Let’s be clear: it’s called a divorce. It is breaking up, tearing apart, letting go. It’s about not holding on.
You have to kiss your fairy tale or nightmare goodbye. Both hurt equally.
Divorce is like Death. The marriage dies. Life as we knew it is over. You feel shock, grief, anger and so much pain. There’s denial on many fronts. But eventually, you learn to accept and finally, one day, you stop feeling like a failure. Then you can finally move on.
Only two things matter: Dignity and grace.
Divorce is the worst hell you can be in. But I promise you it won’t kill you if you take it one day at a time, with every intention of not holding on. That’s the key.
Related reading: How to fight right in divorce
It’s over. Finished. You can’t or don’t want to be together, so search deep inside and find grace. And let go, of him, of her, of them. And keep your dignity.
I don’t care what you think, don’t take their money. They don’t OWE you anything! Their wealth is not yours once you leave him. Or if he leaves you. Think of it as dirty money, because you will pay for every penny with fear, anger, blood and tears. Get your children their due and let him and his money rot without you. Have faith in yourself, believe in Karma.
I got divorced when I had nothing. That year, I lost my father, my dog, my marriage, my home. It boiled down to what was most important: my little daughter. Nothing else mattered. I let the Ex have his house. I agreed to no alimony, no maintenance but sole custody. I held on to my little girl. Despite panic attacks, moments of pure fear at 4 a.m. while I watched her asleep in our rented home, I pulled through. I was blessed with wise friends who urged me to move on, to walk away and stop looking back. I started clean, and was blessed with a second chance. It was never easy, but oh it was so worth it all!
I met other women dealing with bitter divorces filled with abuse, alimony, acrimony, police cases, lawyers. Some of them took years to settle and find closure. By then they had lost a decade of their best years and their peace of mind had been corroded by the never-ending cycle of abusive ex-husbands, joint custody battles, recurring despair over money, property, visitation, holidays, birthdays, passports. And the social stigma, the ‘easy woman’ tag, the lewd passes. The bitterness when your best friends stop inviting you over because you are the rare single woman, dangerous and tempting to the menfolk.
I didn’t escape unscathed. Despite a mutual consent divorce, my ex had his tantrums over our daughter and his parental rights. I cried nights, I raged for days. Eventually, with regular counselling, I learned to let go even more and steel myself to only do what was right for her as a child, him as a father. I let go when he made foolish decisions that would affect her financially and had faith that I would be able to manage.
And I did. With help, with courage, I did.
My ex is happily re-married now and so am I. He is a good father. The rest is his life, his problem. I have no links left with him beyond our child. I don’t wait for his money.
Our daughter will be 18 next year. She knows she is loved by two moms and two dads. That’s all that matters. Everything else worked out once we both let go.
I only reached this place of peace with a lot of letting go. I wanted to be free of him in every way. I am an equal parent. I make my own decisions. He is in no position to challenge or dispute them. I still insist he takes some financial responsibility for our girl. She is his too.
She let go and found love again. (Radhika with second husband, a happy moment captured)
Once you decide to let go, walk away gracefully. Keep your dignity. Leave the baggage behind. You cannot open to new beginnings until you sever your ties to the past. Freedom is in the mind. Find your peace. That’s where you will find happiness.
I found love again.
I was free, truly free legally, then bit by bit financially, and finally emotionally. My fairy tale life wasn’t quite as I had imagined it but the new ending was more than I had dreamed of.
So here’s the bottom line: Letting go is not easy. It hurts. First you have to make up your mind and decide deep inside of you that this is it, it’s over, it’s done: no going back. You slowly and deliberately sever the connections. Don’t open the door to public pain and hurt. Change your routine, don’t react to messages and calls. Change your social circle, your hangouts, your married habits – physically, geographically and one day, emotionally. It’s great to have a buddy you can call when you are raging or distressed instead of rising to the bait and calling the ex for a rant, or for yet another heart-breaking, teary conversation. You find that fake smile, or the sphinx-face and keep it on in public. You don’t stalk him online. You drop friends who keep giving you his news, or lecture you about ‘making it work’. You stop crying over the ex to everyone and you definitely stop complaining about him. You make up your mind and harden your heart that it’s OVER.
Have a support group. Especially listen to the friends who don’t tell you what you want to hear, the brutally honest friends who will shake you till you gasp and bring you back to reality. You don’t rant about imagined or real hurts. You find a counsellor and deal with it. Healing takes time. No one feels brave or tough about being single but we have to convince our minds and be brave enough to get up and face the world every day. Do things that matter, especially when you feel your worst. Seek inside yourself and write, sing, paint, cook, meditate, exercise, slow down and breathe! Look after yourself. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself. You will have bad days and horrible days. There will be moments of pain and moments of humiliation, moments of regret and anger. Its ok! You’re human. Keep forgiving yourself. Above all, trust yourself. While it sounds cheesy, there is something karmic in all this and the way forward is to accept and learn from the experience so that you can move on with a fresh slate.
Does this resonate with you? How hard was it to let go? What helped you in your journey towards freedom from bitterness and the past? We want to hear about your transformation. Write to us and write for us. We’re waiting to listen.