Where Are They Now? | Ashley’s Story

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.

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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.

 

Where Are They Now? | Heather’s Story

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.
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How old were you when you divorced? 29

How old are you now?  32


Do you feel like you truly moved on from your divorce?
  If so, how long did it take you and what factors contributed?

Yes absolutely!  It took a lonnnnnng time and therapy and good friends!  I was not truly over my divorce until I could accept that it was truly over and that I was doing it on my own.  I look at my ex-husband now and can’t even remember a time that we were together. I feel indifferent towards him and it took a long time to not feel angry just hearing his name.  I am in an incredible relationship now and I am so grateful that I experienced my divorce so that I can appreciate my current bf and our situation!

Is there anything you learned along the way that you wish you knew back then?

I learned to have my own voice.  I was often too worried about rocking the boat or making my ex-husband mad that somewhere along the way I lost my strong voice.  I wish I had stood up for myself more and didn’t let things slide.  I learned there are two people in a relationship.  I learned (and I am still learning) that I don’t have to please everyone and that sometimes there will be disagreements in a relationship, but you can’t avoid them by people-pleasing. It never works out well in the end!

Have you accomplished any particular goals since your divorce?

I earned my Masters in Reading Specialization.  I founded a race for domestic violence in Frederick, MD—Break Away 5K.

How did you manage financial struggles (if any)?

I’m still working on this one!  I cut a lot of fun things out of my life that I wish I could do!  I have a son, so everything I spend, I spend on him!  I buy used a lot to save money.

What were your biggest fears about divorce and how did you deal with them?

I still have fears about letting my son down.  He was an infant when we split, so I never want him to worry that he was the reason or that he caused it.  It is really, really hard doing it on your own.  I have an amazing, supportive boyfriend, but at the end of the day only I am the parent.  At the beginning, I truly felt like a failure.  It took a long time for me to accept that I didn’t fail, my marriage did.  I think I still fear failing again even at my current relationship.  Abandonment is something I’m working on all the time and I’m getting stronger.

Did you divorce through a lawyer or did you DIY divorce (and if so, how?)

A lawyer…a very, very expensive lawyer!  I had a restraining order, so we couldn’t speak for three years.

Are you living in your own place?

Yes, I live in the home we bought together, but I refinanced and removed his name.  I often wish I could move though and start fresh and not in the home we bought together, but for my son it was best he stayed in his home.

Are you single or in a relationship?

I am in a relationship (1.5 years now).

How did you conquer post-divorce dating fears?

I dated all kinds of people.  I didn’t want to stick only to “my type” because clearly that didn’t work out for me.

Advice for new divorcees?

It is a roller coaster!  You will be happy one day, sad the next, mad the next, and you may be all three in one day alone! You will get through it!  Don’t look back too much!  It’s OK to be sad it is over, but don’t be sad forever!  You get a chance to try again and you will absolutely not make the same mistakes if you close that chapter and start the next!  Don’t give up hope!  Someone is out there and even if there isn’t, you have you and that’s pretty darn special!

How are you celebrating post-divorce life?

I celebrate by loving myself most.  It sounds corny, but it’s so important to love yourself before you can love someone else! Now that I love me, I can love my boyfriend the way he and I deserve!

Anything else you would like to add?

Co-parenting is a pain in the butt and it ALWAYS will be!  Do what is best for your child and take your feelings out of the equation sometimes!  Your child will love you for that!  And don’t worry, kids aren’t dumb and they will learn just like you did what the ex is really like!

Where Are They Now? | Diana’s Story

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.
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How old were you when you divorced?
29

How old are you now?
31

Do you feel like you truly moved on from your divorce?  If so, how long did it take you and what factors contributed?


My marriage was over before the initial separation, I just needed him to say it to my face.  After that, I moved out and started my new life.  I had weak moments, but after three months of emotional struggles, I began to look forward and never looked back.  After six months or so I began dating, since I had never really done that before.  I met my now fiancé, within two months of dating.  I was very lucky.   However, it might have been a bit soon emotionally because I had many fears, which caused initial problems in my relationship.  However, he worked through them with me.  I also went to counseling, got support from friends and family and fellow divorced friends, and leaned on the Trash the Dress Facebook Group.  I still think about my ex-husband and am sad that I have a divorce on my record, but I would never go back and change anything.  My life is so much fuller now.  I don’t know if we ever “move on” from the divorce, because in some way it will always be part of us.  It will influence our decisions for awhile, but with every day (and eventually years) behind us, it becomes more of a distant memory.

