Getting divorced is such a roller coaster of emotions. No one day throughout it or even post it is the same. For me, what I really struggled with was letting go of what I had the ‘idea’ of what my life would look like or where I would end up. I had very strong ideals about a family unit and how I thought that should look.
I read a quote recently from Jackie Chan that said he was bullied significantly but he only stood up to the bullies once there was another student to protect. Then he found the strength – not when it was himself but when someone else mattered.
They say that motherhood changes you forever. Things you found important no longer are, standards you accepted before no longer are acceptable, the sort of values you have evenly loosely encapsulated become much more black and white, if you have a daughter you may ask yourself what sort of example or standard do you want to exhibit for her. When I had sons it became – what sort of representation do I want to be for them? How do I want them to remember me or how do I want them to treat women based on how I am treated. It all changes.
And on the flip side – mums get left last, I only spoke to a good friend this week about this. We get left behind, we are the last to get looked after, we ask ‘permission’ to do things generally speaking as being a mother and those responsibilities come first and foremost, it’s tiring and exhausting and a totally thankless job generally speaking.
Becoming a single mother only intensified these feelings – I feel an even stronger connection and sense to raising my boys, there are days that are still lonely or I carry a great sense of responsibility. Navigating a new relationship that impacts my sons is a delicate balance. It’s tough determining what role is played, what role should be played and then there are days when you just want to say “sorry but I’m too tired, you made these kids too so here you can do the thinking for us”. That is hard to do when the person you are with isn’t the one you made your babies with.
Divorce – we all hate it yet our rates of divorce is so high. A psych once told me that making it through the first year of parenting becomes too much for many couples and their marriage starts to fail, it starts to crumble. Neither of you know what the hell you are doing or what you are in for, it’s so confusing.
Now in hindsight, I know what went wrong in my marriage, like in the case of Jackie Chan I didn’t advocate properly for myself until there was someone else to advocate for. Obviously it wasn’t that simple but that example really resonated with me. When I look at the marriages that are making it – what I actually notice is a friendship, a deep sense of respect, no mind games, no power imbalances and being kind to each other.
It’s hard once you walk the path of single mother to really lose that title, it’s hard to lose the sense of sadness you feel over a failed marriage especially one with children involved.
On a positive – my wedding song came on the other day and after two years I no longer have any feeling about it. It’s a gorgeous song, it’s reminds me of a time that once was but I no longer get that overwhelming sense of sadness. It might sound small but on the rollercoaster post divorce it’s a big step.
My Irish insta hubby and I (we decided we feel very old saying partner and too old for boyfriend 😂) speak very openly about the ends of our marriages, how we felt on the days our divorces were finalised, how we feel about not having what we thought would be a ‘family’. We understand that no matter how you feel about your new relationship – there is still emotions that come with how you felt about the breakdown of your family and sometimes those feelings come at very odd times.
Once you have had a failed marriage – you know that you can’t really think any relationship is forever but what I can say is, creating a life I love and a healthy happy one is ensuring I am with someone with a deep respect and friendship. When all that gloss fades, I want someone I can laugh with and that will hold my hand when the man comes knocking saying “right life is about to get a bit harder!”
I have found someone who doesn’t give up on us and works with me to try and make life better. Where we end up, who knows, but I can honestly say he’s someone I have a deep level of respect for and I know for him, that means way more than needing to continually profess my love or pretend that our relationship doesn’t have it’s hard moments because by sure it bloody does!!
As we get older we all come with baggage and let me tell you, mine has well and truly filled a suitcase or even two but we’ve learnt it’s not really about trying to dump it but more helping each other carry it. Someone once told me a marriage isn’t 50/50 but 70/30. One person is usually always carrying 70% of things but you want someone who will pick up the 70 when you need to drop your bundle for a while. You can’t really be ignorant enough to think it’s just the two of you and nothing else, life just isn’t that simple.
As life twists and turns – I’ve learnt to just hold on a little tighter some weeks!