Loneliness subsides, empowerment takes its place: When I was getting divorced, people would always give me this look that was saying to me, "I feel so sorry for you." I felt like saying, "Please don't give me that look! I didn't just tell you I had cancer. I'm just a little lonely, that's all." The thing is, it took awhile, but I kicked the loneliness thing. I learned how to be alone, and it's a wonderfully empowering feeling. I can go to a movie or shopping or sit in a coffee shop myself and enjoy it. That to me is very empowering. Loneliness is hard at first, but you won't be lonely forever. Learn how to be alone!
4. Your house is your own. Do you realize that you can re-decorate and re-organize your home, and make it exactly the way you want it? Pink and shabby chic and feminine for the ladies. Guys, bean bag chairs, dart boards, pool tables, the biggest flat screen you can find... whatever you want! You're the boss!
5. You can really Live! I have a friend who was married for 27 years. Her husband blindsided her and left her for another woman. She was obviously devastated. In fact, there were times I was beyond worried about her and wasn't sure she'd be okay. Let me tell you what she has done over the past four years. She has run a marathon, she's traveled to Israel, Spain, China, and all over the U.S., she has joined a softball league, and she never says no to any adventure. She said she would never have done all these things if she was still married.
6. The door is open. Regardless of who left who, the door is now wide open for you to have a meaningful, loving relationship with someone who is right for you. If your husband or wife left you, they did you a favor. Because, who wants to be with someone who doesn't want to be with them? Mr. or Ms. Right is out there. Give it time and don't try too hard. Just enjoy your life. Refer to point #5!
7. Your mother-in-law just went bu-bye. For some people, never seeing their in-laws after divorce is very upsetting. To others, never having to deal with their in-laws again is a huge perk. So, obviously this only applies to people who look at never having to see their mother-in-law again as a gift. Everything that bugged you about her is ancient history! Woo hoo!
8. You just became a single parent. "Why is that a plus, Jackie?!" Because a lot of people I talk to tell me that they became a better parent after their divorce. As single parents, we appreciate our time with our children more. Quality always wins over quantity. In other words, sure, you may see your children a less number of days throughout the year, but if you take advantage of every moment you have with them, you will be truly fulfilled, and you will continue to be a wonderful parent, even better. Talk to your kids, laugh with them, hug and kiss them, play with them. Just love them. They need you now more than ever. And you are here for them.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of the blog, Divorced Girl Smiling. She is also the author of the comedic novel, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE about life after divorce. Ms. Pilossoph is a weekly business features reporter for the Pioneer Press, with the monthly column, "Heart of the North Shore." She lives in Chicago with her two kids. And she's divorced (obviously.)