I have been going through a really tough period over the course of the last few months, and it got so bad that I finally did one of these:
I have been going through a really tough period over the course of the last few months, and it got so bad that I finally did one of these:
Trash the Dress member Diana is a mom! She gave birth to this beauty, Scarlett Rose on March 3rd and happily reports,”She’s absolutely perfect!” Diana continued, “I love her more than I imagined was possible. She has the best daddy ever, and he will become my husband in June. Without my divorce I would have never met the greatest man I never knew existed, and would have never had the opportunity to meet my daughter. There is SOO much life after divorce, just one step/day at a time.”
Ladies, let this photo inspire you during your divorce process. Your new life is just beginning.
Trash the Dress member Tara recycled her old jewelry into wearable gems. The photos above details how she upgraded her high school class ring with her wedding band and then had her engagement ring made into a pendant.
Love this idea!
In my book, “Trash the Dress: Stories of Celebrating Divorce in your 20s,” young divorcees speak out about why they got married and divorced and how they celebrated their new beginnings. In our new “Where Are They Now?” column of this website, catch up with twenty-something divorcees as they share details of their fabulous post-divorce lives years later.
How old were you when you divorced? 28
How old are you now? 29
Do you feel like you truly moved on from your divorce? If so, how long did it take you and what factors contributed?
I don’t think im 100 percent moved on. There are still a lot of triggers for me: cigarette smoke, the smell of liqour, and a couple other things, but I will definitely say I am in a much better place than I was when I was going through the divorce.
Is there anything you learned along the way that you wish you knew back then?
Listen to my gut. And as annoying as it was, to listen to people around me that had been divorced and knew deep down that I probably needed to get divorced.
Have you accomplished any particular goals since your divorce?
Yes, I quit my job at a facility I was unhappy with and moved back home to CA with my daughter.
How did you manage financial struggles (if any)?
Luckily, I had help from my parents that fully supported my divorce and at the time I was making decent money.
What were your biggest fears about divorce and how did you deal with them?
Being alone most definitely. I still have issue with it, but I’m learning day by day that it’s ok to go out and do things and be by myself while I do them. And going to therapy really helped
Did you divorce through a lawyer or did you DIY divorce (and if so, how?)
I luckily had a very very good and hardcore attorney. I hated that it had to be that way but my ex-husband made it very difficult for a while.
Are you living in your own place?
I used to, but leaving my career and going back to my home state I currently live with my parents.
Are you single or in a relationship?
Single! I am definitely not ready for that yet.
How did you conquer post-divorce dating fears?
I haven’t started dating yet. I’m too worried that they will all be alcoholic abusers and that makes me sad that I feel that way.
Advice for new divorcees?
Stay strong. There is a reason that this is happening. Whether you are the divorcee or the divorcer, it’s in the plan for your life. You just have to hold on! And, in my opinion find a good therapist or counselor.
How are you celebrating post-divorce life?
Being me! Doing the things I like, eating the foods I like, and being the best mom I can be now that neither one of us are trapped by sadness.
Anything else you would like to add?
Divorce is a hard and scary thing, but it happened to me for a reason. I look back on my life before I got divorced, and my marriage was good in the beginning. But, then I started making changes that I thought would help my family–going back to college was one– and then everything started falling apart. I’ll never know why because my ex-husband cannot give me an answer as to why he made certain choices. Please don’t mistake– I’m not totally innocent either– but the choices he made were way more detrimental than mine. Sometimes I wish I knew the answers, but then again, I think, maybe I dont need to know. sSometimes that’s the best you can hope for.
Before I found Joelle’s AMAZING Trash The Dress site, I was really struggling to find, well anyone, to talk to that could really relate to my divorce. All my friends were still in the dating game, and my parents have been happily married for 27 years. As wonderful and supportive as everyone was, no one fully got it.
Along my journey for my depression treatment I met a woman also going through a divorce. Someone in her circle suggested a local divorce support group at a church downtown. At first I thought she was crazy. No way would I go to a support group! First, I would be the youngest one there. Second, I would probably be ostracized because I’m 20 and getting and divorce. Like, really, what’s wrong with me? Third, I wouldn’t get anything out of it. I don’t have kids or martial property. What advice and support would I get that’s helpful?
Well, somehow I got talked into going. I grabbed myself a Starbucks and held my breath in as I walked into the church. Around me were historical and beautiful religious artifacts. I walked into the room and saw smiling faces of people much older than myself. I was told to write my name on a name-tag, fill out the contact info sheet, grab some coffee and a cookie, and take a seat. We sat in a circle and the facilitator, a licensed therapist, introduced the group, the brief rules (confidentiality, dating is discouraged, safe place, etc) and had some of the seasoned veterans of the group start by sharing their week. Then us newbies told our stories. It reminded me of groups I ran during my counseling internship in graduate school. Was this divorce AA?
I was picking at my cuticles, tapping my feet, and feeling the churn in my stomach. Was I next? I took a deep breath and the plunge and spoke. I told my story, in all of it’s honesty, good and bad, and waited for reactions. What was everyone going to think? The group smiled. The facilitator thanked me. A few people interjected and told me their relatable stories. They all said, “we are so happy you are here.” A wave of relief crashed over me. My body calmed and my heart rate lowered. I smiled. I was accepted. When group wrapped up, multiple people came up to me and thanked me for being so brave.
Since, I have gone to the group weekly. It’s my safe haven. And, although, many group members don’t know what it’s like to divorce so young, every divorce is different and every divorce is the same. We all have stories of betrayal, heartbreak, grief, anger, triumph, and healing. Although we all experience these facets, they are all slightly different for each of us. But we can attempt to make sense of it all and take baby steps towards healing by sharing our stories. So go for it. Find a local support group or join one online (shameless TTD plug). Tell your story. It doesn’t matter if you are 20 or 60, divorce sucks and somebody somewhere knows what stage of suckiness you are in.
