What I wish I knew when I got divorced at 23
Do you ever wish that you could go back in time to give advice to your younger self? Was there ever a moment you could have used some wisdom from the future, whether it was after you had your first break up or on your first day of college? We want to hear about it: Pitch us lists of advice you have for our new section, What I Wish I Knew When, with the subject line WIWIKW at firstname.lastname@example.org. Can’t wait to hear from you!
There have been times in my life where I wished that my future self could sit down and have a chat with me, to talk me through some of the hard times and difficult choices I was facing. I would have given anything to have that future me by my side during the end of my marriage. When I got divorced, I thought my life was over. I was 23, and we had only been married for eight months. I was sure that even with all of our problems, we’d stay together forever. I thought wrong.
Though it has only been a couple of months since my ex and I split, I’ve gained more understanding and more wisdom than I could have ever imagined. People can grow and gain a better perspective on life in such a short amount of time. I guess you can say that I became my own voice of reason, though the voice only kicked in in the aftermath. This is what I wish I knew when my marriage was ending.
Healing takes time
There will be days when all you want to do is sleep, cry, or eat excessive amounts of cookie dough ice cream and wallow. That is totally OK. It takes time to heal, and you need to let yourself feel your way through it. The good news is that you totally will heal, faster than you might expect. But you need to give yourself time and space to grieve and grow and move on.
You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone
Your business is your business. Pick a close friend or two, and share your pain with them. Air it all out. But don’t worry about anyone else feeling weird about your choices.It’s okay not to share anything with anyone that you don’t want to.You have enough to go through without fretting about what other people are thinking. And the truth is that more people will be sympathetic than you think. It’s rare to go through your whole life without having your heart broken at least once.
Moving back in with your parents will actually be good for you
Coming back to live at your parents’ house will be weird, but it will also be wonderful. Take the time to embrace your family and all that they have to give you. Their main concern is your well-being and your happiness. Home won’t be the same as it was when you moved away; your family has changed, but so have you. It will be a different home, but home nonetheless.
You’ll spend a lot of time comforting other people
You would think that during this time you would be the one being comforted, but this will also be an opportunity for other people in your life to open up about their own relationship complications. You’ll spend more time than you imagined comforting other people and listening to their marital woes—like the lady at the nail salon, your great aunt, or even complete strangers you’ll meet at a dinner party. It’ll make you feel less alone.
Divorce isn’t a failure
A relationship is worth something even if it doesn’t last forever. Take the good things and the lessons you learned and treasure them. This is all part of the great journey that is your life, and you are far from a failure. Keep moving forward, a little wiser this time.
But really: You’re going to be OK
Maybe you don’t feel like it right now, but you will be OK. Maybe it’ll take a couple of months, maybe a year or even more. You’ll be surprised how quickly you spring back into action. There will come a time where this event seems like nothing more than a small glitch. One bump in the road should not discourage you. It’s all going to be fine, in time.
Leigh Hershkovich is a nomadic freelancer that makes her home in New York, Los Angeles, and sometimes in Israel too. You can follow her crazy adventures on her blog or by following her on Twitter @leigh_est.
[Image via Sony Pictures Classic]