Is there anything you learned along the way that you wish you knew back then?


I learned I am so much more amazing, beautiful, confident, and funny without my ex-husband by my side.  I never really knew how strong I was until I went through that loss and moved forward without ever losing faith.  I found real, lasting, and healthy friends.  I learned how to be honest with my family about my feelings and situations.  AND I learned what I needed and wanted in a partner, as this was very different at age 30 than at age 23.

Have you accomplished any particular goals since your divorce?


Oh yes!  I FINALLY went to Vegas!  My ex-husband never wanted to go, so I didn’t go.  I made a list of new restaurants, bars, and towns that I visited.  I can now say I completed my first 5K, lost 40lbs, got contact lenses and finally got rid of the glasses I was hiding behind, got a new awesome job, made new friends, rode a motorcycle, rode a snowmobile, drove a boat, and eventually was able to go to the same places I went without my ex-husband without having anxiety.

How did you manage financial struggles (if any)?

I think financial struggles are just part of life, and divorce is no different.  I went into further credit card debt to afford my single life, my trip to Vegas, and all the things I accomplished listed above.   However, as much as I hate debt, I wouldn’t have done any of it differently.

Did you divorce through a lawyer or did you DIY divorce (and if so, how?)


I was lucky and had a close family friend who was a divorce attorney, she gave me a great rate, which I made my ex-husband pay because he felt guilty for ending the marriage and yes, I took full advantage of that.  If you can afford an attorney, do it, you won’t regret it.

Are you living in your own place?

After the initial separation I moved into my own apartment within a month.  It was very hard at first coming home to an empty house, and I cried myself to sleep many nights, but after awhile I developed a new routine and I had a very busy social life so it wasn’t so lonely.  I miss that apartment sometimes- the serenity, the bathtub, and the central air conditioning.  After a year in the apartment, I moved in with my now fiancé.

Are you single or in a relationship?

I am engaged, getting married June 27, 2015.  We’ve been together 1 ½ years.  He asked me to marry him on our year anniversary, and we found out we are expecting our first child three months later!  Our baby girl is due March 10, 2015.

How did you conquer post-divorce dating fears?

Counseling.  I was initially afraid that I might be alone forever, that my ex-husband was my only chance.  But with counseling and the support of my friends and family I realized that was such an irrational thought!  I used to believe in soul mates, but now I realize that relationships are just work.  Either both parties work to make them last and healthy, or they don’t.  Then you move on and try again.  I also tell my friends currently thinking about getting back into the dating world, that it’s better if you handle it like a really cold pool, just jump in.  I did the online dating thing, and in order to get over my fears, I had LOTS of dates, sometimes one everyday all week.  But it was great experience!  I even had two dates in one night, which if you knew me, you would know that was a huge moment of awesomeness!

Where did you meet your fiancé?

On Plenty of Fish (crazy, yes!)

How long did you date before marriage?

We will have been together for 26 months before marriage.

Describe the wedding (big, courthouse, etc)

I didn’t care what kind of wedding we have, but my fiancé has never been married, so he wants the whole sha-bang.  So big wedding for us!  And I’m much more excited this time!

How did you know it was right this time?

I was more scared, I weighed all the pros and cons more carefully, and I over-thought everything.  However, he asked me all on his own, in the best proposal ever, and I was completely shocked and speechless.  I knew that if I didn’t agree to marry him that would have been the biggest mistake of my life.  When with my ex-husband I wanted to be married, and didn’t take into consideration WHO I was marrying.

What are your fiancé’s thoughts on your divorce?

My fiancé wishes I was never married, because of all my fears that he has continued to help me through.  However, he understands I have history, as does he, but we try to only focus on the present and he constantly reminds me he isn’t my ex-husband by his actions.

Advice for new divorcées?


