“The roughest roads often lead to the top.”
– Christina Aguilera
Yes, that is a quote from the 90s pop princess who brought you “Genie In A Bottle”. While she may not be your go-to when it comes to overcoming divorce, this quote is quite accurate when it comes to those early days in a divorce when it seems like your world is crashing down around you. Those challenges are likely some of the biggest you’ll face and that, honey, sure is a rough road.
A few months ago, a conversation began on our Facebook group, Worthy Women and Divorce, on the biggest challenges members had faced at the beginning of the divorce process. Here are a few we found to be most inspiring and noteworthy.
Karen W. was married for 26 years and for her, the biggest challenge was keeping her emotions out of the equation. After all that time, “keeping [her] feelings for him out of it” so she could treat “the divorce like a business transaction!”. As Karen told it, “My attorney said if he had an affair after 26 years of marriage and you honestly think he cares what’s best for you, you are wrong. It’s time to put your big girl panties on and make a business deal! I did just that. He was shocked.”
It’s not only the sad emotions we need to let go of. It’s the angry ones as well. Donna M. was mad when her husband got half in their divorce settlement, however, she faced her biggest challenge of “reconciling [herself] to that fact” because she “had to let it go.”
Rose J. noted that while the entire process has been a challenge, “the biggest one was staying strong and fighting [her] emotions.”
What about those moments when you don’t want to face reality and would rather bury our heads in the ground? As Lena C. wrote, her biggest challenge was “reminding myself this was really happening and that I need to face it head-on and do the best I could to secure the best future for myself and my daughter and stop worrying about my ex.”
Cathy L. shared a similar sentiment: “Coming to understand that it wasn’t going to happen, letting it go and trying to figure out how to pick myself up and rebuild.”
When you have a family and are facing divorce, the challenges get even bigger! So many women shared that their biggest hurdles cropped up when it came to their kids. Both Marni L. and Melissa K. said that going from seeing their children all the time to splitting the time with an ex was their biggest challenge. Tammy L. added that she was “so angry that I had to give up my time with them due to his poor choices, all while not letting the kids know I was so angry.” And for Shanna D., explaining divorce to her 3-year-old child was the toughest.
Whether you are in the midst of divorce or have that process is behind you, it’s like you’ve already hit your breaking point! It’s emotionally draining to deal with so much all at once. For Kelli M., the emotional aspect was the toughest: “Just the emotional part was hard. Feeling like a fool for trusting him. Feeling like I was not enough bc.he stepped outside the marriage. Feeling like I failed my kids. Learning to share time with the kids was probably the worst. Figuring out I was going to have to fight or every speck of what I deserved.” But, she did share the silver lining that, although “t is all emotionally draining… the feeling of freedom with him gone was amazing.”
“Even now post-divorce I still have to remind myself not to worry about him,” Lena C. shared. “He and his issues are no longer mine. The divorce was entirely my ex’s doing/decision so it was a reality check for me that he wasn’t going to ever be willing to work on our marriage, meet me halfway, or even put in a tiny bit of effort to even try to salvage our life together. It’s hard learning NOT to care for or about someone who you’ve spent 17 years loving and caring for. I have to constantly remind myself “no longer my bull, not my bull crap.”
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