My divorce was the most insightful life experience I ever had to go through.
It taught me some powerful life lessons that I am going to share with you in this blog post.
But before we get to the lessons, here is a little bit of my divorce story:
In 2016, after only 2 years of marriage, my husband decided out of the blue to get a divorce while we were on vacation.
He announced the divorce to me over the phone and refused to give me any explanations as to why he wanted to divorce nor he wanted to have a conversation about it…I flew back home only to realize that he has already moved out taking all his belongings with him…
At first I thought all of this was a nightmare that I just wanted to wake up from…but as time went by, I realized that it was all real.
The following months were just succession struggles for me.
I had to deal with practical aspects of a separation such as finding a new place to live, finding a solicitor, and preparing my case for the court hearing, and what I did not know back then, a very long legal battle in a foreign country I barely spoke the language, let alone navigating the legal system…
All that while suffering severe emotional distress and struggling with my own grief as I was left with so many unanswered questions that haunted me for months.
but without realizing it, the tragedy of my life was becoming a life changing moment for me.
Check-out my blog post on what I learned after I was left with no closure and why I think that we, women who are left behind by a man, don’t need closure.
1. You have no control over circumstances and people but what you have control over is YOUR REACTION to it
This is my biggest take away from my divorce which applies not only to relationships but to life in general…I learned that I have no control over people or circumstances.
In the context of marriage, this concept of “tie the knot” should not be taken literally, as there is no such thing in life.
when I got married to my husband, I truly believed in the “happily ever after” because we loved each other, and I thought that marriage gave me extra guarantees that my husband would not leave me.
I deceived myself greatly.
A partner or a husband can literally wake up one day, and decide that your relationship is over, and you have absolutely NO CONTROL over that.
Now I don’t think people should think of that possibility when getting married because it will ruin the magic of marriage.
However, you should always keep in mind that even the unlikely can happen so that you are not shocked if it happens.
Trying to control what your partner or other people might do is just a waste of time and energy and can really create unhealthy dynamics in your couple.
Instead, focus all your energy on being a strong person on the inside prepared for every situation in life.
It is a very empowering to realize that you can gain real control simply by letting go of the desire of controlling people and life circumstances and focusing on controlling yourself and how you react to them.
Realizing this was not immediate for me, it took me a while, but once I got it , I had my “aha” moment.
My outlook in life changed completely. I turned all my focus and energy inwards…working on fixing all my insecurities one by one, and developing my mental strength.
I was finally able to accept my husband rejection and moved on…and now I met someone new (something which I also did have not control).
So remember it works both ways, it can also surprise you.
2. What does not kill you makes you really stronger…if you use the energy that was meant to destroy you to grow
Life is a succession of experiences, some will be joyful, and some will bring a lot of suffering.
what many fail to realize is that a lot of this suffering has been caused indirectly by their own wrong decisions.
For example, If someone hurt you badly, there is a chance that this person showed you before what he or she is really about but you decided to keep him or her in your life.
Now that the suffering has taken place ( regardless of how it happened), there are really only two ways to react to it, you can feel sorry for yourself and find something or someone to blame, or you can decide to acknowledge your share of responsibility and decide to use this suffering to build resilience…
The only way you can achieve the latter is by focusing on what you can learn from the situation that caused the suffering rather than feeling pity for yourself.
When you shift your attention from your suffering to what you can learn from it…you can build tremendous mental strength…
You can learn how to detach yourself from your emotions which will help you see things for what they are rather than through your emotional state…it is tough, but when you get that, you become stronger.
They say that we learn more from our failures than our successes.
That is because the suffering from our failures is a far more intense and long-lasting feeling that happiness or satisfaction resulting from our successes…thus it captures all of our attention and forces us to pause and reassess ourselves ( that is why people with big egos never learn from their mistakes as they would usually never question themselves and their actions).
You will be wounded many times in your life.You’ll make mistakes,some people will call them failures but I have learned that failure is God’s way of saying,”excuse me,you are moving in the wrong direction…this way” Its an experience,nothing more,Just an experience really – Dru Edmund Kucherera
If you think about it, failure is just feedback from life…a feedback that what you did is wrong, that you are not on the right path.
Here is your chance to get away from a situation (It could be your marriage, your mindset, your bad habits…anything really) that does not serve you and design a better future for yourself.
3. Decide what is important and what is not in your life…and your marital status should not be on the list
When my husband left me, I thought I had lost everything I had…my husband, my status, my identity, my lifestyle, my dreams of having a family.
And it was a terrible feeling, I thought that there was nothing left for me to live for…
I took me a while to see that I had so many other things that I should be grateful for and that are far more important than just a relationship.
I still had my health, something that I used to take for granted, until I started having health issues, some of which were caused by the divorce, and I decided that I needed to make my health a priority, because if I lose my health, I cannot buy it back even if use all the money in the world.
I still had my family and real friends, who deeply cared for me and have showed me tremendous support throughout the divorce.
I still had myself and my ability to create the life I wanted even after being rejected by my husband.
So my advice to you is to take a moment to think of what is really important and what is not in your life, often you will find that you are chasing things which will be of no use if you lose what is really important.
4. Trust your intuition
This was a big lesson for me.