Have faith, believe in yourself, you are capable of so much more and you have been given an opportunity to make your life so much happier and more fulfilled.  Try to remind yourself of the positive things in your life, even if it’s small, and when you start to think negatively, stop yourself.  Remind yourself that everyday is full of new possibility, anything is possible now.  OOH and MUSIC!  Find music that makes you happy!

How are you celebrating post-divorce life?

I live everyday grateful that I’m not with my ex-husband anymore, that I have so much more confidence in myself, and that the man in my life only accentuates me and doesn’t complete me.

Where Are They Now? | Emily’s Story

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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? 26

How old are you now? 27

 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 I will ever truly move on but I have made so much progress in the last eight months, I’ve even surprised myself. The divorce wasn’t my choice, and I think that plays a huge role in the healing process. If I had it my way we’d still be married and still be working on things. But you can’t force someone to want to stay in a relationship. And I think that was the hardest part. Realizing I had no control over the situation and letting go. With therapy, and the support of my family, I’d say it was about four months until I really started to get back on my feet. I’m still working on it!

Is there anything you learned along the way that you wish you knew back then?

I wish I had known how supportive my family would be. My husband and I were together since I was 19 years-old. My family loved him. So when we started to have problems, I didn’t tell ANYONE. No one knew. I was ashamed, I felt like a failure. No one in my family has ever gotten divorced. I kept it all bottled up. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I was getting migraines; I couldn’t concentrate at work. And I wish I had known that it was OK to let go and ask for help. When I told my parents what was going on they immediately told me to come home and welcomed me with open arms.

Have you accomplished any particular goals since your divorce?

My biggest goal was to live alone. I wanted to get a good job that allowed me to support myself ALONE. I didn’t want to live with my parents, I didn’t want roommates. I had never lived alone. I went from living with roommates in college, to moving in with my husband. My goal was to be comfortable being on my own. So I moved to Boston, and after two months of searching I got a good job as a website manager for Puma, and I found my own little apartment that I can afford. I never thought I would learn to enjoy my own company, but I really do!

How did you manage financial struggles (if any)?

My husband and I had a good amount in savings, so that allowed me to pick up and start over. My parents were a HUGE help. I’ll never be able to repay them for all they did for me. But it was a struggle because I was used to living on two incomes, my own and my husband’s. I had to adjust my life style.

What were your biggest fears about divorce and how did you deal with them?

My biggest fear was the shame of being divorced. I never ever ever thought I’d be in this position. Other people get divorced, not me. I was so embarrassed to be a part of that horrible 50 percent statistic.  And now, I’m worried it will happen again. What’s to stop me from making the same mistakes and winding up divorced for a second time?  A great help was this online support group. Hearing other women’s stories, and seeing how so many of them have moved on and found successful relationships gives me hope. I also started seeing a therapist which has been a huge help. She’s helping me deal with the shame I’m feeling and we’re working on gaining back my confidence.

Did you divorce through a lawyer or did you DIY divorce (and if so, how?)

My divorce was very simple. We didn’t have kids, we didn’t own property, and neither of us were angry or bitter. We actually both cried the day he told me he wanted a divorce. He just couldn’t do it anymore. So we had an uncontested divorce. This means we didn’t have to go to court, we split everything down the middle, and we went our separate ways. I did have a lawyer friend look over the paper work just so I understood what I was signing, but it was a very easy process for me. Thank God.

Are you single or in a relationship?

I’m casually dating. I’m definitely not ready to be in a relationship, but I’ve been set up and met guys while out with friends. I’m currently dating someone who I met at a bar! Apparently that does still happen! When I’m ready for something more serious I think I’ll try match.com. Right now I’m just trying to have fun.

How did you conquer post-divorce dating fears?

Therapy and the support of my family. I think everyone who’s going through this should consider therapy. I hated the idea of being alone and through therapy I’ve learned some great coping techniques. I haven’t been alone in almost eight years. I’m sad to be alone during the holidays like New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day and my birthday. But I know its better than being in an unhappy marriage, and I have to keep reminding myself of that.

Advice for new divorcees?

Don’t be afraid to let go of the life you had planned. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you expect, but that’s because something better is waiting out there. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but its better than remaining in a love-less situation. And, like I said above, I highly recommend therapy for anyone who is struggling.

