I love my life.
And I’m also incredibly sad about my life at times.
Let me explain.
I left my ex-husband five years ago, as a result of domestic violence. I was in an incredibly unsafe situation, which had evolved from years of mental and emotional abuse. Over the span of about six months, this rapidly escalated towards an imminent threat of physical violence, until one night he threatened to kill me in front of my daughter. She was 1.5 years old at the time.
Leaving my ex-husband was absolutely the right decision, and I have no regrets about that choice.
Since then, I have built an incredible life.
I’m a mental health therapist and life coach, and had started a private practice just prior to starting my divorce. Since becoming single, my practice has grown to a thriving business, and I’ve achieved and sustained my dream of being self-employed. I am financially stable – something my ex told me consistently I’d never be able to do without him – and I am traveling more than I ever have in my adult life, which brings me so much joy.
I own a beautiful home, which I’ve fully renovated, and my daughter is thriving. She has evolved into a powerhouse 6-year-old and is the most brilliant diamond of a human I have had the privilege to know.
My friendships have significantly changed, for the better, since my divorce happened. I now have a small, but incredibly loyal and close group of humans in my chosen family. They are gifts.
There are so many other good things; too many to list in one sitting.
So, if everything is so good, you’re probably wondering what I have to be sad about.
Before I go further – this is not a plea for pity.
I don’t feel sorry for myself, and I would never, ever want anyone else to feel sorry for me either. My choice to leave was the right one, and I stand strong and proud in that decision – like I said earlier, no regrets.
This is simply an examination of how emotionally confusing and complicated the fallout of divorce actually is.
Divorce is one giant ball of irony, wrapped in the shape of a happy, fresh start.
I love my life – I’ve worked so hard to create it. And yet, this is not the life I signed up for.
I was raised to believe in the value of being true to my word. My friends have all given me feedback about how I operate, always, from a place of integrity. If I say I’m going to do something – you better believe I will do it.
I made a promise to a man, that I would be loyal to him for the rest of my life. He made the same promise to me.
And then he broke it.
Being in an unsafe situation was an absolute deal breaker, which is why I left.
And today, five years later, I am living a great life, but I am living it alone.
I’m lonely for companionship. Creating, building, and nurturing all of the amazing things I’ve done in the last five years has been amazing. And I was supposed to be doing that with a partner.
It leaves me sad.
It’s important to note, especially since I’m a therapist, that I’m not depressed.
Sad is human; depressed is clinical. This is an important distinction we don’t make in our language and descriptors often enough.
I’m just sad. Not always. Just sometimes.
Divorce comes with so many different things to grieve.
The idea of who you thought the partner was.
The loss of the life you thought you were supposed to live.
Grief is like a wave; it flows in and out, rising and falling with each cycle of the tide.
We can decide to sit at the edge, letting it lap at our feet, understanding it will come and go, while also focusing on the beauty around us; or we can wade out into it, and get caught in the undertow.
I’m simply at the edge of it.
I feel it…. The constancy of it; the subtle pulling.
And yet I’m simultaneously aware of the incredible privilege I’m surrounded by, of having rebuilt my life in joyous ways, on my terms.
Divorce is both joy, and sadness.
They are equal, yet opposite, parts of the same experience.
They are both necessary, and it is an important lesson to learn, in how to embrace both parts.
So today, I choose not to resist my sadness.
I will not allow myself to get caught in the undertow; but I will not force it away either, because tomorrow is a new day.
Tomorrow can be a day of joy.
If you are divorced or going through the expiration of a relationship – please allow yourself to feel. It’s confusing. It’s murky and mucky. And it’s also beautiful, and joyful, and so many other good things.
Try not to force any one part of it away. Let each part be, to breathe, and each part will figure itself out.
Focus on self-care, resting physically, mentally, and spiritually when you need to.
And then get back up, and put one foot in front of the other.
It’s ok to be sad.
Just remember – tomorrow can be a day of joy.