A decade of freedom

by Dating Goddess on April 18, 2013

Ten years ago today my husband of 20 years announced he didn’t want to be married anymore. I took it hard.

I now call that day “The Great Awakening.”

It’s amazing how much one can grow in a decade if one is willing to accept what is and not be bitter. I admit it took me a while to see the dissolution of my marriage as a blessing, but it is. I have subsequently met interesting people and traveled without an anchor. I have embraced opportunities I wouldn’t have if I’d still been married. And I’ve learned a lot about myself.

Every negative experience in our life is an opportunity to learn and grow if we approach it that way. But it’s not always easy to get to that perspective if you feel you’ve been wronged. However, letting go of that resentment and victimhood is the first step toward creating an even better life.

I’ve learned that as good as my life seems at the moment, there are even better experiences around the corner if I’m willing to explore them. But when you’re happy with what you have, even knowing some aspects of your life aren’t optimal, it’s hard to pursue new experiences.

I’ve now gone out with over 100 men, most of whom were nice and kind; some of whom were interesting; and a few of them were good matches for me. I would have never met any of them if I were married. I’d never had explored what I wanted my life to be like and who I wanted to share it with. I’d not have traveled as frequently and for as long, meeting new people and making new friends along the way.

Does this mean I don’t want to find my Mr. Great? No. I’d love to find a sweetheart with whom to travel the globe and make a difference in others’ lives. Ten years is a good chunk of time to explore what you want and diligently search for it. I’m clearer now than I was a decade ago, yet still willing to accept what unfolds.

What have you learned about yourself and life since your divorce? Share your lessons.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz April 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm

That freedom is actually quite wonderful. That I can go anywhere and do anything with anyone I choose — when the feeling is reciprocal — at anytime I find the time. This is with girlfriends, family, men friends, boyfriends, new friends. Of course, the opportunity either presents itself or I seek it. I am a working gal and if I want something, I purchase it — whether it is a vacation or new windows for my house. I never wanted the divorce back in my mid 30s but now with 20 years of divorce behind me, it is absolutely true that life is what you make it. In fact, right after my divorce 2 decades ago I told myself I have a second chance in life and was very curious to see what lies ahead. I still am!

Katie April 21, 2013 at 7:52 am

This is a very thought-provoking question. The very first thing I learned was that I was resilient enough to survive the most devastating event in my life. I learned that healing comes, in fits and starts, as one embraces one’s loss. I learned that girlfriends are a vital part of the healing process. I learned to let go of pain. I learned that it is possible to re-invent oneself, to re-discover the woman I used to know and love but who had become subsumed by an unkind, unloving man. I learned how to chase my dream, not just timidly follow it — a major career change that took me 1300 miles from home and family. And there, only there, did I learn that — when I least expected it — an honorable, selfless, humble, handsome, intelligent, kind man was waiting to find me. The years of growing and healing and self-examination have been worth every moment. I am healthy, vibrant, and without regrets.

Dating Goddess April 22, 2013 at 1:19 am

Liz and Katie — thanks for sharing your thoughtful, wise insights. I know we all appreciate your brave comments.

AS May 1, 2013 at 6:53 am

It must have been hard for you after 20 years of marriage but congratulations on turning this around to a positive experience rather than dwelling in the past and being bitter!

Val May 14, 2013 at 4:41 am

This is such an inspiring story! I can only imagine, it would have been so hard at the start. It does go to show that good things are waiting for us around the corner if we are willing to take a look.

Diane May 16, 2013 at 11:47 am

My close friend went through a very traumatic divorce. When her husband left her for another younger woman. She was so devastated I feared for her well being. Her confidence, and self esteem was rock bottom, She virtually hid herself away from friends for more than 6 months.

One day she just phoned me up and said ‘That’s it, there are no more tears left, I’m starting over’. That was 7 years ago and she now has a flower shop and has been seeing someone for a year now.

Her transformation is amazing. She used to be controlled by her husband, and was always checking to see that he approved of everything she did.

Now she seems so strong willed, energetic, and eager to learn new things, as if making up for lost time and opportunities.

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