9 Things I Didn't Expect About Getting a Divorce

Divorce is a life-changer, for sure. The death of a marriage means that nothing will ever be the same again. Committing your life to someone, and then having that bond broken -- for whatever reason -- is going to change you.

The thing about grief is that you don’t know how you’re going to come out the other side. When you’re taking things minute by minute, and then hour by hour, and day by day, eventually you look up and realize that a whole heck of a lot of things have happened that you didn’t see coming.

Some are good, some are difficult, and it seems to me that it’s usually never quite what you expected.

Here are nine things I didn’t expect about going through a divorce.

The Judgment: Holy moly! I had no idea that people would not only have so many vehement opinions about my personal life, but that they'd feel the need to express them.

The Waiting Game: Everything is taking longer than I expected. The legal process, the healing process, the acceptance process … everything.

Mean people: This is its own separate category from the judgey people. A lot of judgey people really do have good hearts, and mean well, but the mean people? Apparently I’m destroying my life, my kids lives, and I may or may not have murdered Mickey Mouse.

Compassion: On the flip side of the mean people are the truly compassionate. I’ve had so many happily married friends just hug me and say, “I have no idea what to say but I love you and I think you’re wonderful.” Those moments are the best. I love you too, sweet friends.

Time Warp: The first 24 hours or so seemed like they were second-to-second. As mentioned above, it slowly transpires until whole minutes pass by without counting your breaths. It’s been over eight months now, and I’m going a couple days at a time. I hope to graduate to weeks soon. After that maybe time will start moving on an even plane again.

Apathy: This one is good, especially when it comes to the judgment and the mean people. After your life gets ripped apart, it’s kind of hard to care about other people’s negativity toward you. Wow, I’m really sorry you’re having such a hard time with MY divorce.

My Kids’ Resiliency: I thought my kids would need intensive therapy for months. I thought they’d be more shell-shocked. I thought they’d beg for us to get back together more. They do have their moments, but seem to be adjusting much more quickly and easily than I’d imagined.

My Own Resiliency: After years of living on the emotional rollercoaster that is a dysfunctional marriage, I’m evening my keel and bouncing back just fine.

A Budding Friendship: Now that we don’t have to live with each other anymore, maybe we really can be friendly instead of barely tolerating one another. Hope springs eternal, right?

If you’ve been through a divorce, what took you by surprise?


Image via Martin Thomas/Flickr

divorce, exes

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nonmember avatar anon

I can't believe the queen of mean is calling other people out for being mean. Look in a mirror, lady.

nonmember avatar Michelle

Being recently divorced I completely understand where you are coming from! My kids are also taking this way better than I ever thought and most of the time better than I am! And yes you and the ex can be friendly! My ex and I get along so much better now that we are not living together!

Todd Vrancic

It does get better, Jenny.  You have to do what's right for you, and with luck this will be a growth time in your life.  It just goes to show that nobody knows what goes on with anyone else until they walk a mile in their shoes.

Heavy... Heavy_Pipe

Nobody has a problem with YOUR divorce. Youre more of a totem for the growing number of men (and women) who percieve a very fickle and entitled generation of western women. 

mande... manderspanders

I left my ex 5 years ago; it took only 3 months for our divorce to finalize (it was simple, no strings attached). What suprised me the most were:


1. The immediate feeling of freedom, the burden lifting


2. Feeling so free that I felt lost for a time


3. How quickly I was able to rebuild myself and my life


4. Finally realizing just how *bad*, how *miserable*, how *painful* being in my marriage was (my ex has borderline personality disorder, and was VERY emotionally and verbally abusive).

nonmember avatar Anonymous

Heavy_Pipe has it right above. Exactly. (That you went against everything you advocated about marriage and family as a "conservative mommyblogger" and did so in the precise manner of modern "sex-positive" progressive Feminism that many women take as their due today is the huckleberry. It's why your church wasn't so happy-- faith without works being meaningless-- and, for that matter, everyone else wasn't either.)

"Destroy the family, you destroy the nation," Lenin said about why the Bolsheviks and Soviets pushed unrestricted divorce and abortion-- the "-ism" (namely Lenin's and then his Soviet state) put itself before family that way. Modern third-wave Feminism's empowerment of women as "sexual beings" first puts vaguely unsatified feelings that "something had been missing for a long time" (i.e., "not haaapy" for critics) ahead of marriage and family. (When those aroused "in love" feelings naturally fade as they do, "it's over" for the marriage which becomes nothing more than very expensive dating where the husband pays with his house, kids and half his income for the wife to find a new man who arouses her again.) Congratulations, you done drank the Kool Aid! (That's why many people are angry and all you built as a conservative blogger is ruined.)

There's a reason our elders put morals and foresight ahead of libido and felt marriage a commitment and not a “relationship”: To get through those unarousing times together. We've lost that today.

nonmember avatar Anonymousage 71

I agree with several comments above. People are angry because of your past postings appearing to be so happy in your marriage. On one blog it was reported that 9 months before you filed, you wrote a touching posting about how wonderful your marriage and husband were. The hypocrisy is what angered people, who concluded you stayed married 10 years just to get lifetime alimony. If it weren't for your hypocritical history, no one would have paid any attention to your divorce.

nonmember avatar Give Me a Break

Jenny, the reason people have been so "mean" and "judgmental" towards you is that you presented an image of being a conservative, family-and-marriage-oriented Christian when you thought it was good for your public image to do so. When you decided you wanted out of your marriage, you did a complete 180. You did what you wanted without caring how it affected your husband and children. Now you expect us to praise you for your selfishness and hypocrisy. So sorry to disappoint you...

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