6 Lessons Learned After Being Divorced for Three Years

Very shortly, it will be 3 years since my divorce date and over 5 years since I have been separated from my ex-husband. As it gets close to that date each year which also is right next to our wedding anniversary ironically, I always reflect on the trials, wins, and growth I’ve made in that time. In some ways, I always find myself a bit short of where I want to be, and in other ways, I always find that I’ve surpassed my expectations. Now that it’s almost three years out, here’s what I’ve learned, where I’ve been, and where I’m headed.

1. DOING THE RIGHT THING ALWAYS PAYS OFF

There were many times when it came to my ex or things involving him where friends would say I was “too nice” or going out of my way.
This isn’t to say that I always did the right thing each time, but that overall, I usually tried to do the right thing.

I think it’s paid off. I think my daughter has learned a lot from my example, and I think it has helped bridge the gap and heal relationships between myself and my ex’s family. I think it’s helped to ensure that my daughter has a relationship with them as well. I even see some positive changes between my ex and me, so I’ll take them.

Read More: 6 Lessons Learned After Being Divorced for Three Years

Learning & Growing,

Laura

Real Stories of Love, After Divorce

The words “love” + “divorce” aren’t usually paired together. In fact, after a divorce most people find themselves wondering if perhaps, love is just a scam. Of course it’s not, but it’s normal to feel a bit weary or jaded, as long as you don’t let those feelings linger. After all, if you believe it, you’ll receive it— meaning that if you have a bad attitude about love, you’re most likely apt to attract negative situations and people. Believing is part and parcel of finding love … you just need a little blind faith. Hopefully not too blind, or you might choose the wrong person again.

With Valentine’s Day here, you might be licking a few salty wounds or feeling lonely. It is a Hallmark holiday in many ways, but if you’re a romantic like me, it’s normal to want to have someone to enjoy it with. So, as my present to all those wondering when cupid will strike, here are a few love stories after divorce to inspire you to have faith, be patient and believe.

You Say He’s Just a Friend

Jackie, creator and Editor-in-chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, had been divorced for 11 years and her ex had been remarried for quite some time when she ended up in a relationship that lasted for 6 years.

“It was always comfortable, but I felt like I wasn’t ready to get married again and neither did my boyfriend–which made things easy,” she says.

However, the tides turned when when boyfriend finally wanted to settle down. That’s when the issues started. After a few “make up’s and break up’s” as I call them, they finally ended it.

Read More: Real Stories of Love, After Divorce

Believe,

Laura

7 Bad Habits to Ditch From Your Marriage For a Happier Life

Whether you realize it or not, you formulated bad habits during your broken marriage that need to be left behind. We’ve all seen it: people get divorced or break up, and they carry that heavy baggage with them, bringing along a boatload of issues to the next relationship. We can’t completely ignore the fact that our experiences do shape us, but we can let go of certain bad behaviors and habits from our past in order to transition to a healthier future.

If you’ve dusted yourself off after your divorce and want to have a happier future, here are some bad habits to ditch from here on out.

  1. BELIEVING YOU ARE A VICTIM

     

    Yes, your ex could have been abusive or manipulative. Yes, your ex may have lied and had an affair. These are both horrible things, and difficult to recover from.

    However, you are not a victim. You got out of the situation and while you may still have to deal with this person, you need to view yourself as empowered and not a victim. You need to see yourself as having options and being in charge of your destiny. You chose to marry the wrong person. Accept this, and move on knowing you will choose better the next time.

Read More: 7 Bad Habits to Ditch From Your Marriage For a Happier Life

Say Buh-Bye, Bad Habits,

Laura

8 Signs You’ve Healed After Your Broken Marriage

Healing from a broken marriage requires time, love and patience — to a different degree for each individual. How much time, love and patience you’ll need with yourself to heal really depends on a few things, like:

  • How positive your outlook is
  • How your mental health is to start, before the divorce process, as mental health issues may play into your healing
  • How strong your support network is
  • How self-aware you are of your own role in your marriage’s demise, whether it was picking a bad abusive partner, making bad choices on your end, or a mix of things
  • How committed you are to having a better life after divorce
  • How much change you need to make to finalize the divorce (housing, money, etc.)

