the first year after divorce

i have a friend who has been divorced for about a year.  the legal process is final, the children's routines are settled, they have all, from the exterior view, survived the split intact.

but what i know, both because my friend tells me about it and because i remember it myself-- is that those first couple of years post-divorce are really intense.  everything is magnified-- and everything is overwhelming.  for me the process of ending a relationship that i had thought was going to be life-long meant changing EVERYTHING.  it was not just a question of walking away from another person, it meant re-ordering my very identity as well.  for fifteen years i had been the person who was with this other person.  for fifteen years my life revolved around his.  for fifteen years every step i took was, in some small or large way, conscious of my husband.  to change that meant to be adrift for a long time-- to be wandering in a sea of uncertainty, grief (oh, the grief!  crying every time i was alone for a few minutes-- deep wracking sobs unlike any i have ever experienced before or since...), and loss.  because it was not just that i lost my husband-- my best friend, lover, compatriot (for better or worse)-- i lost me.

probably the truth is that i had lost myself in the early years of the marriage, but i really hadn't noticed it until i was no longer in that relationship.  THEN i was aware that i did not know myself-- could not imagine who i was without that other person.

for me-- all of that took years.  it was a couple of years before i felt fully on my feet again.  a couple of years before i felt confident that i knew myself.  a couple of years before my life had really started to re-form into the shape it is in now.  now i still have periods of grief-- or another relationship makes me understand some other part of what happened between me and my husband-- and it can still be intensely painful.  but overall things have settled and i am at peace with what happened back then, and at peace with who i am now.

give it time...


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