Just as every marriage is unique, so is every divorce. Your neighbor’s cheating-husband story is different from your coworker’s. Your parent’s married-too-young story is different from your cousin’s. The forces that brought you together and pushed you apart are as complex and variable as you are. But at the end of your day in court, all divorces have the same, simple result: you shared a life with someone, and now you don’t. Here are a few other undeniable truths:
- Someone’s going to have to move out. The downside: You might end up with one table lamp, one candlestick and one end table. The bright side: one of you has to buy a new, memory-free mattress-and it may as well be you.
- Friends and loved ones will judge you, no matter what you do next. Stop wearing your wedding band before you hire a lawyer? They’ll say it’s too soon. Refuse to date until the divorce is final? They’ll think you should move on. Ignore the arched eyebrows (your naysayers really do mean well) and trust your own gut about what you need to do to take care of you.
- Your life is going to change, even if your address, income, and daily routine do not. Be open to new circumstances-that’s both the hardest part and the greatest reward of this whole ride. If you need to grit your teeth to do so, invest in a night guard and go with it.
- Your feelings will be hurt. Yes, even if the divorce was your idea. Part of separating emotionally is convincing yourself you’re better off without your partner-and then telling the other person exactly why you think so.
- There is no one reason why it happened. Not only is there your version, your ex’s version, and the outsider’s version (“Oh, anyone could see he/she was a tyrant in that relationship”), but there are also the hundreds of little truths that haven’t even occurred to you yet. Let it be okay that you never stop coming up with reasons, and that you’ll really know why, and you’ll find peace that much sooner.