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.

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