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Divorce: A Personal Journey

“Sometimes, the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to. It’s not for them.”

I am not sure who first said this, but when I read it on Keep Calm Network Ltd., it rang true. There is a time in everyone’s life when one journeys into new territory. For many, and perhaps for you, divorce is that uncharted territory. You will have experiences, conflict, and emotions that the people around you have never had. You will face choices they have never had to make.

Your closest friends and family cannot understand your path. Did your parents ever worry about parenting schedules, court ordered psychological examinations, or whether their kid’s bedwetting was stress induced? Probably not.

My friend Amy once called me crying after a fight with her mom about thank you cards. Amy’s happily married mother couldn’t comprehend how much energy it took for Amy to get out of bed in the morning, get the kids on the bus, then go to a job that doesn’t pay enough to cover her bills, only to end the day with a screaming match with her ex. Amy’s mother has the time to be concerned with social niceties like thank you notes. At 60, her mother is still concerned what other people think of her. For Amy, such worries would be a luxury. Instead, she worries about getting through the day.

Divorce may be the time when you realize that you have grown past your parents. After all, you have faced some of your worst fears and have come out stronger and wiser. You no longer “sweat the small stuff.” Don’t look to your family and friends to validate your decisions if they can’t comprehend the underlying questions.

You will go to dark places that no one can understand. The journey is purely yours. Even you divorced friends can’t understand your unique experience—they will project their regrets and fears onto you. Listen to their advice, but then let it go—knowing that they offer advice from a place of love, but also ignorance.

There will be lessons you need to learn on your own and times when you will need to defend yourself. But in the end, there will be hard-won rewards only you can claim. This is your journey, so let every step be your own.

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