How are you celebrating post-divorce life?

I don’t think I’m ready to celebrate quite yet. But I am enjoying getting back in touch with girlfriends, going out without having to let someone know where I am, eating nachos for dinner in my underwear. I’m enjoying being on my own!

 

Where Are They Now? | Rachel’s Story

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How old were you when you divorced?

I was 24 when we separated and 25 when the divorce was finalized.

How old are you now? 

26

Do you feel like you truly moved on from your divorce?  If so, how long did it take you and what factors contributed?

That’s a roller coaster for me right now!  I think I have moved on in many ways, but I don’t think I’ve “moved on” to the point of being ready to be in another relationship again.

There have been so many things that have helped me heal during this season, but it is the people in my life that have amazed me and helped me the most!  My family has been incredibly supportive of me.  I was expecting only judgement and I-told-you-so’s from all sides.  Instead, they showered me with love!  My two best friends never wavered a moment when I told them what was going on. Instead, they have encouraged me, loved on me, and been there for me every single step of the way.  I also sought out counseling a few months after our separation, and that has been invaluable.

Is there anything you learned along the way that you wish you knew back then?

My immediate answer is YES.  But if I’m being honest, I’m glad I learned these lessons the way I did.  It was painful, it was hard, and it almost broke me, but that makes what I learned so much more valuable!  If I had just known them without having experienced the pain that comes with the learning process, I don’t think I’d appreciate the lessons quite as much.

Your mid-20’s is a season full of self-discovery.  It’s during that time that you learn who you really are and who you really want to be.  Going through a divorce during that already tumultuous time will either make you or break you. It’s like going through a fire only to be shoved into an active volcano!  But when you come out the other side, it’s pretty amazing.

Have you accomplished any particular goals since your divorce?

Yes!  I rented my first (and second) apartments on my own.  I drove 20+ hours on my own to visit my brother in Florida.  I bought my first car (and got my first loan!).  I’ve made new friends.

Right now, I’m saving up for a full-out solo vacation, and I’m also working to pay off my car loan in three years instead of five.

How did you manage financial struggles (if any)?

Woof, the first few months on my own were rough.  I will say that I am thankful that my ex was so anti-debt!  Neither of us had school loans to pay off (in fact, we never took out a loan at all), and we never had credit cards.  Even still, some of the first solo months I made about $10…if I was lucky.  If I had had even one more bill to pay, I wouldn’t have been able to stay afloat.

I’ve been good at budgeting my money since well before I got married, but it took me almost six months post-separation to figure out a budgeting system that works well for me.  I make sure that every single penny I spend goes into the budget!  If I over-spend in one category (usually groceries and eating out, because I like to eat as healthily as I can), that means I have to subtract money from another category (goodbye, cute clothes at Target!).  Any money left-over in the budget goes straight to my car loan.

What were your biggest fears about divorce and how did you deal with them?

My absolute biggest fear was what everyone would think.  I was terrified of being lumped into the category of “kids who got married too young and then realized it was a mistake.”  There’s no real way to deal with that except to face it head-on.  I learned what it feels like to be the subject of gossip.  I know what it’s like to walk into a room full of people who get super quiet, because they just stopped talking about you.  And you know what?  Somewhere along the way, I stopped caring.  People will always talk about other people.  It doesn’t concern me as much anymore (though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care at all!).

I was also afraid of being alone, because I was afraid of being lonely.  I love to be around people!  I love coming home to someone at the end of the day and swapping stories over dinner.  When we first separated, I did everything I could do not spend time alone.  I got a second job so I had something to do outside my full-time job.  I asked people to go out a lot.  And when I was home, I watched a lot of Netflix or talked to friends on the phone, etc.  It took me a long time to start being okay when I wasn’t surrounded by people.  I eventually graduated from “being okay having a day alone” to “if I don’t get some alone time soon, my head is going to explode!”

Did you divorce through a lawyer or did you DIY divorce (and if so, how?)

We did a DIY divorce through Legal Zoom.  Since we had no kids and no property to divide up, it was pretty easy.  All of our possessions were divided up already.. Surprisingly in five years of marriage, we hadn’t accumulated a whole lot of stuff that was “ours.” It was still “his” and “hers” from before the wedding.  I took my stuff, he took his.

