Divorce can be such a traumatizing event that lingers as it penetrates every facet of your being. Every part of your life is completely different and the effects of your divorce can be felt by friends and family. This is a touching story from a contributing writer for the Huffington Post about rebooting after divorce.
re-boot: to restart.
It took a long time for me to re-boot post-divorce.
December, 2015 was the last time I had to appear in court or a lawyer’s office…
…I had filed for divorce in December of 2009.
Six years of fighting for what is right (i.e., my ex paying child support and splitting our property in half; he didn’t want to do either) is long, tedious, tiring, and sometimes demoralizing. I spent more of my life in a courtroom, lawyer’s office, and on the phone with said lawyer than I care to really think about.
Although the first couple of years were so hard and so draining, the best thing I did for myself was to legally change my last name to one *I* chose. It was really my first step to taking back my life. It wasn’t about anyone but me, myself, and I. It was a gift to myself.
The next year or so, I began to come out of the fog and re-boot my life. It really did feel as though everything had been on “pause” during the divorce; but of course it wasn’t, and Life has a way of going on about its own business. I had a lot of catching up to do.
I began making decisions, tentatively at first and nothing too big. As I regained my confidence, I made bigger and bigger decisions. I had strong allies in my two best friends, a great therapist, and several other people who have become very important to me. And as T and I began looking at adding him to our little family, I was deciding what I wanted my future to look like for the first time in a long time.
And suddenly I discovered I was happy!
I truly hadn’t felt that way in years. Not just being content, and certainly more than getting by. Actually happy. What a revelation!
groove: a settled routine, situation, or an activity that one enjoys, or to which one is especially well suited; a very pleasurable experience; something that is sustained in a distinctive, regular, and attractive way; performing exceptionally well.
Summing it up like this makes it sound much easier than it was. Ask anyone who was on the journey with me, it was hell: full of setbacks and unfair rulings by the first judge; harassment by my ex and his lawyers (he went through five); and to top it all off, crazy and impractical decisions by the Friend of the Court (who had never had children of her own), who decided that putting a 10-year-old on a plane twice a month to fly across the country unaccompanied, year-round, was somehow in the child’s best interest.
Fortunately (and I say that with much thought behind it), my ex decided he didn’t want anything to do with Z, and stopped all contact with him once the divorce was final: it turns out Z was nothing but a pawn to him to use as leverage against me. Difficult to swallow, yes. But even more heart-wrenching to watch my son realize. But a relationship with ANYONE is only a good relationship if it’s HEALTHY, and my ex did everything possible to poison that one. Z has since moved on (with love and support from his family and friends, and the help of a really good child psychologist), and is happy, healthy, well-adjusted, and successful in all the ways that matter in a child’s life. And to him, T became “Dad” early on, so it turns out he’s not missing anything after all.
So that was one of the first parts to my getting my groove back: making sure my son was ok. The next part was finding some kind of “normal” for us, and that came in with T. He naturally became part of our everyday lives, even when he was across the country. Later, when we decided to buy our house together, I think all of us felt the security that can only come from a real Home with the people you love most.
The last part for me was embracing the dream of writing full-time. I love writing my weekly column; I love writing the stories for the magazines and The Huffington Post, and our local newspaper. And even if my novel never becomes published, at least I will have given it my best shot!
Never easy, but always worth it, I’ve fought to rebuild my life the way I want it. I used to feel “the other shoe” was always about to drop, but somewhere along the line, that thought was discarded by my subconscious as more happiness poured in. I don’t expect Life to always hand me the win — but I also no longer expect it to hand me defeat at every turn. And I know I deserve happiness and even prosperity if I’m willing to work for it: people I love (including the furry ones), work I enjoy, a home for it all. In short, this is my way of saying “If I can do it, anyone can.”
I used to think that Ctrl+Alt+Del was something to dread, that it signified something awful was happening (“Oh my god, I’ve got to re-boot!”). But it’s not: gaining control + choosing an alternate path + deleting the worthless is a BEAUTIFUL thing! That’s my groove.