Originally, I didn't know what to call this article. “Unexpected benefits of divorce” sounds so strange to me. When you tell someone you're getting a divorce, they always say “I'm so sorry”. You don't want to respond with “Oh no really, I'm fine, it's a good thing” because then you seem like a callous bitch. And your ex is already busy telling everyone you're the bitch in this situation, so for obvious reasons you don't want to answer that way.
Saying “thanks” or “it's okay” seems strange, too, because even though you may be grieving, it's not like anyone died. I don't know, it's just a weird situation all around and it seems like nobody wants to talk about the truth of it. Divorce is a topic that is danced around far too often. Shit happens, so let's talk about it and move on!
I was reading an article and it said that divorce makes you a better friend. I agree with it 100%, because even just in the few weeks that I've been single, I've been a better friend than I have in years. I've made my friends a priority, and I can tell they appreciate it.
Just like marriage, divorce is different for each person. If you've been divorced more than once, even those will each be different. It's tough to give advice on the topic because it's so unique, but I think the unexpected benefits of divorce span far and wide – even if they're not quite identical to mine. I didn't include all of the benefits some might have (bye bye in-laws!), but here are a few of my favorites.
7 Unexpected Benefits of Divorce
Peace. Chances are, if you got a divorce, your marriage wasn't the happiest at the end. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how much you did, it was never enough. There was yelling, fighting, disappointment. Once you leave the relationship, you may be overcome with a sense of relief and peace. If you're angry and bitter, put effort into finding peace. That may mean burning your love letters or writing a long journal entry about how you've been wronged, but get it all out so you can move on.
You don't have to forgive and forget right away – especially if there was abuse and/or cheating – but for your OWN sake, spit it all out and move onto the next step in life so you can achieve peace. Let karma do the rest.
New beginnings. Getting a divorce shouldn't be a way to ditch your responsibilities and start a whole new life, but your life will be different now. You'll have new friends, and you may even start to date (allow yourself a few months to heal before you go prowling, ladies). Hobbies you didn't have time for before, you may suddenly find time for. You may start wearing makeup or even want to change your hair color or cut. Whatever you do, realize it's an extension of your life – not a way to erase your past.
Weight loss. Not everyone loses weight after a divorce, but if you pour your tears out at the gym instead of into a bowl of ice cream, you totally can. I haven't stepped on the scale in a few days but I'm already down several pounds in just a couple of weeks. I've spent more time on myself – at the gym and at home, cooking healthier foods – and it shows.
Confidence. I imagined myself falling apart if my relationship ever ended. I thought I'd be super depressed, literally crying into ice cream like mentioned above, etc. It hasn't been that way for me, though. I don't feel like I failed; if anything, I feel like I conquered everything. All of the fears I had about being single, they're gone because here I am, single… and alive. Plus, when you're single, you get to accept compliments rather than feeling guilty or weird, and you get to flirt back if you feel so inclined. Flirting is always a confidence booster!
More money. While this won't be true for every situation (especially if you're a stay at home mom), if you have your own source of income you might notice you actually have MORE money than when you were married. You'll be spending less on groceries, gas, insurance, and “extras”. Going to the movies costs me $15. Going with a partner costs me $30. Going out to eat costs me $10, while going with a partner costs $20 (or more).
More time. If you were fully dedicated to your marriage, chances are you spent a LOT of time trying to make your partner happy. Whether you were cooking or cleaning for them, giving them massages, or running errands so they didn't have to, a lot of your time was spent on them.
When you get a divorce, you only have to worry about yourself (and the kids, if you have them). That means you have more time to do your own thing. There is something so freeing and liberating about not having to answer to anyone!
If you feel like packing up and driving to the mountains for the day, freakin' do it. You don't have to check in with anyone, and you don't have to listen to them whine on the road trip. Just. Do. It.
Cleaner house. Okay so this is the most shocking to me, but I remember the house constantly being a wreck and needing cleaned 10 times a day when I was married. Now, the house gets cleaned once and it stays clean for a few days. Not really sure how that happened, but I sure am loving it.
Is divorce in the cards?
Divorce isn't something I had ever considered. I think it's always something that should be an option, though, so you don't get stuck in a shitty situation. Especially if you have kids, think about what you'd tell your daughter if she were in your exact relationship. Would you tell her to leave because she's in an abusive relationship but just doesn't see it? Would you tell her to stay, because disagreements in marriage are completely normal and her relationship is worth fighting for? If you don't have a daughter, think about what you'd tell a friend if she spilled her guts and told her everything about the relationship. Should she stay? Should she go? You have your answer, even if it's a tough one.
I'm not saying divorce is all fine and dandy, but when it happens, all you can do is make the best of the situation. For your own mental health, for your kid's wellbeing and happiness, you can't just sit around and wallow in self pity all day. So while you don't have to go out and throw yourself a Divorce Party, it's perfectly okay to be okay with your divorce.