Going through divorce wasn’t fun and coming to the decision to leave my marriage wasn’t a feel good moment. But when someone looks at me with their sad face and says, “I’m so sorry to hear about you and ____ getting divorced”, I say, “I gotta tell ya… being divorced is actually pretty great.”
Here are five reasons why I love being divorced.
1. I actually have time to work on a relationship
Isn’t it ironic that one of the biggest complaints about marriage is that a couple doesn’t get to spend any grownup time with their spouse? Kids consume their world and the marriage takes a back seat. It’s so easy to tell a couple that it’s critical to find time to connect, but if you don’t find the time, you’ll wake up one day and wonder what you ever liked about that person. When you don’t find time to connect, requests go unheard and desires go unfulfilled; the magic “in-love” feeling fades away. This can very easily lead to unhappiness and then divorce.
Yet, as a divorcée, I have tons of time to work on my relationships. I am in a serious committed relationship now and we always leave Tuesday night open. We call it “Hot Date Night.” Even if there is nothing hot about it, it’s the one day a week that we don’t have our kids and we spend time together. We cook. We talk. We watch TV. We fool around. We sit quietly. We go out. We debate. We simply take the time to be together. No matter what.
My married friends are jealous. They wish they could have coveted date night. I don’t blame them. I wished it too when I was married. Here’s the thing, though: I believe that we COULD have had date night, even if it was only once a month. We simply didn’t. We had every excuse in the book — too tired, don’t feel like going out, it costs too much, can’t find a babysitter. The list goes on and on. But what about the one important reason? To make time for each other?
Don’t wait until your divorced to discover how important it is to make time to connect.
2. I get to miss my kids
As much as I miss my kids when they go to their Dad’s, it’s nice to miss them. The time we have together has become precious. My too-cool-for-school teens actually miss me and want to hang out with me. I’m not so sure it would be the same if I saw them all the time.
I have a great relationship with my kids and I have fun with them. I look forward to hanging out with them. My son is 15 and still comes into my room in the evening just to sit next to me while I write. Maybe divorce has made them more clingy, I don’t know, but I like what I have with them now.
3. I don’t have to answer to anyone
When I was married, I always felt like my actions were being judged. It doesn’t matter if this was true or not; it was true for me then. If I wanted to join a gym, I got the question “How much will that cost?” If I wanted to shop for a new bag, I’d hide the purchase so that I wouldn’t get scolded for spending too much.
I felt like a child. I never felt like I could do what I really wanted to do. It was always set by the standard of my ex-husband and whether or not it was worth it to him to spend the money.
Now I don’t answer to anyone except me. If I want to go shopping, I can. If I drop $500 on a bag, good for me! I always felt like my spouse didn’t trust me to make smart decisions. In fact, it’s one of the things he said to me when I announced that I wanted a divorce.
I am very capable. Maybe I needed to prove that to myself after the divorce, but I certainly don’t need to prove it to anyone else.
4. My happiness isn’t dependent on anyone but me
This was always true but it took me being on my own to figure this out. It was never my ex-husband’s job to make me happy, just as it was never my job to make him happy. I think this expectation in a relationship can really drain all the energy out of it.
Our job in a relationship is to love, to respect and live in joy. Whenever your partner triggers you and you feel angry, disappointed, frustrated, or unhappy, remember that this is YOU feeling this way. Most of the time your partner does not know the story that is playing out in your head. Their perception is THEIR reality, just like your perception is YOUR reality.
So, if you are feeling unhappy because you think your partner doesn’t love you because he never brings you flowers like your friend’s husband brings her flowers, this is a story that you are telling yourself. You are choosing to feel unhappy about a result that may not even be true.
Your happiness is your responsibility. If you believe that flowers will make you happy, you’re wrong. Only YOU can make yourself happy. You can be a happy person and still not be happy with the relationship, but if you’re an unhappy person, that could be part of the poison.
I could go on and on about this topic. So, let me just say that if you can’t figure out how to make yourself happy in your current relationship, if you can’t figure out how to be happy alone, what makes you think you’ll be happy in the next relationship?
5. I got to reinvent myself
I like myself a whole lot more than I used to. I finally feel I could be my true self, whatever that is. I was excited to figure it out; I’m still figuring it out. I dress better, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, my self image is positive, I have confidence, and I am proud to work on myself daily.
I no longer read self help books in secret. I no longer hide the fact that I’m part of a life coaching program to improve health, wealth, and happiness. I share my passions openly and I don’t worry about what other people might think of me. If someone doesn’t like what I’m doing, that’s their problem.
I’m certainly not saying YOU should get divorced and I understand that there are serious considerations when children are involved. You gotta do what’s right for you.
For me, divorce was not an easy decision, but I felt it was necessary. I am a much happier person now, which makes me a better mother and a better partner.
So before you offer your condolences to someone you know that tells you they’re divorced, consider that there’s nothing to be sorry for. It could be the best decision they ever made for themselves.
This post was originally published on BlogHer.