“You have a lot of anniversaries it seems,” my boyfriend told me when I mentioned that today would’ve been my four year wedding anniversary. And well – he’s right. I have a number of days that mark both the good and the bad days that I had with my ex-husband.
Let’s see. There is (in no particular order):
- March 8th, the day he said “I can’t do this anymore”
- April 1st, our divorce date (hands down, the best day of the year this could have landed on)
- June 8th, the first time he cheated
- And August 7th, our wedding anniversary
Since this isn’t my first rodeo, I have some tips for you to get through what I’ve dubbed “awfulversaries”, because there is a widespread misconception that divorce is the end of all emotions pertaining to an ended relationship and well, that’s just crap to any of us who have been through this. Divorce is something that will always be with you and should be grieved (or when you’re ready, celebrated) as you see fit. Here are a few ideas that can help:
That’s right. Forgive yourself. You are not the same person who walked into that marriage. You went in with the best intentions, and regardless of if you left or they did, it’s heartbreaking and exhausting to have to separate your life and start all over. So forgive yourself for the nights you cry, the times you feel guilty, the moments you are happy…and forgive them too (or at least fake it until you make it).
Also? Watch this. On repeat.
Lean on Your “Person”
If you’ve seen Grey’s Anatomy, you know that Meredith and Christina are each other’s “person.” Find your “person” and book them for that night. The right friend will know to be there for you and be up for anything – because you never know what you’ll feel like on an awfulversary – sometimes you want to dance it out, and sometimes you want to cry and watch Must Love Dogs (I mean, if your ex’s name is Kevin and you own a Newfoundland dog – it’s only fitting).
Write a Never Letter or a Pro/Con List
Whether it is a “could’ve, should’ve” or a “DEAR DARLA, I HATE YOUR STINKING GUTS” type of emotion you are feeling, grab some paper or open a Word doc and let it all come out… BUT DON’T SEND IT! Shred, burn or delete it. These are called Never Letters. Getting your feelings out on paper can help you accept the reality and work through it in a way that isn’t sending you right back into a bad situation. Think of it as a self-counseling session.
If you just need a quick pick me up – write a pro/con list. It’s okay to be sad about the happy things you miss about being together like those inside jokes, but also list the cons to help you figure out why it didn’t work and why you’re better off without them. Mine was a hard worker which was great, but he was also a compulsive porn addict, cheater and nail biter – definitely things I don’t miss!
Absolutely NO Lurking
Social media makes it all to easy to see what your ex is doing these days… but looking them up comes with a cost. Studies have shown that those who look up their exes are “more likely to be hung up on the breakup, with greater distress, negative feelings, longing for the ex-partner and lower personal growth.”
So think again before stalking the ex and their new beau; it only hinders your healing and I PROMISE you their lives aren’t as sweet as they’re making them out to be on Facebook.
Don’t believe me? Watch this:
Be liberal with that block button, my friends.
Make Awesome Plans
Look. If you stay in and cry all night, I am the last person that will judge you. But trust me, this tip is the best of them all.
Date yourself for a night. Clean your house the night before so you wake up feeling fresh and not overwhelmed, wear a new outfit, and go to a fancy dinner with friends or to that new movie you’ve wanted to see. Go to the Katy Perry concert and scream your guts out at every lyric that empowers you. Travel to a place that you’ve always wanted to see. Flirt with cute bartenders. Be adventurous, the world is your oyster for the night and nobody can tell you any different!
If you don’t feel up to partying, do something else memorable such as change your name back, put all photos of the two of you on an external hard drive, delete old emails; anything that helps you take back your own self and celebrate that you are a new, smart, independent woman and you will not be defined by your marital status. And then? Give yourself a pat on the back, you have now survived another awfulversary!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a massage to get to…