Divorce – Not One Size Fits All

When you venture into the world of divorce, you realize how many people around you are part of that world too.  One thing I have definitely found is that not every divorce is the same.  Just because you may have gone through a divorce doesn’t mean that you know what the next person may have experienced in their divorce. Yes, there is commonality and does help connect two people who have gone through a divorce more than a happily married woman and a divorced woman. But they are not all the same.

Some divorces are amicable. A scenario like:  One day, you both agree with a sigh of relief that you are on the same page and are in agreement that it’s just not working. You go to the lawyer together. Head to the courthouse together. Shake hands, sign the papers and then go have lunch together. If you are going to get divorced, that is the best-case scenario. Add in kids and still have this result? You won the divorce lottery!

This is not to make light of divorce. Whether the divorce is amicable or akin to a UFC cage match, it is still not something anyone would set as a goal in life. But if given the choice of a knock out drag out fight of a divorce or a handshake, a smile and on your way divorce, I would think that most people would choose the latter and be thankful that the former wasn’t their reality.

And this is where I am going with this.  For those of us who unfortunately experienced something ala the War of the Roses, we walk a path of healing that can take years to travel. Some may never be able to get to that end, forever suffering the effects from all the trauma experienced from the marriage and divorce. Even when you decide to walk away, the trauma continues. The trauma faced in the marriage continues as a struggle for power, control. Not only do you have to try and heal from the marriage, there is added trauma from the divorce that can sometimes be even more brutal than the trauma experienced in the marriage because there is no false pretense of love and the grasp of control over you is slipping as you become stronger and stronger. This takes a huge toll on a person.  So, when someone who has gone through the handshake and a smile type of divorce tries to compare and commiserate with the War of the Roses divorcee, it’s not even apples and oranges – it’s apples and elephants! When your ex calls you a horrible parent for not covering for them for the umpteenth time for missing their visitation, you turn to your ‘handshake and a smile’ friend and they tell you that they can definitely understand.  They tell you that their ex couldn’t take their child on their non-visitation day so they could go to a long spa weekend because the ex had to go in for surgery.  Uh no, NOT THE SAME! Or they tell you that you just need to learn to do it on your own, as you watch them as they use their ex as a babysitter so they can go out whenever they want to. Your ex not being able to take them ONE DAY does not read the same as an ex who has never taken their child to a single appointment and refuses to take the child on visitation if said child is sick. Divorce is different for everyone.  And sometimes, it’s more traumatic for some than others.

Now, this isn’t about saying ‘Mine is worse than yours’. This is about having empathy.  And that’s what I am getting at.  This is about stepping outside of yourself and looking at someone else’s life and lend a shoulder, an ear, a hand. Count your blessings. There is always someone somewhere who has it worse. And so even that person who is now ex Mrs. Rose, there is someone who has it worse than you. Imagine that for a second? Let that give you strength and relief that you are on the path back up from one of the worst places of your life. This absolutely does not discount what someone has gone through divorce minus the abuse and trauma. Divorce sucks no matter what kind of divorce it is. Just know that it could have been so much worse! So, before you go and try to compare, take a step back and look at the situation. Is it an apple or an elephant?  Acknowledge that you are blessed to not have gone through the knockdown, drag out divorce. And be there for the one who did.

No one wants to go through divorce. And if that’s a life goal of yours, I’d suggest you seek some therapy ASAP.  This isn’t about ‘I had it worse than you and I’m going to tell you all about it’. This is about humility and learning to understand and appreciate that others may have traveled down different routes during the same life path. We, as women, spend so much time focusing on competing with one another instead of being each other’s champion. This needs to change.  Use that common thread to lift each other up and be there for one another. Come together and create a village. Channel How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Let that guide you and the women around you. And then go kick some ass together!

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