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!

 

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