After announcing my own impending divorce, I was inundated with sweet and kind emails from people who had been long-time readers of my site.
Many of them offered love and support, a rare bright spot during those dark days.
Still others told me their story: they'd come home from work to find their husband had left ... for good. They'd woken up to the words, "I want a divorce."
The problem, they informed me, was that they did not.
Talk about making an already soul-wrenching situation even worse. Here are some tips for coping with a divorce ... that you don't want.
1) Remind yourself that you're going to be okay. I know it feels like the air has been sucked out of the room, but it's still there. I promise. Keep "I'm going to be okay" as your mantra for this period.
2) Talk out your feelings with a trusted friend and a therapist. Yes, I said both. Because you're going to need both. Finding out your husband of a zillion years doesn't want you anymore is like the world's biggest failed job interview.
3) Do your best to remember that the "why"s don't matter. In fact, they may make it worse. And I promise you this: they do not fix the situation or allow you closure.
4) Do not ask your soon-to-be ex too much about why he or she is leaving in any vivid detail. An unruly imagination on top of your already broken heart is enough to deal with.
5) Avoid stalking him. I know, you share bank accounts and possibly an email account, but don't make it your goal in life to find out what he's doing. You can't unlearn that sort of thing no matter how hard you try.
6) Remember that you are not a failure. I don't know how low my self-esteem plummeted when the "D" word got brought up in my house, but I'll tell you that it was a very, VERY dark space and time for me.
7) There is a world outside of divorce, I swear. It's a different one, for sure, but it's a world in which you can make your own decisions. There are upsides to divorce.
8) Don't freak out if your emotions range from frantic to rage to hysterical. This is normal. I had a "crying hour" from about 9-10 p.m. each night for months. This is okay.
9) Don't bother trying to "get him (or her) back." No matter how many frilly undergarments you buy, it's over. I'm sorry. I really am.
10) Above all else, remind yourself that you do NOT need to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you. That's the truth, not fiction.
What advice would you give to someone who is getting divorced ... but doesn't want to?
Image via Paul Stuart Iddon/Flickr