11/27/2013 03:47 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What They Don't Tell You When You're Getting Divorced


They don't tell you that you'll unknowingly toss crumpets into your grocery cart because they were one of your husband's favorite.

They don't tell you that sometimes you'll sleep better alone.

Sometimes you won't sleep at all.

When you place your duvet in its new cover, you'll think of the day he taught you how to do that. Suddenly he is there -- arm deep in cotton -- shaking his head at you; he becomes part of your new duvet. It feels like he hasn't really left your bed.

They don't tell you it's disconcerting to have double sinks in your en suite when you're single. (You make use of the space with all your toiletries, but refuse to use that second sink.)

A slicing pain will sting across your chest and you'll doubt everything you are and every choice you've ever made ... except the one about renting out the house instead of selling it. You were smart not to sell.

You lose your bearings; feel floaty, ungrounded, spinny.

You'll misplace your mojo ... you will think you're unattractive, untalented, and not good enough.

They don't tell you that he is no longer your home. The thought of that will choke you.

You'll have to bite the inside of you cheek to stop tears when a medical receptionist asks what your marital status is and if your former spouse is still your emergency contact.

Your spine must turn to steel when you whisper "no."

Your kid will try to be strong, but make forts to cry in, alone, because she misses her dad who is on another continent.

She will act out, get angry, lash her tongue at you and you'll feel like you're the worst mother. Ever.

But your brothers and your dads will help your daughter and give her examples of strong men who will be part of her daily life, keeping an eye on her.

Your six year old will later crawl in your lap, cuddle on the cuddle couch, and tell you -- when practicing daily gratitude -- that you are the person she is most grateful for, that she loves you "beyond one quadzillion" and that she'd have to keep counting until she's dead, even when she's dead, to find a number of how much she loves you.

In those moments, you'll feel like a hero, like Wonder Woman, like you can do it all.


Your daughter will be OK because you'll make damn sure of it (and so will many others, including her dad).

They also don't tell you there are days you already feel OK; happy, even.

A renewed love for your community will emerge.

You notice things you didn't before -- like how the wind comes into the valley and cools off the dry, hot nights.

The cul-de-sac will host iconic summer evenings: While the full moon rises against the high desert sky, you watch children -- including your beautiful daughter -- lay on the cement and get fabulously sprayed with water by a neighbor's father.

You're still scared to write, to create, because you're afraid of what will come out of you and you're just doing the very best you can right now ... all with a smile on your face. You don't know if you're ready for what will come out of you. Yet.

They don't tell you that you can feel broken and feel completely whole: simultaneously.

They don't tell you that you are a package of contradictions.

There will be moments of great strength, then moments of heaving sorrow.

But you get to rediscover parts of yourself.

Your own style can splash all over the house in beautiful throws, pillows, colors of your choice -- and that can feel liberating. Empowering.

In fact, alone can be empowering ... like when you put together the TV stand without help. How you unpacked all the boxes on your own.

It will take you awhile to notice when another man flirts with you -- you haven't been flirted with in years.

They don't tell you there's nothing deficient in you for liking the sniff of your new freedom. Even those flirts ... sometimes.

The people who love you will provide guidance and help you connect with your spirit.

They'll gently push you back to art, to beauty, to be your creative self: to be who you are.

Friends and family will bring you full circle.

You'll bring yourself full circle ... or at least to a different circle (you don't want to repeat it all, after all).

Listen: You are not a failure or a loser.

Also: There's nothing wrong with you.

While you pick yourself up off the floor, you'll see fragments of joy blowing towards you, around you, below you.

Even when you're sad.

Even when you buy crumpets.

You will rebuild the home carried in your heart.

You'll grow stronger, wiser, better.

You're never alone. Ever.

And you'll be sure to tell others they are also never alone - because - they don't tell you that when you're getting a divorce.

This was written based off a writing prompt from Laurie Wagner's writing course, Telling True Stories.

The original -- and different -- version of this post can be found here.