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Life after Divorce

Life after Divorce

After five tumultuous years, I’m ready to begin again.


Five years. It feels like a lifetime.

Five years since I got my divorce. I was only married four and a half years, so I’m now longer divorced than I was married.

I never thought I’d end up divorced. I married the man of my dreams, the man I was planning to live with for the rest of my life. Then things changed. He no longer felt capable of living the life we’d planned together. He couldn’t cope with the life I loved. He wanted a fresh start. We separated and divorced within a span of six weeks, after a tumultuous period of discord and dissension.

It took two years for the dust to settle. Two years for the reality to sink in – the husband of my dreams, the man I’d married as an innocent 20-year-old bride – no longer existed. He had started a new life, and so had I.

My memories of those years haven’t faded. I’ve worked hard at creating a new life for myself, carving something from nothing in this new experience called single mothering. In the early years I often cried myself to sleep. Other times I couldn’t sleep at all and woke up at three, four o’clock in the morning, shaking from tension and indecision and agony. And eventually I discovered that there could be joyful moments even in this new reality.

There were moments when I could appreciate the time I spend with my two children. Our bedtime routine was sacrosanct; we read stories, shared important events of the day, and reveled in the silence that descends, without younger children to interrupt their special time. We took trips together in the summer, stepping out of our home environment to go on boat rides, visit the science museum, eat out , and stop worrying for a brief spell of time about the day-to-day pressures of life.

There were moments when I could appreciate the depth of understanding I’ve gained, the insight into other people’s pain and the ability to commiserate in ways I couldn’t do before I experienced pain myself. Times when friends came to my house to borrow books and ended up spilling the beans about a spat with a spouse or a battle with infertility. And even though they apologized afterwards for sharing their woes, I knew they felt comfortable revealing because they saw that I empathize – a skill I didn’t have back in the day when life was smooth and easy.

And there were moments when I knew that, hard as it is, the alternative – of staying frozen in a marriage that wasn’t functional – was worse, and that this life-stretching experience is clearly what God intended for me.

Not that it isn’t painful. It is. But over the past five years I’ve developed in a way I never could have evolved in otherwise. I’ve discovered new pieces of myself that I never knew existed. Pushed beyond my limits, into a new role and a new place in society that is far from my dream role, yet that I’ve accepted with my head high. I’ve learned to manage with just my own company on Friday nights and holidays. I understand what it means to create a happy home with my own inner resources, even without a partner at my side.

For two years I struggled to find my footing on life, and for another two years I floundered and slipped, treaded water and gained equilibrium. And finally I felt I was ready to move on. To begin again. To face a new life called remarriage, perhaps step-parenting.

Because I want to keep giving. The resources I’ve gained from these years have made me into a better person, a stronger person, enabling me to relate to another spouse, other children who need me. There’s something in my future that will allow me to utilize the skills I’ve developed from my years alone, my years spent single parenting.

Only… it hasn’t happened yet. To say you’re ready isn’t the same as finding the right one. And finding the right one the second time around is infinitely harder than finding him the first time around. And I wonder if this stage of life will ever end, if I’ll ever get to the next one, the one called happiness and stability.

I try to be strong, to show a happy face to the world. A friend once told me that no matter what you’re feeling inside, it’s important to look good on the outside. But sometimes the despair comes, and I have to fight it, to remind myself that God won’t leave me in limbo land forever.

As a believing Jew, I know God has a plan for me, as He does for all of us. And so I wait, knowing that eventually that plan will unfold, and I will no longer have to wonder why.

January 26, 2013

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Visitor Comments: 10

(9) Rachel, January 28, 2013 9:46 AM

All i can say is how impressed at how you have allowed your experience to teach you, allowing you to grow. I wish you a Wonderful future. Rachel

(8) Anonymous, January 28, 2013 6:01 AM

I admire your strength!

I admire your strength and courage. You are definitely right about gainig from the years you were alone. I am also divorced for 7 years, feel that I have grown so much. I thank H' for the time he has given me yishuv daat (peace of mind). Yes, at times it is tough, but hey, no gain! We have tobelieve that these challenges are all a gift from H' to strengthen our emuna (faith) and to grow. I wish for you only the best. Keep strong and BE'H may H' lead you in the right direction to choosing the right one for you and your family! Thank you fro sharing your story and giving us strength and hope!

(7) abigail, January 27, 2013 6:48 PM

I admire your inner fortitude and resilience. Your story illustrates how real purpose lends meaning to life and is the ultimate source of happiness. May G-d bless you with a wonderful spouse who will share in your life's purpose.

(6) Melanie Vliet, January 27, 2013 6:19 PM

Similar Story

When my marriage broke up in 1992, I felt as though everyone but me had a significant other and wondered how I would be able to survive and raise my four-year-old son without my husband's help. My despair lasted for about one day. Then I decided to look at my husband's departure not as a tragedy but as an opportunity for a whole new life--an adventure. When I shared my feelings of helplessness with a friend, he wryly commented that I was "about as helpless as a tiger." Soon I saw that he was absolutely correct. I found strength and capabilities that I would have never unearthed in myself had I not been stretched by becoming re-single. God also made His role as provider real to me. Still, I couldn't imagine how I would come up with the resources to put my precious son through college. God took care of that, too. He provided a husband--my boss--after I had been re-single for over ten years (dating the wrong men through most of that time). He permitted my aged and ailing father to enter heaven just as my son finished high school, so that the money became available. Halfway through my son's law degree, when that money ran out, my husband reached the age that required him to take mandatory withdrawals from his savings; this enabled us to lend my son the money he needed to complete law school at a lower interest rate than he could obtain through conventional means. God's timing is perfect! I can tell you from experience that it is far better to be single than to be married to the wrong person. Don't let yourself take the easy way out and remarry unless you are certain that you have found God's choice for you. He has already taught you that He can meet all your needs; don't forget that lesson.

(5) Anonymous, January 27, 2013 6:15 PM

I feel your pain...

I am in the same boat as you at least you got out in the early stages of your marriage, I stayed 21 long and tough years too long and have suffered greatly for this, whatever you do DO NOT rush into another marriage, I am waiting for Mr Right #3, one tends to make the same mistake the second time around. The pain of being alone can be unbearable at times but Hashem does not give us anything that we cannot cope with. Keep finding the true person you are and love yourself FOR WHO YOU ARE.. May HKBH bless you for only good.

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