How I Survived My Divorce

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Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

I was sitting on my futon, huddled under the colorful afghan my mother had crocheted years before.

Snow fell outside my window, and I felt a giddy hollowness in my chest as I squirmed deeper into the warmth of my cover.

“He is a piece of shit. He is abusive. DO NOT TEXT HIM.”

The words were written in erasable ink on the white board hung on my wall. I was heart deep in a twisted relationship with a Ghanaian man I had met five months before. I was consumed by him. I had the bruises on my arms to prove it. I let him hurt me. Not intentionally. Just intense grabs, the quick shake here and there. The words. “You’re a dime, Sandeep. You’re a dime. You’re soft, which I like. I like BBWs. But you could use a little toning up.”

I was 155# of solid muscle. I was deadlifting and squatting hundreds of pounds of weights a day. I had nothing left to tone up.

But I let him say these things to me. Because I deserved to be punished. Didn’t I? For the horrible thing I had done?

You see, I was dead center in my own, personal Dark Age. I had left my ex-husband that fall. In February, I stumbled into a man who set my mind and womanhood on fire in ways I never thought were possible.

He was but one of a string of men I allowed into my life over the years following my divorce. Men from all walks of life. Wealthy men, struggling men, accomplished men, evolving men.

A “friend” (I use that word lightly, as it is only now that I am out of that Dark Age that I see she was not a good friend) had advised, “The best way to get over a man is to get under a new one.”

The layers of that advice are fascinating to me. She wasn’t fully wrong, but she also wasn’t right.

You see, dating as a way to get past a breakup or a divorce is a bandaid when used carelessly. Time and time again, I would meet people who felt the need to offer their sage wisdom on the best way to move past my divorce: “Meet someone new!” and “Go have fun!” and “You need some casual D and free meals to feel like a queen.”

What rubbish.

The fact is, spending time with all those men distracted me from the real work I had to do on myself. And it was only after I did that work on myself that I was able to approach dating in a way that was productive, constructive, and healthy.

So, how did I (after getting lost in unhealthy relationships) finally survive my divorce?

  1. Acceptance. Accept that you might have to go through your own personal Dark Age. Everything will hurt, everything will be scary, and sometimes the loneliness will be so intense, you think it might actually end you. My biggest piece of advice is: accept this darkness. It will not go away if you fight it. You must lean into it and allow it to pass. The more you resist, the stronger it will take hold. Breathe into it, and eventually it will dissipate (cliches suck, but they exist for a reason. And time does heal a lot of things).

There’s no right way to heal and move on from something as devastating as a divorce. But I promise you that time softens the edges of the most painful wounds, whether you want it to or not. Just be kind to yourself and remember you are your greatest champion.

Living life on my own terms & writing to tell about it.

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