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!

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