girls' guide to surviving divorce

When you find yourself drowning in the loneliness late at night, think about your people and how grateful you are for them. They’ll be your lifeline over and over and over again, but it’s your job to grab on to them before you drown.

bloguettes_stock_160128.jpg

Today I am writing to you straight from the heart, first offering my sincere support as you go through whatever you’re going through, because, as I write this I’m going through it too. Second, I’m busting into the raw stuff and spilling my guts to share every ounce of success I’ve discovered in publicly navigating my own divorce.

This stuff isn’t glamorous you guys but it’s real.

I can’t take away the pain, but I can offer you this.

Have your elevator pitch prepared

Despite your deep desires to keep life separate from work, you’re going to bring this stress to your desk with you for a while. You will undoubtedly find yourself in situations where you have to explain what’s happening.

Maybe you’re attending functions solo for the first time, disappearing from the office to visit with lawyers, changing addresses on your invoices, or transitioning to a new last name. It will come up and it makes it easier on you if you’re prepared to address it.

Some folks will ask you questions, while others will whisper behind your back. More often than not, they’re not trying to hurt you. They’re uncomfortable too. Provide them with the facts. Keep it simple and you’ll avoid the drawn out awkward conversations and emotional rambling.

Here’s mine:

You may have heard, but I wanted to let you know that ___ and I have decided to separate. It was a mutual decision and though it has been tough we are both doing OK. I hope you understand and know that we hope to keep things amicable as we work through this transition. With time, things will get easier for all of us.

The end.

Accept that it’s going to get awkward

For me this has probably been the most frustrating part.

I quickly discovered that people felt more awkward with my news than I felt sharing it with them. Yes, I was right in the heart of the pain and agony of it all, but I was ready to put my head down and just push forward. At home I sat in the red-hot pain, at work and at play, I desperately tried to push it aside.

I quickly started referring to the whole phenomenon as “sad eyes.” Everyone around me gave me the same, pitiful look as they fumbled over their words and asked how I was holding up. I appreciated their support, but I just didn’t want to do it.

The workplace in particular was the hardest. My professional world has always been my safe space. I can do my job well. Marriage, obviously, not so much. Take me for a drink and let’s get into the muck of it all, but while I am on the clock, let’s just not.

In the end, letting go of this frustration was the only way for me to keep my chin up. People are people, and given the opportunity to be weird, they’re gonna get freaking weird.

  • Someone is going to offer you marriage advice when you’re really not looking for it.
  • Someone is going to offer you divorce advice when you’re really not looking for it.
  • You’ll find yourself calmly comforting someone as they break down over your heartbreaking situation.
  • People will pray for you whether you want them to or not.
  • Family will talk trash on you.
  • People will ask wildly inappropriate questions.
  • You’re gonna get hit on.

Taking any of this personally does nothing for anyone, so armed with some patience and understanding, do your best to let it all roll off your back. This time you’re in, is for healing. Focus your attention on that. Everything else can wait.

Have a support system

When our hearts are breaking it seems easiest to just hide. Today I am shouting from the rooftop: do not hide. Find your people and fiercely rely on them.

When they ask you how you’re doing, tell them truth. When they ask you to come over for wine, do it. When they offer to help you move furniture into your new place, say yes, please and then thank you.

When you find yourself drowning in the loneliness late at night, think about your people and how grateful you are for them. They’ll be your lifeline over and over and over again, but it’s your job to grab on to them before you drown.

Celebrate your wins along the way

As is true for accomplishing any goal, baby steps are your only assured way to success. Let go of the idea that you’ll wake up tomorrow feeling thirty, flirty, and thriving.

You may wake up tomorrow and actually have the appetite to eat before 3 PM. That’s a win. Celebrate progress and let go of perfection. It isn’t going to happen overnight.

If you feel compelled to go out with your friends, put on a bra, create a Tinder profile, flirt with that guy who you think might, maybe be giving you butterflies—freaking do it and celebrate the fact that you’re doing it.

Tomorrow you may cry before you even get your hair washed, but it’s just one day in a long line of days that will get easier with time.

Take control of your calendar

 You need something to look forward to, even if it doesn’t feel like you could possibly look forward to anything right now.

One of the best things I did in the heart of my divorce was pick dates on the calendar to host brunch at my new house. I was not at all emotionally prepared to host my friends, who’d spent years making memories in my home with my husband and I, at my new bachelorette pad. On top of this, I didn’t even have any freaking furniture.

Sounds like a nightmare, right? “Hey guys, come on over! Let’s eat some food, maybe I’ll cry, and we can sit on the floor since I don’t even have any chairs.”

Setting those dates gave me a deadline to make a home fit for company, which means I also had to make it fit for me. When your heart is broken the last thing you’re thinking about is comfortable seating and soft hand towels. But the truth is, when you’re heartbroken, soft towels and a cozy couch have the power to make you feel a little more warm and safe in the dark, sad, messy world around you.

Pick some dates, schedule something that makes your heart full, draw circles and hearts and smiley faces around the calendar and hold on to it. It’s small, but it makes a difference.

 

What you’re going through is hard.

I can’t give you the key to finding relief and peace and confidence and comfort and joy as much as you can’t give me the same. I can’t put my hand on your shoulder when you clutch your pillow and feel the emptiness of the four walls around you tonight. I know no matter what kind of face you put on today, it will still hurt—maybe tonight or tomorrow or the next day. I also know that each day will get the tiniest bit easier and with each agonizing rip and tear your heart will grow stronger.

Don’t give up the fight, girl.

You’re doing hard things. I’m doing hard things.

But it’s here, in the front lines of battle with our pain that we become the better versions of ourselves. As G would say, first the pain, then the rising.

Now it’s the pain.

Tomorrow we rise. 


show me more