10 Amazing Things That Happen After Divorce That No One Bothers to Tell You

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At some point during the course of going through my divorce, I stumbled upon an article written by a woman who had recently completed the process -- and she described being newly divorced as "feeling like you'd just had your arm cut off." Along the way I also came across or heard other comments from divorcées talking about how lost, broken, incomplete, and shattered they felt after putting an end to their marriages. And while I totally understand how a major life change can be pretty traumatic for some women, I am most definitely not one of them. 

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To put it quite frankly, pulling the plug on my marriage was the absolute best life decision I've made up until this point. Ever since my divorce was finalized just over a year ago, I've felt the opposite of incomplete. For the first time in way too many years, I finally feel whole again.

And something tells me I'm not alone. Sure, there are plenty of people who feel like they've had the wind knocked out of them after walking out of the courtroom on that final day -- but there are also some of us who leave with a renewed sense of hope and optimism for whatever the future holds.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- choosing to move on from a negative situation where you honestly feel like you are drowning and gasping for air every single day in the hopes of finally living a happy, authentic life is something worth embracing and celebrating.

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I only wish others had been more vocal about the positive changes that were about to happen when I resumed my single status as opposed to all the ways life was going to totally suck. On that note, here are 10 amazing things that happen after you get divorced that no one bothered to tell me about.

1. Your relationship with your child grows stronger. Sure, I've always had a wonderful relationship with my son. But since my divorce was finalized, he and I are close on a much different level. Please don't get me wrong -- I'm not discrediting the relationships married parents have with their children. I'm simply saying that having one-on-one time with my child all the time as opposed to only now and then has strengthened our bond even further. We get each other. We're silly and laugh all the time. We have adventures. We support and help each other. We're a team. And it's amazing.

2. You find out who your people are. I keep saying that I almost feel sorry for those who have not gone through a big life change because it really opens your eyes to the people who truly care for you versus those who are just along for the ride. You can quote me on this: "In tough times, the people who are there for you will surprise you, and the people who are not will shock the hell out of you." But knowing the real ones from the fake ones is more than worth the heartache of losing a friend or two. Trust me.

3. You value your relationships more. When your true people reveal themselves, it suddenly makes you appreciate their presence in your life even more. It's easy to love someone when they're at their best. But if you have people who will love you through your struggles and challenges when you're kind of a mess? You'd better hang on to them for dear life, because they are a gift. I will never forget the family and friends who had my back and still do.

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4. You get introduced to sides of yourself you never knew existed. It's amazing what happens when you are living life on your own terms as opposed to trying to please someone else and/or fit into the mold of how you're expected to act in a relationship. It's like being given a free pass to be whoever the hell you want to be without any sort of judgment. Huh. Maybe if I'd simply been myself from the get-go instead of trying to perfectly play a role I didn't belong in, I never would've wound up a divorced 38-year-old single mom. (But everything happens for a reason, right?)

5. You get reacquainted with your pre-married self. Oh, yes ... the girl I used to be has suddenly reintroduced herself -- and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I'm smiling, happy, fun-loving, and focused on what I want out of life -- not what someone else does. I have hopes and dreams that are mine, and that feels good. I'm finally making myself a priority again instead of waiting and hoping that someone else will. (#nevergonnahappen)

6. You realize how much you can do for yourself. Not that I was super dependent on my ex or anything, but let's be honest -- when you have someone else living in your household whom you can defer certain tasks to, it's easy to get a little bit complacent. But now that I own my own home, there's a certain amount of empowerment that comes along with it beyond simply paying the mortgage and bills. Beeping smoke detector going off in the middle of the night? No problem. I'm all stocked up on 9-volt batteries. Overflowing toilet? I can handle a plunger like a boss. Moving furniture around? Funny how much strength one can muster when there's nobody around to help. And yes, I know these things are pretty trivial, but they're still small pieces of my independence that I've been happy to reclaim. Calling it a win.

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7. You live in the moment instead of having some end goal for your life. When I was in my 20s, I had this big picture of how my life was "supposed" to turn out. I was "supposed" to be married to the guy with the big corporate job and live in a big house in the suburbs with a white picket fence or some sh** like that and I was "supposed" to have a couple of kids and a dog and live happily ever after. Well? Obviously things didn't quite turn out the way I had planned -- but that's okay, because I'm not plotting and planning anymore. I'm on the "living in the moment/never say never plan," and I dig it. I'm confident that my future will turn out exactly the way it's supposed to, so I should just sit back and enjoy the ride. My only real goal is to go with my gut and do whatever feels right.

8. The bitterness fades and you recognize love in others. Okay, shameful confession time. When I was married, every time I would drive by a church and see a bride getting ready to go inside and marry the man of her dreams, I would roll down the window of my car and yell, "Don't do it, honey!" as loud as I could. Um, who does that? What a bitter, unhappy bitch I was. I was so miserable in my own marriage that I couldn't even fathom the idea that: a.) some people really are lucky enough to experience real love, and b.) some people are even luckier than that and manage to walk through life with their soul mate. Just because I got it wrong doesn't mean other couples can't get it right. Now when I see a bride on her wedding day, I congratulate her and wish her the best.

9. You breathe easier. Yes, I mean this literally. Ever since I made the decision to get a divorce, I breathe deeper and easier. Sometimes I find myself actually inhaling and breathing out a huge sigh of relief at the most random times. It's like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders. There is no more holding my breath wondering if the grass is greener on the other side. (It is.)

10. You find peace in not knowing what the future holds. Honestly, at this point, I don't want to know -- because knowing where I'll be 5, 10, or even 20 years from now would spoil all the fun of finding out along the way. There are so few surprises left in life anymore, so I'll take as many as I can get. But one thing's for sure: Whatever my life's "plan" happens to be, I'm more than ready for it -- and I can't wait.

 

Image via iStock.com/shironosov

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