It’s easy to get swept up in negative feelings during divorce. You’re separating in half a life you may have lived for many, many years. In addition to division of tangible assets, you’re likely also dividing precious memories and perhaps even friendships. But, remember: you got this. You’re on your way toward new memories, new experiences and a new version of you.
And there are other benefits to your divorce that you may not have realized:
A Chance to Realize Your Own Worth
Patricia Bubash, M.Ed. is a licensed professional counselor and author of Successful Second Marriages.
She married her 20 year old husband at the age of 16 ½, and the marriage lasted 15 years. When they divorced, she became the single mom to their three young daughters.
“During the years of my marriage, I deferred to my husband. As far as I was concerned, he hung the sun, the moon and the stars. Major decisions were his to make and, for sure, I was the ‘little woman.’
“I soon realized, once on my own, that I was a very capable person. My husband had not done much to boost my self-worth or self-esteem. He had me convinced that I was lucky that he would choose me as a wife. I was just not good enough.
“After we separated, I began to realize my own value, my ability to parent three children, maintain home ownership, find a teaching job and immerse in the community, I found that being divorced was a positive in my life, not a negative.
“Today as a former teacher and school counselor, I try to encourage young women to see their value, not to think that value comes from being part of a couple, but to value oneself. Having someone in your life is wonderful, but you need to complete yourself – not rely on someone else to fulfill you.”
An Opportunity to Pursue Your Dreams
Keenya Kelly was married in October, 2013 and began the divorce process in July, 2014. “I had to leave quickly,” she shared, “which left me homeless, living in a hotel room that my friends rented, with a few hundred dollars in the bank, and earning $22,500 a year at my job – and owning a car without heat.
“The #1 reason I am thankful for my divorce is that it caused me to revisit me! I’ve always been an entrepreneur and a go-getter type of person, but for some reason in my relationship, I lost my sense of drive, determination and excitement about life.
“Less than one year after leaving my ex, I landed a six figure job. Two years later, I launched my own branding firm and generated over $150,000 in the first 12 months. I like to call it: the $400,000 Divorce!
“Divorce is hard, and there is no easy way to go through it. But instead of focusing on my ex and the things I felt he had done wrong, I decided to focus on me! As a result, I’m happier, more in touch with my relationship with God, and financially thriving.”
Your Kids See You as Happier
If you have kids, chances are they are more in tune with what’s going on than you think. Children pick up on emotion, and it is quite likely they’ve seen how unhappy you’ve been in the buildup to and during the divorce process. But this is where the upside starts: now they have a chance to see the resilience, strength and happier attitudes of both parents.
“Your children can also enjoy more one-on-one time with each parent. Generally seeing happier parents makes for happier and more thankful kids,” says Melanie English, PhD, MSW, who conducts child custody evaluations and family mediation services. “A lot of parents say they stayed in the marriage for the children, but today’s kids are smart and savvy—they read emotions and know when Mom and Dad aren’t happy with one another. If Mom and Dad are happier apart, this is not a bad thing.”
This is a sentiment that writer Gabrielle Moss echoes in an article for Bustle. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she credits the separation as helping her become more adaptable. She’s also grateful that she didn’t have to witness them suffering through an unhappy marriage, but instead, got to know her parents as individuals.
Endless Ways to Reinvent Yourself
In an article titled “How I Became Thankful for a Divorce I Didn’t Want,” for DivorcedMoms.com, writer Margaret Dagles recounts the day she decided to stop crying about her divorce, and start living. She bought a used hiking backpack and took her child up every mountain she could find, and reconnected with her love of yoga.
“I’m thankful for being forced to find myself again,” she writes. “And through finding myself I’ve fallen in love with myself. And as much of a jackass as my soon to be ex-husband is, I want to thank him.
“So…horrible soon to be ex-husband, thank you. Thank you for putting me through the hell that led to my heaven on earth. I now know what real love is and the most important type of love…self-love.”