Legal Zoom made the process easy.  We had to spend an afternoon together filling out all the paperwork on the computer.  After that, it was reviewed by LZ and they mailed out a packet of paperwork to us.  We had to spend another day together getting everything signed and notarized, then filed with the court.  The court then assigned us a final hearing date, which has to be somewhere between 30 and 90 days after filing.  If I remember correctly, it was about two months for us.  We were in court less than an hour total: check in, see the judge, “Yes, Your Honor,” sign/date, done.  From the day we filled out the original paperwork to the day it was finalized, the process took us just under three months.  I think all told, it cost less than $500.

 Are you living in your own place?

Yep.  I lived with my brother for a month when I first moved out, then I rented my first apartment on my own.  I just recently moved to a new place, which I am much happier with!  It’s small and cozy, in a great neighborhood, and I love it so far!

Are you single or in a relationship?

Single.  I’m not looking for a relationship, but if something happened to find me, I’m open to the possibility.

How did you conquer post-divorce dating fears?

I haven’t, yet!  I don’t think I’m nervous about going on a date (LIES, I totally am).  I’m way nervous about a new relationship though!

Advice for new divorcees?

Take it one day at a time, and take the time to invest in yourself!  You are worth it.

How are you celebrating post-divorce life?

I’m trying a lot of new things.  On a daily basis, my life is pretty boring (work, home, Netflix, pajamas, work), but when I look back over the last 13 months, I see how many things I’ve done that are new for me!  I’ve taken over as the youth group coordinator at my church, I am eating healthily and working out regularly, and I started a small Etsy business with my mom and step-dad.  All small-ish things, but they make a huge difference in the snapshot of my life at this moment in time.

Where Are They Now? | Devon’s Story

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.

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How old were you when you divorced? I was 27 when we separated and 28 when the divorce was final.

How old are you now? 30

Do you feel like you truly moved on from your divorce? If so, how long did it take you and what factors contributed?

It’s hard to say. I feel like I have put the divorce behind me and moved on with my life. I’m definitely living for me now which I don’t think was something I was doing before. I think it has taken the better part of the past two years to do so. The hardest non-emotional part to get through was the financial divorce. . When you have to start all over again and budget from scratch and do everything yourself all the while hearing his voice in your head saying ‘you’re going to fail, you can’t do this without me,’ it can be pretty hard. When I finally got the hang of it things became easier. When I could finally say, I am doing it and I don’t need you, that really helped to exorcise the demons. The last bit was to go to therapy. I think it would have taken me twice as long to move on if it wasn’t for the therapy. Talking about it everyday (I went an intensive route) really helped me to be accountable to myself and to forgive and finally to move on.

Is there anything you learned along the way that you wish you knew back then?

I wish I had been able to listen to myself and to know how much I’m worth. I think my ex-husband really played on my insecurities and knew how to keep me under his thumb, and I was too worried that I wasn’t worthy of love that I let him do it. I wish I knew how strong I am and that I am beautiful inside an out and that any man would be lucky to have me.

Have you accomplished any particular goals since your divorce?

I am finally making my health a priority. I’ve been struggling with my weight for a long time and I made the decision to have surgery. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made and now I feel amazing about myself and the prospects for a healthy life. I was under 300lbs before my 30th birthday, and I have to say it felt AMAZING!

How did you manage financial struggles (if any)?

I first had to put my ego away and realize that there were things in life that I was going to have to life without, or learn to do for myself. Being on a budget meant not going out to the bars all the time. It meant doing my own nails, and looking for places to get my haircut that weren’t maybe the coolest hip downtown places. It meant thrift shopping instead of charging new clothes. The funny thing was, when I looked back on my spending habits so much of it was due to being unhappy in my marriage that it became a little easier to cope with. I went out to the same bar every night to avoid going home and spending time with him. I bought new clothes etc. to make myself feel better when he was making me feel bad about myself. Without those triggers in my life, it made going out so much more special, and made those little splurges (when I could afford them) more important and valuable to me. My credit took a hit when we divorced but I’ve been making smart choices and staying on my budget and working to fix it everyday.

