I begged her to stay and she insisted that it was over and she was going to leave!
That was 6 years ago. For years we were unhappy, just going through the motion, it was like living with a delinquent sister only worse, this was my wife.
I would feel anger today, numb the next and so my emotions kept moving between the two.
Over the past month, I’ve been reflecting on the last six years since my separation and divorce. I can say without a doubt, I have honoured the promise I made to myself when the divorce was final—I set out on a journey, a mission to finding love after divorce and I’ve found that love, within myself. Listen to this podcast of another’s journey.
The man I was at 47 is unrecognizable to me, as the man I am now, at 53 (it feels like three lifetimes ago). I act different. I feel different. I look different—I’ve transformed. My transformation was dependent on my independence; I had to release myself from the safety net of my relationship.
The most difficult part of ending a marriage, is leaving behind the companionship and partnership (fulfilling or not).
We know what these things are about, comfort of paying bills together, someone to talk to if there is an emergency in the middle of the night, I could go on and on.
If there is anyone who has made more mistakes over the past few years, it is me. Yet, all those mistakes have led me to a sound place, a calm place, a place where love has found its way in and out.
For all the men who have boldly gone where now 50 percent of the population has gone, I want to offer some insights as you embrace your new life, and I do know that more women are reading this blog more than the men, nevertheless, it can be applied to both.
1. Be celibate for a while.
You will be tempted in running wild, it is like a starving man who suddenly is dropped in the middle of buffet, the problem with that is, he could choke himself to death. This is the way of the spirit after a break up. It’s like letting a horse out of a stable, frustrated with the restraints. Let her out, let her gallop. She will tire eventually, return to a trot and go back to the stable to rest.
You will need time to process all of your experiences, so being alone and focusing on yourself is an organic progression on this path.
Do not lose the connection to your sexuality during this time—snuggle up to the loneliness. Curl up to the loneliness almost to the point you forget, yet miss what it’s like to have the weight of another person around you, and just enough time, to feel content in your solo life; that you contemplate staying single forever, but know you could never become a priest/nun.
2. Take a solo trip.
If you have kids, get a sitter. If you work, go on your one day off. Don’t make excuses about why you can’t go on a trip by yourself. Drink a bottle of wine in your robe on the balcony of your hotel room. Read a good book. Go to restaurants and eat foods you would never allow yourself to eat before. Put your phone away and romance yourself and your surroundings. Pay attention to what is going on around you.
Explore a new city or a new country.
Go lay on the beach all day and get sunburnt.
Go to the mountains and hike until panic starts to set in, and you think you are lost.
Sit in the park—and strike up a conversation.
Until we are alone, we don’t realize how much we isolate ourselves from the world when we aren’t alone—when we are part of a couple. We hyper-focus on one another, not others around us. However, the others around us can offer just as much support, if not more than our partner.
Build a relationship with adventure and the people you meet along the way; they’ve all got something to teach you.
3. Learn something new or do something different.
Take a class. Pursue the degree you’ve always wanted to. Apply for the job you’ve always wanted and quit the one you hate.
There’s a treasure to be discovered—your passion. You will find it, because you are looking for it.
Finding your passion is like marrying the woman of your dreams, but it’s even better than that—your passion will never divorce you.
4. Expand and contract your friendship circle.
For those of us who were married for extensive periods of time, female friends were non-existent. There is value in platonic friendships with women. They offer a different perspective, necessary as you explore the single life.
We have a tendency to keep distance in our friendships when we are in a relationship or marriages, because of our priorities and lack of time to do it all. You’ve cleared space now; turn to your friendships and give them your time. The bond between women is invaluable. After this, you will never take them for granted again.
Divorce is like ripping off a blindfold–you will learn who your true friends are immediately. The way to know if a friendship is true, is to make mistakes, hit rock bottom or get divorced. Got to give a shout out to my female friends, Chanelle, Francine, Marie, Paula and Marja.
The ones who stick around—those are your friends, keep them close. If a person who is not blood related stands by your side when you are in the dark, you can be certain, they really love you. Love them back.
5. Try a relationship on for size.
Try having a relationship, when you are ready. Observe how you feel. Fall in love and be prepared for heartbreak.
The first person you fall in love with after your spouse, is as intense as your first love. They are usually the opposite in character of the person you were married to. During this relationship, explore yourself and your boundaries, mess up, do all the wrong things and see what works and what doesn’t.
I think this first relationship after divorce, is a rite of passage. There is always that person, the person you meet in between your old life and your new life, who teaches you the most about yourself. The person who prepares you, for you; so you can move on completely and begin again.
If you are anything like me, you missed out on your entire twenties–the era of dead-end dating, one night stands, failed relationships and a closet full of wisdom to wear.
We need time to catch up with everyone else, so dive in and just know you will always come out the other side, no matter how painful it is.
6. Go to therapy.
Talk with someone who is not your friend, not your father, not your aunt and preferably has a degree hanging on their wall. I know it was the hardest thing for me, but when he said, “your relationship failed, you didn’t fail” it was the best words I had heard in a long time.
We all have unresolved issues and traumas, even if we don’t think we do. We all need someone objective to sit and listen, offer advice, a healthy perspective and validate our perceptions.
You will need and want to process the experiences you have on your adventures.
7. Fire your desire to claim absolutes.
I swore I would never date this, that and the other and guess what? The person who is perfect for me, is all the things I said I never wanted (because I didn’t know what I wanted; I didn’t know who I was).
Open your gate, let down your guard and be prepared for anything. This willingness to accept things or people you never thought you would, will expose your heart and invite love in you never knew existed.
There is no deadline on this journey. We don’t need to hurry. We can take as much time as we need.
Enjoy this adventure while it lasts, because life will surely settle in again. You may even get married again, and look back on this space between as the most precious time—when it was just you. You married yourself, became your own partner, held your own hand, went to movies with yourself, travelled with yourself, shared meals with yourself, zipped your own zipper; you became your own date, bleached when you wanted, and fart as loud as you wanted, and it feels good to me.
Maybe, you will reflect on the time you spent alone, as the most petrifying and liberating period in your life.
I sure do, it was all worth it; no regrets.
by Baron Anderson (Editor of Relationship Guide Review)