Getting divorced can be one of the toughest decisions you ever have to make, regardless of who instigated the split. Admittedly, it can be even harder when the decision is not yours.
Nine years ago when myself and my ex-husband made the mutual decision to separate, I felt as though my world was falling apart. I had a hard time letting go of the future that I had attached myself to.
People say that sometimes it’s not the other person that we get attached to but the idea of them. I never ventured into my marriage expecting it to end and I’m sure that you didn’t too. Sometimes people grow apart or we realise that our definition of marriage isn’t the same as our partner’s. Letting go and breaking away from a life together is one of the hardest things to be able to do and can take its toll emotionally, physically and mentally.
Steps to get over a divorce
1. Sell your wedding ring
Keeping hold of my rings was just too hard. Each time I looked at my engagement ring I was reminded of when he proposed to me on Christmas Day. Each time I looked at my wedding wing I was reminded of our wonderful wedding day, and each time I looked at my eternity ring, I thought of our Sri Lankan holiday. So, walking around the cobbled lanes of Brighton, I got quotes for each ring and when I sold them, I bought myself a new ring instead, a symbol of a new chapter in my life.
2. Book a flight!
They say not to do anything drastic in the first six months of getting a divorce. As soon as we separated, I was planning my travel (through the tears of course), and booked a flight to India. This was my opportunity to take off and see places that my ex had never wanted to see. I spent night after night deciding my route around the world. This was my saviour and I definitely recommend planning a trip even if it’s only for a week or so. Being away gives you the opportunity for some space and clarity.
3. Change your name
This doesn’t have to mean simply reverting back to your maiden name. Realising that I wasn’t the same person I used to be before I got married, I decided to reinvent myself. Having never had a middle name, I gave myself one. I was no longer the Lisa Eldridge that I had been before. I was someone new and I wanted my new name to reflect this. Take this opportunity to be the name that suits the new you.
4. Hand in your notice
Okay, so this one is a bit drastic but if staying in your hometown working at the same job is not really what you want, now you have the freedom to change it. If you never liked your job anyway, now is the perfect opportunity for a career change. On the day that I filed for divorce, I drove straight into work and handed in my notice. I cannot tell you how liberating that felt. I had one month left of my life as I knew it and I was ready for the next chapter.
5. Rid yourself of reminders
Holding onto reminders of your marriage not only keeps that energy with you but it also prevents you from opening the space for new to come into your life. I know how hard this is and it took me a while to gradually get rid of everything from my marriage. My first step was to put everything that reminded me of my marriage in the loft. Photographs, the video of our wedding, and my wedding dress, all went up there. Even the wedding invitation which I had kept and the words from our blessing. Put them out of sight until a day that you can look at them again.
Getting divorced gave me the chance to reinvent myself, and to find myself again. It was one of the hardest experiences I have ever had to deal with but I came through the other side and couldn’t be happier. After years of being part of a couple, I am finally comfortable in my own skin.