Did you divorce through a lawyer or did you DIY divorce (and if so, how?)

He tried to use an online site to go through the divorce. WARNING: They aren’t legal! So my parents put me in touch with a lawyer friend of theirs who agreed to do it pro-bono. I realize that I’m very lucky that my situation was simple (legally speaking, we didn’t own a home, had no children, etc. ) that I could go through a lawyer and ensure it was legal.

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Are you living in your own place?

No. I’m currently living with my boyfriend. We’ve been together seriously for about two years, but we met in 2011. I’ve been living with him for almost exactly one year.

How did you conquer post-divorce dating fears?

I hadn’t really dated that much since high school. I was probably what you call a serial monogamist. So I was scared that I would fall back into that pattern again. My sisters (and shrink) advised me to just get out there and see what happens. Since I wasn’t looking to replace my husband it was easier to just have fun with the guys I was meeting. I think that might have been something that was missing from my life before. I was putting so much pressure on myself to find the perfect guy that I forgot that it’s OK to just have fun. Not every relationship has to be true love, and not every guy is husband material. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy their company and get some joy in your life before setting them free.

What were your biggest fears about divorce and how did you deal with them?

I think my biggest fear was not being able to trust my gut about whether someone was right for me. I mean, I had gotten it so wrong, so how could I possibly be trusted to get it right? The only way to get over that was to slowly build up my self confidence again. It’s taken a while and I have to admit that it really hasn’t been easy. My boyfriend has definitely seen me at my weakest points. He knows that this is still something I’m afraid of so we talk about it. By being more open and speaking openly and honestly we’ve been able to build a solid foundation for our relationship.

Advice for new divorcees?

Give yourself some time to heal. It can take time to get over a divorce. Also, now is the time to do something for yourself. Sign up for something that makes you happy. I took salsa lessons and they made me very happy. Remember that it’s OK to just date. Be safe, and take care of you. 🙂

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How are you celebrating post-divorce life?

I’ve really begun putting myself and my happiness first, and living life to the fullest whenever I can. I’ve sold the rings, trashed the dress (more like donated), and gotten rid of my past so I can enjoy the future. I am also entertaining the idea of starting a family which was something I was denied in the past. 🙂

Anything else you would like to add?

Find a support group! It’s amazing how sometimes taking your mountain of problems to the group can help you put them into the proper focus and let you tackle them one at a time.

All my love to you all!

Where Are They Now? | Brianna’s Story

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.

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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?

Yes, I truly feel I have moved on from my divorce.  We were separated for seven months before the divorce was final, but it was probably a year and a half after he left me before I could finally feel like I was free from it all.  I went through a Divorce Care program at my church and met some incredible people who were going through similar situations.  I have the most amazing friends who would do things to make me get out and helped me realize that there was more to life than I had experienced.  The Trash the Dress Facebook page has been very helpful as well.  To have people who have gone through similar situations as you and to help you realize that it does get better has been amazing.

Is there anything you learned along the way that you wish you knew back then?

That I wasn’t alone.  I wish I would have reached out for help sooner.  I thought this was something I had to go through and didn’t reach out.  I never would have thought to search for a divorce support group and I didn’t get therapy.  A friend added me to the Trash the Dress group and then my mom finally convinced me to try to find a group at church.  Having support helped me heal and I wish I would have looked for help sooner.

Have you accomplished any particular goals since your divorce?

I have done so much more since my divorce than I did while married.  I became my old, social self again.  I graduated with my second degree, got an amazing job in the field that I wanted, and I’m finishing up my third degree.  I have made some amazing friends over the past year.  I went to Hawaii.  I started running again and now I am running races all over the country.

How did you manage financial struggles (if any)?

I definitely struggled with finances at first.  I had to move in with a family member for a few months while I finished school.  I was able to graduate and get a job and move out on my own.  It was hard at first, but with support of family, I managed to survive.  Now I have a great job and I can fully support myself.  I still have debt thanks to my marriage, but I am working on that.

Did you divorce through a lawyer or did you DIY divorce (and if so, how?)

We both had our own lawyers.

Are you living in your own place?

