I don't know about most divorced ladies, but I saw my split with my husband coming -- by a few years. I'd brought it up a few times, and he kept talking me out of it, which was sort of a relief. But I knew I was just postponing the inevitable. So I came up with the list: My Plan B. Everything I needed to put in order before I could divorce my husband for real, this time.
I'm so glad I made that list and followed through with it. I'm glad I didn't wallow in denial -- or in false hope. Some might say I doomed my marriage by giving up that hope and planning for the worst. But who's to say what the worst is? I say planning for a split is the most hopeful thing a woman can do.
First on my list was to get a full-time job with health insurance. Before I'd just sort of pieced together a career with freelance this and that. But if I was going to be on my own, I'd need much more stability. No more swinging from vine to vine. Plus, I knew I'd need a reason to get dressed and leave my home every day. I knew working from home in my pajamas would not be conducive to my recovery.
But it wasn't enough for me to just get "a" job -- because I had time, I went after the writing career I'd never thought before I could pull off. Something about taking the bold step of admitting I was headed toward a divorce also emboldened me to stop monkeying around with my career and start working at something I actually wanted to do. As long as I was thinking about what I wanted my life to look like, it just made sense to apply that to my career.
And then I got a hold of my finances. I should have been doing this all along, but I created a spreadsheet tracking all my expenses. I wanted to find out if I could actually make it on my own. To my great relief, the math all worked out.
That's not everything from Plan B, but it's enough to show something interesting: Planning for the "worst" outcome actually improved my life before I even started to divorce my husband. Suddenly it was no longer about giving up -- it was about making smart choices and planning for the future. Even if I hadn't decided to divorce, I would have been moving ahead with a clearer vision of what I wanted my life to look like.
You never know what's going to happen next. It may not be divorce -- your husband could die suddenly. Anything could happen. Viewing your life through the lens of "what if" can be just the motivation and perspective shift you need to make changes that will make you happier regardless of what happens with your marriage.
Have you ever made plans for what you'd do if you lost or divorced your spouse?
Image via Horlia Varlan/Flickr