If I could go back in time I would give myself the following heads up:
- You will need your friends and family more than you have your entire life. They will be your rock and your support system. They will listen and listen and listen until they can’t take it and then they will listen some more. These relationships are precious so don’t negate them.
- You will become so obsessed with your situation that you will only think of yourself. You will act like a narcissist but because your family and friends love and adore you they will indulge you until your back on your feet. Just so you know: Your story is not unique. Unfortunately it feels that way but there are a thousand awful stories and yours is just another.
Once your back on your feet you will forget who helped get you there.
- You will focus on your new relationship and negate those that stood by you. Be careful… If you don’t take the time to do the work and figure out your part in the dissolution of your marriage (and you always have a part) you will repeat your mistakes. It will be challenging for your family and friends to stick around for a second act.
- You will say that you are going to find a hobby or a sport to focus on. You might even do so but as soon as you meet that special someone you will drop all interest. Note to self…. Being happy is from within and not by being with a partner. Learn to be alone and be happy within yourself so that your next relationship stands a chance.
This self reflection comes after losing one of my closest friends post divorce.
She was my best friend since University and we had gone through everything together. Naturally she was the first person I called when my husband told me he wanted a divorce. I cried for months and months and she was always there at any hour of the day.
She pushed me to move forward, get therapy and not stay stuck. She encouraged me to try new things. Yoga became “our thing” post divorce. We met twice a week to do a class and then have dinner. I met some great friends at these classes and our weekly dinners expanded from 2 people to 6. Those nights were my salvation.
After a year, I met Bill and my best friend was so happy for me.
The problem was our weekly yoga nights turned into monthly, which ultimately turned into me not going at all.
I was very busy with my new beau: with his friends, his kids and pretty much his life. I really didn’t realize I was negating my own life and just felt that my friends were happy to see me happy and in love again.
After 8 months of dating Bill, and many unreturned phone calls and texts from my bestie, it became obvious my friend wanted nothing more to do with me. I would lie awake at night going over everything I had said the last time we talked.
My relationship with Bill has now hit the 2 year mark and has moved out of the honeymoon phase to a more calm state. I can finally slow down, reflect and understand the damage I have done. My best friend was there for me unconditionally, and I will never forget that. I took more during those years than I gave back. And sadly now, I can see now how she felt dumped once my life was back on track. She helped me navigate my feelings after being dumped by my husband and I turned around and behaved in a similar manner to her.
I don’t know if the damage to our friendship is repairable — some how I don’t think it is . But I will always love her and will always hope that one day I will have the opportunity to tell her all that I have learned.