Once you come to realise that your marriage is over and will eventually be confined to the realms of history, once you get through the denial, the anger and recriminations and even the forgiveness (if a: there is any forgiving to be done and b: you are willing to give it), assuming you don’t come out the other side angry and bitter, the whole process will change you on the most profound level.
It makes you reassess your own life. I once thought that once I had met my ex-wife and we were clearly happy together, that I would not want anything else so long as I got to wake up next to her every morning for the rest of my life. That was a solid foundation around which I had built everything. It’s natural to do that, you’ll sacrifice things for the person you love but when that is gone and largely because of their betrayal, it makes you reassess what it is you want. I don’t know if I will ever marry again, and that’s ok but that doesn’t mean that all I want to do is sleep around or go from one short term relationship to the next. If I get married it will be to the right person and when I am ready.
You become far wiser about the things you want and the things you want to avoid and you become far wiser about identifying them: your criteria for selecting your next partner (should you want one) will be that much more defined. You will walk away from things that you once accepted as a natural part of a relationship.
Life becomes far more about you. It needs to be because you have just been severed from a very big part of your life. Get busy living, do things, resurrect neglected friendships, take up new skills. Not only will you make new friends but the self-esteem value of cultivating new interests – whether that is running or other sport, cooking, taking a nightclass or even starting a blog! If/when you do meet somebody else, you are not going to want to give them up and nor should you. If they were the right person for you they wouldn’t ask you to either
You become more cynical about relationships, and not necessarily in a bad way. The scales have dropped from your eyes and you are more accepting that there will be major problems in any future relationships you might have. You will expect things to go wrong and it won’t be the end of the world. You will be more likely to walk away if you feel there is all take and no give
You know you’ll have the strength to walk away next time because it’s happened once and it didn’t destroy you. You know there are worse things than being single, and that’s being in a toxic relationship that is on a free-fall to destruction. Being single and divorced will never again be worse than feeling tied to somebody who no longer wants to be with you, seeing that they are so distant yet so far is the worst thing imaginable. I once told my ex-wife that when things started to go wrong, that I died inside a little every time I looked at her… and that was true then.
You take your time choosing the next one because you are in no rush to get married again. Even though I did get a little glum a few times last year at my singledom, particularly when Ubergeek got back with her ex and Mischief turned flaky, I knew deep down that I wanted to take my time to meet the right person and make the right choice. That’s why I found it so easy to give up on Indiechick at getting nothing back from her.
You stop letting people take advantage. This is sort of tied to putting yourself first but part of my waking up was realising that my “friendship” with Miss X was only ever one way. It took me a long time to identify her selfish behaviour and in so doing, it made me realise how repugnant the “take, take, take” approach to relationships is to me.
To all the divorcees out there, male and female, there is life after divorce but you have to live it. You cannot control how your ex spouse might have treated you, but you can control how you react to it and you can control where you go from here. Accept the changes, move on and become a better person for the experience.