Ready to Move On After Divorce? Find Divorce Advice at Modern Shift
By Jeannie O'Coner
No matter how much of a positive spin we put on it, even the “best” of divorces is hell, and we all know it. Yes, you’re better off. Yes, now you can eat cereal for dinner and control the remote and not have to put up with shit from your shitty spouse, but it’s still an emotionally turbulent, expensive, chaotic, scary time, and you need a while to recover, to sit around and cry and drink and not have to see anyone, much less confront the disturbing prospect of dating again, this time in your thirties, forties, fifties, or worse. You thought all that was over with when you met “Mr or Miss right and got hitched, “for better or for worse”! But sooner or later you’ve got to get back out there, because you’ve got all your life to live, and all your love to give, and you will survive! How do you know when the essential recovery period is over and it’s time to put your Big Boy/Girl pants back on and re-join the Love Army?
1. You start to care about how you look again.
When my husband left me, I wore the same pair of my son’s grey, old-school looking, stretched out PE sweatpants with the school name on them and a huge, ripped, long-sleeved grey, NY Giants teeshirt every day, for about six weeks straight. This outfit was perfect for lying around crying, and when I went out (only when absolutely necessary), all I had to do was slip on a pair of ratty old UGG boots and a giant parka and I was all set. I showered fairly regularly but never blow-dried or put on a stitch of makeup to cover the bags under my eyes or blotchy skin, and wore my frizzy and/or greasy hair up in a clip. Did I go to the gym to maintain the abs I had been so proud of, Before? Ha. The only exercise I got was walking to the wine store and bending my elbow, or sometimes kicking things or beating my fists against the floor. But one day, I put on a touch of makeup, and then a few days later I did my hair a little, and then gradually started wearing real clothes again and doing the odd yoga class or brief run through the park. When I looked up from out of my gloom, I started noticing handsome strangers and even smiling at them. They smiled back, and just like that, I was back in the game.
2. You stop listening to your “Heartbreak Hotel” playlist and start listening to fun, party music again.
We all have a period of listening to sad songs, and hey man, that ain’t all bad: there’s something to be said for catharsis, after all. My friend’s shrink even told her she should spend 30 minutes a day listening to “Unbreak My Heart”, or “I Will Always Love You”, or “The Last Goodbye” in order to evince those cleansing tears, and God knows I took that advice. But then one day while walking, I listened to “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”, by the White Stripes, and found myself strutting down the street like a rockstar, mojo fully back in force. Again, people noticed, and I noticed them right back, Honey!
3. You stop wanting to shove happy couples in front of the crosstown bus.
During that horrible, wretched six weeks, I wanted to murder all the Smug Marrieds I saw, all over the place, kissing or holding hands or mooning away at each other sickeningly. They seemed to be rubbing their happiness in my tear-stained face, and I loathed them for it! Rather than drawing hope from their luuuuuurrrrvve, it was evidence of my own failure and inability to keep my own love story from hitting the skids. Then one day on the subway, I thought, “awwwww”, at a sweet-faced couple gazing into each other’s eyes, “ain’t love grand”. And the Grinch’s heart grew 12 sizes that day!
4. Your kids suggest maybe it’s time to start dating.
My children, never huge fans of my canoodling with my ex and cynical scoffers at the thought of my being a creature capable of strong feelings toward anyone but them, began urging me to get back out there. “Mom”, my teenage daughter said, “there’s this thing called ‘tinder’ now; maybe you should get on it? All my friends’ dads—and my friends-- think you’re a MILF.” She even gave me fashion advice once I let go of the sweats, but what meant the most to me was that she just wanted me to be happy again, and have some fun. Her nudging was a backdoor way for a sweet message to slip through.
5. You’ve gone through all of your Netflix watchlist, and The Mindy Project is on hiatus.
I am a fan of British murder mysteries, and during that post-breakup period, I watched all seven seasons of Prime Suspect and basically every series broadcast in the UK between 1990 and 2014. Then I moved on to the few American shows that could either hold my interest or make me laugh, and when I ran out of those, I had no choice but to sign up for online dating. Talk about entertaining!
These are good indicators, but you may have a separate set of your own. Trust me, you will know, and trust me, it still won’t be easy. You are bad-ass and unbreakable after living through all that pain!
You GOT this, babe!
Find Life, Friends,and Community Afte Divorce At Modern Shift