This is a blog post from another blog that I used to write, that due to confusion with this blog I am shutting down and moving my better articles over here.  🙂

So I was sort of acting as impromptu counselor for a friend who is facing a separation/divorce.  And I will repeat what I have said numerous times.  Divorce is much different from a regular break up.  You stood before your entire family, you committed your life to another person, you had legal and financial obligations, you had to go to court to actually break up, you have a wedding ring, and on and on and on.   There is just such a perceived permanence to marriage, even with a 50% divorce rate.  If you were betting on a horse, a 50% success rate wouldn’t be so bad, so thinking you might stay together forever isn’t really that far-fetched.

Divorce is hell, I am still over a year from separating from my husband and I still have dark nights of the soul, crying fits for no reason, insomnia, and the occasional panic attack.  I am doing a MILLION TIMES better than I was just a few months ago, but it is still a daily struggle.

But I try to live by these very basic rules every day.  Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don’t, but I try and, trying is half the battle. This is sort of what I was telling my friend tonight (who shall remain nameless) and I thought it would be good to write it down.   I get a lot of “Think Positive and I think that is a lame way of saying “Be Happy for me there is a bit more to it, and I am breaking it down.

1. Don’t Dwell on what You cannot control – Like it or not, we cannot control other people.  I can’t control the main factor that lead to my divorce, so I have to let it go.

2. Get Rid of Crazy People in Your Life – Not exactly crazy people, but people that make me crazy or encourage crazy behavior, especially self-destructive behavior.  Sometimes this is impossible if it is a family member or a roommate but if you can avoid people who make you do crazy things, do it!  They might not even know they make you crazy or are actively trying to make you crazy…..but it doesn’t matter.  People that put you into CRAZYTOWN, should be avoided.

3. Do Not Hurt Yourself – Avoid the trappings that seem like an easy fix to a complex problem, drugs, alcohol, sex with people if it is in a self-destructive way, lashing out at loved ones and friends.  I don’t do any substances and for the most part have avoided dating, but I definitely find ways to mess up my life… me.

4. Surround yourself with supportive people – This one is hard with my crazy schedule but I try, I wish I could do this more often.

5. Focus on the Future not the Past – I think it is important to know your past, but not to dwell on it.  This is HARD especially while in therapy, because in therapy a therapist is usually trying to find a cause to the core problem.  I actually saw my future as a black hole when I left my husband.  I am still extremely uncertain what lies before me, but it is a little less black and more gray now.  🙂

6. Forgive yourself and others for past mistakes – This one is also very difficult for me especially.  I won’t get into it, but because of childhood issues, I have difficulty letting go of things and especially with forgiveness.  My biggest problem is forgiving myself.  I tend to beat myself up over things that I cannot go back and fix.

7. Ask for Help when you need it – This one is beyond hard for me.  It always has been, but I tell myself that I am a weaker person when I DON’T ask for help.  No one is perfect, everyone needs help sometimes.

8. Stop Saying “What if?” –  What if I had not dated so soon after leaving my husband?  What if I had left him earlier?  What if I had never married him in the first place?  Do these questions really do me any good?  NO, they just make me crazy.  And they will never stop, so I have to stop them…..I will never know the answer to WHAT IF?  So I have to stop asking!!!

9. Don’t ignore reality – When I start to spiral I say to myself, I have a great apartment, I am working, I am healthy, I have the best friends, supportive family, and the two world’s greatest cats, and compared to how a lot of people live in this world I have it pretty good.

10. It is going to get better – This has become a mantra I say to myself nearly nightly, although it is usually “It is going to be OK, It is going to be OK”  Life has a way of constantly changing, and even though things are bad now, they could very easily get better soon.

11. Find something that makes you really happy and do it – For me that is performing and more specifically singing and music.  One good thing that has happened through this whole mess is that I have re-found my love for singing that studying music had sort of beaten out of me.  🙂

12. Try to throw away the bad advice and take the good – I can’t tell you how much well meaning bad advice I have gotten.  It is extremely difficult at times to just let this stuff roll off of me, especially comments about my Ex-husband and judgments on myself and my marriage when the people giving the advice are uninformed.

13. When in doubt find my cats – They are pure love, they are furry, they purr, and they never let me down.

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2 comments on “Life After Divorce: Some Basics I try to remind myself of every day

  1. Tina

    Thank you. It’s been 2 years since my divorce and I never thought it would be this hard. I need to give myself a break. Your advice is great – I know I’m not alone.

    1. julietjeske

      Your comment made me cry. It’s been over two years for me and I still have days when I just get so down. We are not alone. There are so many other people going through this, divorce is hell, but we can survive it and be better for it. It just takes time and everyone heals at their own rate. Good luck to you! 🙂

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