It’s really late and I still can’t sleep. My doctor would tell me to put down the coffee and stay away from the laptop screen, but the silence of sleeping scares me and my bed is big and empty. I scroll through pages and pages…young and divorced, divorce in your 20s, I do. I did. I’m done!…and on and on. There are two types of articles I stumble upon: 1) I’m an old blogger who writes about the downfall of the sanctity of marriage and how the internet and instant gratification is ruining America’s youth and 2) Badass chicks who found themselves, learned who they really are, and got sassy tattoos and epic vacations when their husbands peaced out. But there’s no articles about me, a 26 year old girl struggling with depression as long as she could remember whose husband left the marriage after two years telling her he never really loved her, and was having a relationship with a woman 20 years his senior. Where’s that damn article?
My ex and I met when I was 18, he 17. We actually met in study hall and went to prom together. After meeting him, for the first time, I felt love and worth. See, my entire life I’ve felt like nothing. I’m not sure when it started or where it came from. Nobody abused me. Nobody touched me. I suppose a combo of genetics, personality traits, and never feeling good or loved enough lead to a long history of mental health challenges.
When our relationship went full steam ahead, a whirlwind of co-dependency, jealousy, and control came forth. I needed him to silence all the self-abuse my mind hammered into me daily. You’re ugly. You’re fat. You’re stupid. You aren’t worth a damn thing. No one will ever love you. Oh wait! He does. Maybe you are okay. But neither of us recognized either of those issues because we were kids going on 40, moving into our apartment together after high school graduation and starting a joint checking account. We justified the insanity by saying how mature and ready we were for adult life. We didn’t need to make friends in college. No, no, we had each other and that’s all we needed.
Our marriage proposal wasn’t even that. I told him I wanted to get married so we went to the jewelry store that afternoon to purchase a ring. Now, the non-traditionalist in me said fuck norms and I can pick out my own ring, but that had nothing to do with it. After 5 years of dating, I needed marriage to bandage all the self-hate. We got married. It was everything I wanted. On the outside it looked perfect. But behind closed doors no one knew that I wrote my and his vows. He refused to write them. He never told me I was beautiful on our wedding day. On our wedding night we didn’t have sex. I came up with so many excuses…he was nervous, he’s shy, he doesn’t know how to express his emotions, it was a long day…but they were just that, excuses.
We went on and continued as a married couple. We moved 3 hours away from home to start our big kids jobs. Our first year in the new city was great. We explored and experienced a diverse and liberal culture we only dreamed of. But once the exploring stopped, we looked at each other and no longer saw a married couple, but roommates. I asked for marriage counseling to help get that spark back. He refused and said nothing was wrong. He said he was just stressed with work.
And then everything stopped. No longer did I hear I love you. Affection was obsolete. Negative and hurtful comments were made about my weight, appearance, and above all things, my running routine and schedule. No matter what I did, I could never be good enough.
It started again. He was slowly tearing away the bandaid he once put on my self-hatred. Blood began to ooze out, so I put on more gauze, more excuses for the shitty behavior. One night, when I came home from work, his phone lit up with the words Love You! on the screen. I confronted him. He ripped the bandaid off, no warning, no soothing gel, no comforting phrases. A relationship was happening with this woman and he said he didn’t love me and never really did. After a few weeks of separation, accusals, fighting, screaming, begging, pleading, he asked for a divorce. The blood came.
My wound was gaping and each day he was gone salt was thrown into it. I couldn’t sleep for days. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t laugh, or even crack a smile. I couldn’t focus on anything but the pain. My mind wouldn’t stop. Why wasn’t I good enough? Why is a woman, 43 fucking years old, better/sexier/prettier/smarter than me? I mean he’s in his early 20s and she’s married with kids! I’m worthless. I’m stupid. I have nothing left. My life is over. I’m nothing without him. I don’t want to go on without him…
An unexpected, dear friend came to my side. He ended up moving in with me for a few weeks, living out of a backpack and laundry basket. We binge watched American Horror Story and cooked fancy dinners. He taught me to crochet and I made way too many scarfs. More importantly he was there to hold gauze over the wound until I saw the doctor. He never taped the gauze down, but held it until I could stand on my own feet and get the help I needed. And in all actuality, I did see a doctor. I started receiving intensive treatment for my depression.
Eventually my hopeless thoughts stopped. I started eating. I slept. I learned that my pain was two fold: a grieving cycle over the end of a long term relationship and my self-hatred. During times of high distress I wasn’t able to distinguish the two. I would often think, my relationship ended because there was something wrong with me. But that isn’t true. My relationship ended. It just ended. It ended because it was a co-dependent abusive hot hot mess (and let’s be real…it wasn’t hot). It ended because he chose to start a relationship with another person before he ended the one with me. And more important than all that bullshit, I have so much worth and beauty that is completely separate from that relationship.
So what did I learn from my divorce? I suppose that’s how you are supposed to end these things. I learned that my worth isn’t defined by another person, but by what I believe and do. My beauty isn’t defined by a number or silhouette, but by my kindness, womanhood, smile, and eyes. If you look deeply in my eyes you’ll see flecks of gold embed in the brown. You’ll also see a story of a girl who is so very privileged, yet handed struggle after struggle to only learn she can and will overcome anything. Although I can’t find a 20-something divorcee article that I can fully relate to, and have yet to get my freedom tattoo and vacation, I’m on my way. Maybe in a few months I’ll be a badass chick who found herself, but until then, I’m me, and I’m pretty fucking great.