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.

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