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Jennifer Cullen Headshot

Post Divorce Happiness? It Does Exist

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If you ask me about my divorce 8 years ago, I'll spare you the details of the sleepless nights, the almost daily crying jags, the worrying about how my kids would be affected and the (welcomed) weight loss.

Chances are I'll tell you about how happy I was once I got divorced because I was so unhappy being married. How happy I am now. And how well my kids are doing.

And if you have read anything that I have written in the last couple of years, you would know that I'm re-married and that my husband and I enjoy having every other weekend to our selves while my kids are with their dad. And how much I love food, sex and my life but not necessarily in that order.

You would also know how great my relationship is with my ex-husband and oh, what a wonderful father he is. How the two of us are still a team in the raising of our kids. And how that works really well for us and how we joke about being poster parents for divorce.

I know I sometimes come off as being flippant about my past. I make jokes and talk about the perks of being divorced. But don't mistake that for me trivializing divorce. Because nobody knows how much divorce sucks than someone who has been through it and has come out on the other side of it.

The period of time from the beginning of the end of my marriage to the day that we decided to pull the plug to a few years after, when I finally settled in to my life as a single mom, was awful. There was much soul searching, therapy, couples counseling and tears and late night conversations with my first husband, my family and my confidants.

Even now, when I let myself think about the months of heartbreak, for me, my ex-husband and for our children, I can get teary. But what I don't get is remorseful. And I don't think about the what ifs, like what if we had never gotten married. Because if we had never gotten married, we never would have brought our two kids in to the world. Two smart, amazing kids whose father and I both adore them beyond belief.

And today, eight years later, I'm happy that I got divorced. Yes, happy about it. Because I needed to get divorced. But it was never something that I took lightly. Just like I never took getting married lightly.

In the last week, I've learned that two people, each married to their respective spouses for over 20 years, are on the path to getting divorced. I'm not privy to the details of their situations. But I know enough to be able to see and to hear their heartbreak. To know that in these first days of separation, the heartbreak that each of them feels is tremendous. Physically painful and emotionally draining. Like a knife in your heart. And I remember.

I remember the feelings. That the person you thought you were going to grow old with is no longer that person. The loss of feeling secure in your most intimate relationship: financially, emotionally and physically. Now you're going to be one of them. Or really, one of us. Divorced.

And I want to say to them that if you take it one day at a time, then one day you'll find yourself on the other side of it. Like I am. And though you'll never forget the pain and the anguish you went through when your marriage ended, you'll find your own happiness, like I did.

Which is why I'll keep telling whoever wants to know that I am happy, very happy. Now. My blog's tagline is even "Happier Than Most."

Because these days, I get to celebrate my marriage. My second one. And after toasting to my 4th wedding anniversary with my husband last week, I feel thankful. Thankful that I'm on the other side of my divorce, that my kids are happy and healthy, that my ex-husband is my friend and that I love my husband. And that the feeling is mutual.