“Every woman that finally figured out her worth has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”
― Shannon L. Alder
Sometimes, I feel that women create their own hell and then take permanent residence within its confines. The gatekeeper, guard and executioner is usually some scoundrel who doesn’t give a hoot about the prisoner. He is not even much of a gatekeeper; he doesn’t need to be because the prisoner is not willing to escape. She sits on the hard bench of the windowless room and laments the life she had previously. She says things like: “If only he did the “work” we could save our marriage,” “I will never love anyone else,” “my life is ruined,” “I can’t live without him.” She is the injured party, the victim, the dependent, and her life has been destroyed because of him.
When I listen to women talk like this, I get angry and sad in equal measures. All the rivers of ink that have been used to promote women’s empowerment become invisible ink when women admit to absolute helplessness because of a man. This makes me angry. The extent of devastation that these men can cause and perpetuate in the lives of these women makes me very sad. I want to scream to them: “Your life is not over because of the divorce. Your life is so much more than your relationship; you have essence, purpose, dreams, and abilities. You can do so much! Why do you weep for years while ascribing qualities to your ex that he never truly possessed? Your behaviour hurts you, your children, and womanhood as a whole.
Your divorce is not a battle. You do not lose or win (except financially), your husband is not a war criminal, and you cannot die on the battlefield. It is an arrangement between two people that have gone bad, an alliance that failed. Whether you like it or not, it is time to move on, on your own. The man who chose to leave you, your shared home and his children does not define you. You don’t need to continue living your life through the lens of endless mourning of what could have been. You are not diminished because he is gone, and your happiness is not in hands but in your hands alone.
I am not claiming here that divorce is easy or trivial. Yes, it is a moment of crisis with difficult choices as you work to redefine your role and assert your independence. But it can also be a beautiful time of maturity and growth. With the spotlight turned on yourself, you can untether your priorities from those of your ex and focus on your own. Reclaim your identity and untie it from that of your role as wife and mother. What was it that you always wanted to do? Redefine your priorities and make it happen.
Girl, you should get busy! You have your own life to plan, live, and enjoy. Once you free yourself from the darkroom of anger, self-pity, and misplaced hope, the light of your true self will shine on the capable woman that you really are. Please don’t waste a moment of your beautiful life lingering on Facebook groups whose sole purpose is to bring together women in their misery while perpetuating their self-loathing and female weakness.
As you gaze into the future post-divorce, there is good news to cheer you up. A recent study of 1060 divorced men and women with an average age of 54, showed that women are happier than their male counterparts. Over half of women (53%) reported that they are ‘much happier’ post-divorce while less than a third (32%) of men said the same. The survey asked more than 30 personal questions about the participants’ lives and the reasons behind their splits.
After a divorce, women were found to use more positive words like ‘glad,’ ‘celebration’ and ‘excitement’ whereas men were more likely to talk about ‘failure’ and ‘disappointment,’ the survey found. A higher proportion of women (61%) also said they were happier to be single and not looking for a relationship in comparison to 47% of men who felt the same. Men were also more likely to harbour feelings for a former partner (17% versus 8% for women), and yet they were quicker to start dating again, with more than 30% likely to be in a new relationship.
I urge you to make the mental shift from prisoner in a dead relationship to free woman and to refrain from making your divorced status your calling card. You are much more than that. You were someone with a distinct identity when you entered your marriage, a person important in her own rights with ambitions and plans for the future. Dig deep and find this person again. She will thank you for it.
“What we wait around a lifetime for with one person, we can find in a moment with someone else.”
― Stephanie Klein, Straight Up and Dirty
Alexandra is the author of “The Woman Who Forgot Her Agenda” now available on Amazon