What I want you to know about being divorced

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Paige.

This is what I want people to KNOW: I'm divorced, so I know a little bit about it.

There are reasons that I think divorce is 100% the answer and divorce is always going to be a decision that ONLY YOU can make. But I’ve learned from experience that the best way to come to that decision is to exhaust every possible other avenue in reviving your marriage first. Let me tell you why.

Sometimes Divorce Chooses You

My ex husband fell in love with his coworker, left me when I was 7 months pregnant with our second daughter, and has been with the same woman ever since. Even though the decision to divorce wasn’t really mine, I still had to find peace with this new path I was on.

I’d beg him to reconsider from time to time because I was terrified of what this new future would hold. I feared for myself and my ability to be loved by another man. My body was tired and stretched out. I wasn’t free to run off and be adventurous like I was before I had children. I was riddled with stress and trust issues. I feared for my daughters and what it would do to them to be without their father. I still worry about my own emotional capacity to raise two girls on my own while taking care of everything else life throws at me.

After giving everything I had, I learned for sure there was nothing left I could do. Only then did I find peace in my decision to let go. Since then, I’ve never looked back, never felt regret, and never wondered if I should have done something else. That is powerful for me.

You Can’t Understand the Consequences Until You Actually Experience Them

It’s just like having children. You know it’s hard and that sacrifice is inevitable but until you actually have babies and raise them, you’re a clueless idiot. Divorce is the same way. We all know it’s not a walk in the park. But for those of you who haven’t experienced it, thanks for your sympathy but get out of my face. (Sorry, I know you’re trying. I don’t mean to be rude. But shut up.)

Divorce breaks you in ways you never imagined as you contemplated exciting new romance and a fresh start at life. Those things do come, but at a huge price. I will forever be tied to this man who is the father of my daughters. We will always have to deal with his absence in different ways. I have a much harder time now trusting others and seeing the good in them. I’m afraid to give anyone the benefit of the doubt like I had my first husband. The biggest struggle I’m learning to deal with now is being rejected again and again because the men I’ve been dating aren’t willing to take on all that I come with. It’s a whole new kind of heartbreak. I’m guarded, scared, and unwilling to compromise. I question my self worth daily and this isn’t normal behavior for me.

This Is My Plea To You

I’m writing this post because since my divorce, countless friends have come to me for advice. Their husbands cheat, they’re bad with money, they can’t provide, they’ve stopped going to church, they’re always at work, they’re struggling with addictions, they don’t help with the children.. the list goes on and on. I think these friends are looking for more than someone to talk to who understands their struggle. They’re looking for answers. They want someone to tell them it’s okay to walk away. Sometimes, I want to shout “RUN!!” at my friends who are being treated so poorly. But mostly, I want to tell them to hang on, don’t give up. Give it everything you have.

If you’re married to a partner you once loved, but fear that love is gone and irretrievable, don’t run yet. If they aren’t abusive emotionally or physically, if they are willing to try or maybe even if they aren’t, fight for a change in your relationship. I watched my own parents struggle my entire life as they learned to deal with each others shortcomings. But now after 30 years, they’ve really figured out a few things and they are so glad they fought through the hard parts. I am so glad they fought through the hard parts.

There is great power and self worth in learning how hard you can fight, how many hits you can take. Trials like this really show you what kind of person you are. We have everyday opportunities to be honest, to be kind, to serve others, and to be good little boys and girls. But when the person you love most really sticks it to you, your reaction to that situation will reveal to you how strong (or weak) you really are. Be grateful for that kind of self awareness. Be grateful for that rare opportunity to let GOD SAVE YOU from your misery. Because he will, if you let him.

There is great joy in tasting the fruits of your efforts after a long struggle. Heavenly Father knows this. This is why he allows us to struggle. Turn to him and he will help you to succeed.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" Matthew 5:4

This scripture has new and tender meaning to me in my adult years. How blessed am I that I can know the deep and healing powers of Christ’s atonement.

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