Real Life exEXPERT: Leslie Kaplan
I wish I knew that I didn’t have to care about what people thought, and I wish I knew that giving up caring what people thought sooner would have made some things a lot easier.
Society seems to be stuck on the negative connotation of the verb divorce. Then again, it just may be in my head.
Many people associate it with failure or disappointment. Maybe it is for this reason that I refer to myself as single. Imagine all the ink that could be saved if, on all of life’s important documents, you simply had the choice to check married or single…not divorced or even widowed. Nonetheless, I do not feel like I failed at marriage. I am disappointed that the family unit is not one, but looking inward, I know I am more the definition of empowered rather than failure. Maybe I look at “divorced” peers and I see their need to be married defines them – completes them – regardless of whether they are happy or not. For me, I find this terrifying.
I think of the person who cannot for one moment be alone to drink their coffee, enjoy a meal or even sleep in their bed. I understand there is good news with the divorce rate declining a bit overall, however the marriage rate is declining too. Does this read that there is a growing sub-category of people that do not need to be married to be complete with their partner? Or does it mean that they’re happy being single? Maybe people are just slowing down to find the person that is their best friend, partner, and lover…or maybe it means all the above.
Post-divorce I have met many people – men and women – trying to find the right one. It looks like a frenzy of musical chairs. Everyone is swapping bed mates in the hopes that they won’t end up without a place to sleep at the end of the day. I’m fairly certain this is a recipe for ending up in the same boat you just climbed out of.
It is scary getting divorced, I cannot deny this, however it gives us the opportunity to communicate better and love deeper…with ourselves. This is the gift we need to give ourselves. I know it’s taken me a few years to thaw out from my marriage, to look inside myself to know what I want and need. My take-away is be who you want to be, say yes and no at your leisure. Get out of your head and society’s expectations of labels and timing. Don’t morph into what you think the next person wants you to be, and certainly do not compromise what’s in your heart.
Learn all you can that your spouse did previously that you took for granted. Whether it was cooking or managing the finances, hop to it! My husband had no idea where to find the mustard and now he manages to go to the grocery store…and I never looked deep into our finances and now I’m managing every nickel. Seek out people that are uplifting, those that you enjy, and can learn from. Don’t be afraid to purge the people that don’t help you with your journey. Most importantly, be single or be divorced, but be whatever works well for YOU!