Life After Divorce . . . The Way Things Ought to Be
I, like millions of little girls and boys around the world, often fell asleep to the sound of fairy tales. Princes and Princesses, ogres and monsters, good versus evil, and in the end, with a kiss, everything is set right and everything turns out as it should. As a little person, I didn’t understand what fiction was. I believed that a kiss could make everything better.
Think about it, when you hurt your knee, you got a kiss to make it feel better. When a bully at school picked on you, you were cuddled and loved on and it made it, if not all right, at least better.
TV shows and movies in the 1960’s and 1970’s (remember Father Knows Best and The Brady Bunch?) taught moral lessons. Do the right thing and you will win. Winners never cheat and cheaters never win. Somehow, these lessons got lost in reality.
I grew up honestly believing in true love. You date, you find your true love, and you marry . . . forever. Only, there were some problems. For instance, I never did attend my Junior Prom. Yes, I attended two Senior Proms, but I still missed my Junior Prom, and many, many dances in High School, all for lack of a date. As I got older, problems got more serious, like when I played a stupid game at 21 years old and lost a guy I truly loved. But I contented myself that I was entering the next relationship more mature and wiser. That contentment was at the price of many, many tears.
I did eventually marry and have babies. I was even one of the lucky women who, through really good money management and budgeting skills (yes, I can teach you these), got to be a stay home mom. I thought this was the way things out to be. It worked for Laura Petrie. It worked for Carol Brady, twice! Eventually TV moms probably went to work, but by then I was done learning about life from sitcoms and the way things ought to be was implanted in my psyche.
So what happens when, after 40 or 50 years of age, or after 10 or 20 years of marriage, you find out that things are suddenly NOT the way things ought to be? That your spouse has found someone else? That being a stay-home mom is suddenly not an option? That no matter how well you manage your money, you simply don’t have the income you need? What happens when you find yourself facing situations that you never expected, such as sharing holidays and (gasp) dating?
I was HAPPY to be done with dating 30 years ago! I was even happy in what I now realize was an unhappy marriage. I was happy being a wife and mom. That was how life was supposed to be!
The first year after a relationship, you’re kind of broken and don’t even know it. It was a few years after that, when I was starting to realize how broken I had been and that I was slowly, s-l-o-w-l-y, healing, that I realized, THERE IS NO the way things ought to be.
In today’s world, there are no fairy tales. You may be able to think of someone, but I believe that, if you looked into the entire relationship, you would find some truths that are not G-rated.
My growth began when I accepted that there isn’t a perfect family and we have to create our own happily ever afters. While I once believed mine would begin and end with a spouse, it turns out mine could end with a second spouse, or even alone. Once you adapt to being single again, it turns out it’s really okay.
You can spend your time and money the way you prefer. You don’t have to ask others what they want for supper. You can go to bed early or sleep late or both. Of course there are disadvantages as well – no snuggling on Saturday mornings, but it means I can accomplish weekend chores early. No steady plans for Saturday nights, but that can be an adventure, whether you spend your social time with a friend, a group of friends, an occasional date, or all alone. Alone time can be good.
This, after all, may not be the way I thought it ought to be, but it’s not bad! I just had to wrap my head around the idea of a different happily ever after.
That’s Life After Divorce.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. Contact her at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com or find her on Face Book.