My husband and I split up last October. There was no infidelity, just a relationship that no longer worked. (for him) He didn’t want to be married to me anymore and had no problem being honest and telling me straight out. Although it was devastating to hear, I am grateful that he had enough respect for me to be honest and end it.
I decided that we would have the “perfect” divorce. We would remain friends and still do things as a family and all those wonderful scenarios that you dream up in your mind and absolutely none are based on reality.
When December hit last year, it was rough. It was the season of “Firsts” — first holidays alone, first school break with /without the kids alone, first Christmas alone, first New Years alone — an extremely difficult time for me.
My friends and family were amazing and rallied around me. They all had such great intentions and it seemed as if everyone had their own words of wisdom for me on how to cope during the holiday season while my kids were away.
Here are some of my favourites:
1. “Take this time for yourself and enjoy the peace and quiet”
This was from my best friend who packed up her entire family (including husband) and went to Mexico for 2 weeks. She had no idea what being alone felt like and how the peace and quiet was the worst part!
2. “Make a plan! Get a calendar and fill your time with interesting things. Find a play, a movie just write it down and do it “
This one was hilarious to me. All my friends were married and NO ONE was around over the holidays. As much as I wanted to explore and go and do – I was depressed and miserable. The last thing I wanted was to be out and see people actually enjoying the holidays.
3. “Go away alone – just do it!”
Only someone who has never, ever been divorced or single over the holidays would say such a thing. Who in their right mind would actually PAY to watch happy families vacation during school break? I was depressed and feeling sorry for myself so this was not even a consideration.
4. “Take a warm hot bath and get great books to help you fill your time”
I didn’t want to take a bath, I wanted my life back!!! I couldn’t focus on reading or doing anything in my state. I was just miserable!.
There were many, many more that I won’t bother sharing but suffice it to say that I had enough quotes, ideas, and direction to last me all vacation long.
In the end, I did get through the holidays last year. I was sad, I was angry and to be honest I didn’t listen to one piece of advice that was given me. I somehow just coped and got through the days when my kids were gone as best as I could. Some days I didn’t leave my bed – didn’t even get dressed. What I learnt was that I had to do what was right for me and I had to stop listening to everyone around me – no matter how good their intentions were.
I am now approaching Christmas Break for the second year. I would like to say that I am great and I am happy and life is amazing since my divorce. But the truth is that its not. Although I have gotten over the shock of it all – my life has dramatically changed. My family has changed, my finances have changed, the ease of my life has changed. Most of all, I miss being part of a family, I miss having someone to take care of me and I find it hard to be alone. I have gone on a couple of dates but frankly I’m just not that interested.
I am trying to be patient and kind to myself – its only been one year. If my husband had died – there would be no expectations on me to be a fully functioning person just yet.
So in the spirit of complete honesty I will tell you that I am DREADING the holidays again – I DO NOT WANT to hear anyone’s words of wisdom (unless they have actually been through a divorce) and I don’t want anyone’s input on all the things I should and should not do.
I am sad that my ex gets to take the kids away on a great vacation while I can’t. I am pissed that he has a girlfriend and she’s going with and I am super pissed that I have to share my kids.
I will however suck it up, and pretend that I am just fine for my children, family and friends.
But truthfully the Holidays are not an easy time, especially for a single Divorcee!