Yes, I have been living by myself for over a year now.  Although, I am getting a roommate in a few weeks.

Are you single or in a relationship?

I am single.

How did you conquer post-divorce dating fears?

I still have them.  Dating post-divorce has been hard.  Most of the guys I have met stop talking to me when they find out I’m divorced.  I don’t know why, but it’s been a problem.

Advice for new divorcees?

It gets better.  It’s going to hurt, regardless of the situation, but it does get better.  Seek help, get therapy, join a support group.  Work on you and healing before you jump into a relationship.

What were your biggest fears about divorce and how did you deal with them?

I had a lot of fears about divorce.  Fear of the unknown was the biggest.  I was a military wife, I was gonna move around where ever Uncle Sam told us to go.  Now I didn’t have a husband, a good job, insurance, direction, etc.  I just had to take it one day at a time and prayed about what I should do and where I should go.  It’s very overwhelming to have your world just open up to any possibility.

How are you celebrating post-divorce life?

By doing what I want when I want.  When I was married I always put my husband’s happiness before my own.  I’m not doing that anymore.  I’m setting goals for my life and doing what it takes to accomplish them.

Anything else you would like to add?

When my ex-husband first asked me for a divorce, I was devastated.  I became a shell of a person just going through the motions of everyday life.  I begged him not to leave me for her, to just come home.  But now, almost two years later, I realize that him leaving me was the best thing he ever did for me.  I never would have left him.  Looking back I wasn’t happy, I had lost myself in my marriage and that wasn’t who I wanted to be.

Where Are They Now? | Amy’s Story

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.

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How old were you when you divorced? I was 29.

How old are you now? 30

Do you feel like you truly moved on from your divorce?  If so, how long did it take you and what factors contributed? I do feel as though I have finally moved on but it wasn’t until recently.  My ex-husband was very persistently trying to get into a relationship with me and reconcile over the summer.  He started apologizing for the terrible things he had done to me and answered all of the questions that I had.  I have to admit that he almost had me, he was pulling at my heart strings and it really almost worked and I almost caved and gave him a second chance.  I told him I needed sometime to really think about things so I backed off of him for about two weeks.  Within that amount of time he got “sick of waiting” and picked right back up with his girlfriend he broke up with to be with me.  I knew right then that he would always be a lying, cheating, sack of shit and he proved it all to me again.  I was upset and pissed at myself for even thinking it would work again but relived in the end that I once again saw him for who he really is and came to my senses.

 Is there anything you learned along the way that you wish you knew back then?  Of course! I wish I knew what a manipulative, lying, cheating, selfish and mean person he really is.  I had to learn all of that the hard way, by giving him my heart and having him stomp on it and treat it like total shit.

 Have you accomplished any particular goals since your divorce? After my separation, I had to move into my parents’ house with our son.  It was awful strain on my relationship with them.  I began immediately saving to move and it took me about a year and a half but I DID IT! I moved out in March with my son and will not ever be going back to live with them.  Our relationship is so much better now.  I am so proud of that accomplishment and am not afraid to toot my own horn about it.  It was a long road but I did it! 

How did you manage financial struggles (if any)? I am still managing financial struggles my ex-husband left me with.  He decided that opening an American Express card in my name and charge MY WEDDING AND ENGAMENT RING to it would be a great idea (plus various other expenses).  My child support is automatically deducted by the state from his paycheck and deposited into my account but I have to hound him every month for the AmEx payments which totals about $12,000.00.

Did you divorce through a lawyer or did you DIY divorce (and if so, how?) I did go through a lawyer.  In the end it was the best decision for me.  My ex-husband is so manipulative and intimidating that I knew that I couldn’t face him in court without help.  It cost a lot but I am glad that I had someone else to help me fight.

 Are you single or in a relationship? I am currently single and recently signed up for OkCupid to meet new people.  It has been going well so far and even though I have been burned so badly, I am still hopeful for the future.

How did you conquer post-divorce dating fears? I just decided to put myself back out there.  I believe in love and I believe it will find me.  I am ready to hold out for real love this time and be with someone that deserves me and will treat me and my son like we should have been treated all along.  I won’t give up!

