When in the throes of a difficult divorce, it is hard to imagine that life may get better. One is focusing on losses and not anticipating that there are some gains as well. The adage “every cloud has a silver lining” does ring true. Post-divorce, many of us discovered that there were more silver linings than storm clouds, and there are perks of being divorced. One woman I interviewed, said that she is now “the CEO” of her house. She repainted, rearranged, and planted an extensive garden. Whatever she feels like doing (within her budget), she does it. When married, this woman had to run ideas by her autocratic spouse. Another person adopted a cat as soon as the divorce was finalized. Their former spouse had loathed felines. Men have echoed similar sentiments. They got back into sports, which was fun and resulted in a physically fit body.
Post-divorce instead of focusing on loss, think of life as a change with new opportunities to reinvent yourself. A divorced friend said that she is “captain of her own ship.” For the first time, she feels that she is totally in charge of her life. Steer your course on unchartered waters – possibly by changing careers. Some of us have become writers and painters in our newly solo lives. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, re-frame your thoughts to something more positive. I did not realize how drained I was during my marriage trying to please a hostile mother-in-law. The energy I exerted on her is put to better use post-divorce. My social life has expanded and I have time to volunteer. Think about relationships that consumed your time when married. Some of these individuals may be dropped and replaced with positive ones who are supportive. Being in a troubled marriage can divert attention away from the children. As one of the perks of being divorced, I was able to get to know my sons on a deeper level in my more relaxed state. When trying to hold things together in my unhappy marriage, I only asked the boys superficial questions. Becoming closer to my sons before the empty nest occurred was the most important perk of my divorce. Travel can be more spontaneous after a divorce when not having to match your time off from work with someone else. A few days ago, I met a divorced pal at a coffee shop. We talked about how one river cruise company was running a 2 for the price of 1 special with free airfare. Neither of us have been to Ukraine, and within a half hour we were all set to go on a river cruise around the Black Sea. This was a repeat from two years prior while sitting at that coffee shop, when we booked a river cruise through Germany. I do not have to check in with anyone else when making on the spot travel arrangements and grabbing bargain rates.
Yes, not having a double income is unsettling at times. My sons and I have attained wisdom after divorce and discovered that we do not need a lot of stuff or the latest technology. We prefer to buy minimally and savor experiences over material goods. Our priorities shifted. I have listened to so many stories from others about how divorce forced them to look into themselves and produce rewarding changes. Consider how your divorce can be a catalyst for making adjustments in your life and experience the perks of being divorced. If you are struggling, consider putting in writing what you are grateful for post-divorce. Jot down how life is better, no matter if it is trivial. Being able to avoid cooking meals by picking up healthy take away has made it on some divorced people’s lists. Writing in a journal is therapeutic. One can look back and see how they have healed or made progress. If you see only negatives, that is what you will find. If you choose to look upon the bright side of life, that is what you will discover post-divorce.