I have always been this very logical girl ( I went to engineering school) and all these intuitions talks sounded nonsensical to me, but my divorce was a very humbling experience for me…
I had to recognize that my intuition was always sending me warning signs about my relationship long before the separation…even before the marriage…and I kept just ignoring them…until it led me to where I am today.
So before even getting married, if you feel uncomfortable about the person, for whatever reason…Ask yourself why, don’t try to convince yourself of something or rationalize it just because you want this relationship to work so badly ( I know that we humans can be very self-elusive).
If you see red flags…speak to someone your trust and ask for their opinion.
I spoke to many people who went through separation or divorce, and they all tell the same story, that their inner voice was speaking to them and sending those warning signals and the majority of them chose to ignore it.
Your intuition is your strongest ally when it comes to matters of the heart.
5. Choose very carefully who you marry and have kids with
I just want people to realize that there is a world of difference between being in a relationship and being legally married.
That is because a marriage is a legal contract…and the breakup of a marriage has legal implications…
The same goes for having children with someone even when you are not married.
Unfortunately, a legal battle can be the perfect opportunity for a resentful estranged partner to make your life a hell on earth if they want to…simply by objecting any of your proposal to manage things amicably, or by using the court system and dragging legal proceedings…preventing you from moving on with your life…
I know that there are some couple who are mature enough to recognize when a relationship has broken down and just do not want to waste more time and energy in unnecessary hassle…but I have seen enough in court to know that estranged partners are not always that sensible.
So I strongly recommend anyone thinking to marry or have children with someone to measure the person strength of character before making such a major move in their lives.
You need to know the person you are dealing with before getting in bed with them…if things go well…happy days…but if not, you want to deal with a sensible person.
How do you measure people’s strength of character?
# You need to look at patterns from their past, they usually hold serious clues
people do not just become a certain way overnight…so if you see certain patters from the past like conflictual relationships, disloyalty , betrayal, you need to pay a closer look.
I am not saying that people do not change and do not deserve a second chance to be a better person…they do…but not everyone changes, and those who do, will usually not hide their past but be proud of how far they have come.
# The way they solve problems and deal with conflicts in their life
- Are they more the type who seek or amplify conflictual situations, or are they the type who seeks solutions to every situation that satisfaction to all parties involved.
- Are they the type of people who are always right or are they able to see the other party point of view.
# The way they make decisions
Do they take other peoples’ need and feelings into account when making a decision? Or are they more selfish and going after their best interest only?
Do they consult with other in order to have different points of view or are they too confident to do so?
These are all things that tell you much more about a person strength of character that the person will ever tell you in words.
When people show you who they are, trust them the first time – Maya Angelou.
Also, If you listen really carefully, people tell you unintentionally who they are and what they are all about. If you observe attentively, they will show you their true color.
6. Marriage is a study
We spend a lot of time thinking and preparing for the wedding, but absolutely no time learning and preparing for married life.
I don’t know if it is just me, or that there is a general assumption marriage is a natural thing for human beings…like we are born with all what is needed to be married…
Procreation is an instinct but marriage is not.
You are making the vows of spending the rest of your life with another human being…Every day of your life of which you have only one …the stakes are pretty high…
What makes you believe that you can be successful at it without some knowledge and practice?
Jim Rohn said, “if you want to become wealthy, study wealth, if you want to become successful, study success”
And I would like to say, if you want to have a happy marriage, study happily married couples…
Marriage is a study…you can ( and you should) study Marriage and married life.
People are not born knowing what it is like to share their life with another person…believe me.
Some people were just lucky enough to develop the required skills from other life experiences…and for the rest of us, we were not that lucky.
7. People do not change unless they really want to.
One of my biggest mistakes was to think that I could change my ex to fit a certain ideal I had in my mind.
The truth is that I could influence him, tell him what I want and share my point of view with him, but I COULD NOT CHANGE HIM no matter how bad I wanted it.
For him to change he had to see where the problem is to begin with.
When you want to change something in your partner that is part of who he is, like becoming more sociable when he is an introvert and does not like to invite friends over for dinner…he might do it for you for a little while but it will not last for long because deep down he will not be happy( as he will not be himself), and he will resent you.
This resentment will often reappear in form of conflicts in other aspects of your life as a couple.
So if there is something you really do not like in your partner, my best advice is to rather think if you can live with it or not and not bet on him changing.
Do not marry him and hope to change him with time…The only person YOU can change is YOURSELF.
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8. Your marriage should not be your identity, because if you divorce, you will lose who you are
Another thing that I come across so often is women who are proud to be “wife of” …
A woman can be proud of her husband, but deriving her sense of self from him and their marriage is a whole different thing.
Even when a woman does not claim to be wife of someone, she still feels that her marriage is part of her new identity…when it could be considered by her partner nothing but a legal contract.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still believe in true love and that marriage is much more than a legal contract in my eyes….but not everyone perceives it that way.
Some people simply do not believe in lifetime commitment, or do not really mean their marriage vows…
in other cases, two very nice people can find themselves in the wrong marriage too, just because they were too young when they made that move…
In any case, women and men should keep who they are separate from their marital status because divorce can happen.
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