What were your biggest fears about divorce and how did you deal with them? My biggest fear with my divorce would be how it would affect my son.  He was only one and a half years old  when we separated and almost three years old  when the divorce was final. He was so little he will only remember us apart, which I am thankful for.  I know so many people who were put in the middle of their parents’ divorce and have had an extremely hard time dealing with it even in adulthood.  I just try to take it one day at a time and be grateful that my ex is a good parent and is present in his life.  He was a terrible husband but he is a good dad.

Advice for new divorcees? It WILL get better, I promise.  As awful as things may be right now that is how much better they will become.  It is a LONG and tiring road with lots of bumps and tears along the way but there will be a day that you are relieved from the stress and can finally breathe.  And if you have kids and have to co-parent like I do, keep all of your focus on your child as hard as it is.  You never want them to feel caught in the middle or scared to talk to you because they might make you upset.  I don’t grill my son after he comes home from a weekend with his father and his girlfriend.  I just ask what he did and if he had fun. As long as he is happy to go with his father and is happy to see him that is all that matters right now.  I hope my son turns out to be NOTHING like his father and we have a long road ahead of us but right now I just want him to be a happy four year old, nothing more!

How are you celebrating post-divorce life? Becoming the person I was meant to be.  I am more comfortable in my own skin and do things that make ME happy.  I wanted to please my husband and become the perfect little trophy wife that he wanted and I totally lost my own sense of self.  I still have a lot of growing to do but I love how I am on the right path and am free from my ex-husband’s suffocating grip.

 Anything else you would like to add? I love this group (Trash the Dress) and have gotten some fantastic advice from women who really understand what it is like to go through something so terrible.  We are always there for each other any offering love and support.  It is a community of women who are all there for each other and always offer their advice or are just there to vent too. Also, remember self-care is vital on your road to recovery.  You HAVE to do things for you and that make you happy.  Mani/pedis, going to the movies (by yourself is actually pretty awesome), out for drinks with friends, having a good cry sometimes…the things that make you happy and make you feel good.  I had to treat myself to the things that I knew would put a smile on my face after so many tears had been there before.  Making yourself happy and putting yourself first are some stepping stones to healing!

Quote I recently fell in love with: I will not give up on love!

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Where Are They Now? | Robin’s Story

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. First up, meet Robin and her adorable daughter.

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How old were you when you divorced?

Separated shortly after my 22nd birthday and official right before my 23rd birthday.

How old are you now?

I am 24 years old.

Do you feel like you truly moved on from your divorce?  If so, how long did it take you and what factors contributed?

I am truly moved on. My marriage had been over for a while before the final straw broke. I came back home around friends and family and had my daughter to help motivate me to get my life back in order.

Is there anything you learned along the way that you wish you knew back then?

Having a child doesn’t mean your marriage is going to last.

Have you accomplished any particular goals since your divorce?

I accomplished getting back into school, being able to live, work, and provide for my daughter alone.

 How did you manage financial struggles (if any)?

At first, I worked as a server making $4.50 an hr plus tips. It was hard to pay rent and make ends meet. I had to limit my bills to make sure my daughter had everything she needed, even if it meant no cable, no Internet, no fun things for me.

Did you divorce through a lawyer or did you DIY divorce (and if so, how?)

No lawyers were involved. My ex-husband and I sat down and discussed everything that would happen.  Went and paid for the packets .We sat down and talked it out.  There was yelling at times but I got it filled out. He at one point filed to take my daughter away from me so I had to pay again to respond to it and put that we get equal time with her. It is hard but neither of us had money for lawyers. The process took about a year from first file date to being finalized.

Are you living in your own place?

I am living in my own house.

Are you single or in a relationship?

Currently in a wonderful relationship.

How did you conquer post-divorce dating fears?

I just set all fears aside and got out there. Kept my independent nature forward to show people I was not after someone to save me, I was after someone to share my life with.

Advice for new divorcees?

Life may seem like it can’t get better. It may seem that for a while. It does get better. If you have children, just remember this new life your starting involves them. Keep them in the front of your brain and just keep living.

How are you celebrating post-divorce life?

Living a life I never had while married. Having fun, smiling, and enjoying not having someone constantly tear me down.