Generally speaking, divorce sucks. I don’t think you’ll hear many people say, “The year I got divorced was the best year of my life!” In fact, most divorcees will say it was the worst year of their lives. Lawyers, custody schedules, division of possessions. Yeah, I could sit here and list all the things that suck about divorce.
But I’m not going to.
Instead, I’m focusing on the list of positives about divorce. After all, that’s why I got divorced – to change my life for the better, to go after those positives waiting for me on the other side.
Four years ago, I wrote a post for Blue Star Families about the upsides of deployment. I felt like military spouses sometimes got so caught up in the negative aspects of deployment that we were making that difficult time even worse. But reminding ourselves there’s a silver lining hidden within just about any tough situation, including deployments and divorce, can help us get through it.
So today, like four years ago when my husband was deployed, I’m going to find the silver lining. (And the positives of divorce are actually oddly similar to those for deployment.) Here are my…
Top 10 Upsides of Divorce
10. I can decorate my home how I want. When my ex-husband and I were dividing our possessions before I moved out, I realized how different our decorating tastes are. (An upside to that is that I don’t think we had a single argument about who was keeping what.) When I moved into my new home, I decided it was time to surround myself with colors, art and furniture that showcased my preferences.
9. I eat what I want. I love food, and I love to cook. Unfortunately, my former husband and I didn’t always share the same tastes in food either. If there were meals I liked that he didn’t, I usually only cooked them for myself when he was traveling for work. Now every meal is a meal for me.
8. No. More. Snoring.
7. I can pursue my career. Throughout my marriage, I put my career on hold so my former husband could pursue his. I’m grateful for his military career for so many reasons, especially the fact that it led to mine. But now I no longer have to worry about how his career (e.g., PCS moves) will alter mine.
6. I’m no longer modeling a certain version of love and marriage to my children. One strong motivation for me to get divorced was the fact that I didn’t want my children to grow up believing that’s what love was, that’s what marriage was.
5. I have financial independence. Money may be tight for now, but I’m actually saving money. I always joked that my former husband was the spender and I was the saver, but I don’t think I had any idea how true that statement was until after we split and my name was the only one on my checking account. I now have complete control over my money and where it’s going.
4. I feel like I’m a better mother. Sure, I have my days when I feel guilty for turning my son and daughter into “children of divorce,” but most days I think the divorce may have caused me to be more involved and attentive to their needs and emotional well-being. I think that’s partly because of everything I read about how divorce affects young children and partly because I treasure the time I have with them. I’m still not used to not having them around when they’re with their father. My leisure time with them is limited, which is why I treasure things like our nightly reading/cuddle time in my bed, our Friday night Chick-Fil-A/Redbox movie, and now that the weather is warmer, our daily after-dinner bike rides.
3. I have an independence and freedom I haven’t had in a very long time. I’m making my own decisions. I’m doing what I want. I’m finding happiness on my own terms. And I’m no longer living in someone else’s shadow.
2. With that independence comes a new sense of empowerment. I don’t need a man to pump my kids’ bike tires or hang a picture on the wall. I’m doing things I never thought I’d do. And it feels amazing.
1. Divorce has made me wiser and more self-aware. By the end of my marriage, I had no idea who I was anymore. I allowed my identity to get lost somewhere along the way. But no more. My journey through the separation and divorce has forced me on a path of self-discovery I wish I had stumbled upon years ago. I’m now wiser about who I am, what I want, what I don’t want, and what I deserve out of life.