 

No matter whether the cards are stacked for you or against you though, you can move on and heal from your broken marriage. It may seem hard to put the past behind you, but you have to. You have to leave it where it belongs…in the past. It can’t be changed, reversed or altered, so accepting what is and trying to decide what will be next is vital to your happiness. Your future is bright and your glass is always half-full!

 

Here are 8 signs you’ve healed past your broken marriage:

  1. YOU WANT SOMEONE IN YOUR LIFE WITHOUT FEAR HE/SHE WILL BE A REPEAT

     

    You’re not sitting around fearful that the next person will just be like your “insert bad word” ex spouse. Sure, you may be afraid to be vulnerable and get hurt, but the fear is not so paralyzing that you’re going to A: self-sabotage something with a great new partner or B: run from any commitment. You know you could get hurt and you’re scared, but not so scared that you’re about to stay home alone every Saturday night to protect yourself from getting hurt.

Read More: 8 Signs You’ve Healed After Your Broken Marriage

Feeling Good,

Laura

5 Transformative Thoughts To Allow Love Into Your Life

Love is transformative if you allow it into your life. Some of us allow or have allowed people into our lives when in truth, they aren’t good for us or positive for us. Why? Well, because we often carry our own issues with us that prevent us from making smart choices in love. From low self-esteem to past hurts, sometimes we choose partners through the looking-glass lenses of damaged hearts and minds.

Does this mean that all is lost?

Of course not! Through these poor choices, we can grow. And after divorce is the perfect time to grow and learn from your bad choices. After divorce is the perfect time to take inventory of where you came from, where you are going and how you plan on making different decisions to gain a solid love for the future.

One of the biggest roadblocks I often see with my divorced peers is they don’t believe love is out there or generally, have a bad attitude towards love. So, here are my 5 transformative thoughts I use to allow love and positive things into my life. May it help others to do the same!

1) Your Past Doesn’t Have to Dictate Your Future

“I always meet the bad ones.”

“I always get cheated on.”

Step away from these negative statements and stop buying into them as truths. Yes, in the past you may have married a bad one, but that doesn’t mean your future will go the same way.

Stop assuming that because one or even many bad things have happened to you in love that it will always be that way. It is your assumptions and commitment to negative thinking that are getting in your way!

Read More: 5 Transformative Thoughts To Allow Love Into Your Life

It Starts With You,

Laura

There is No Real Logic in Love

It seems as if every therapist, school of thought or philosophy has its own idea about how to be a good partner and make a relationship thrive.  The reality is, if love were all that logical and scientific, we could then easily extract how to manage relationships through equation and theory. This isn’t to say that there isn’t some “science” and evolutionary theory in how we all pick our partners, but that we can’t simply plug in some equation and decide how to pick a partner or what to say when we’re arguing with a lover.

This also isn’t to say that we cannot use guidelines or common sense, no of course not!, but that love is not born of logic and equations.

This is often something people forget– especially men who seem to need to break down every component of a situation with logic that they end up tied down in their own questions.

We can certainly value logic in our love decision. For example, logically, I would tell you to avoid dating someone currently embroiled in a substance abuse problem or someone who knows he or she doesn’t want kids when you want kids. Yes, there are markers and decision points, but ultimately there is no way to logically set out a solid love and “keep yourself” from getting hurt.

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What It’s Like to Have Too Much to Offer As A Divorced Woman

I used to think that I wasn’t good enough. Mainly because of late tween and teenage experiences that bled into more colorful but not so great experiences in my early-twenties. And then furthermore, being married to someone who loved me based on conditions and not on who I was. Someone that could give up and someone that didn’t seem to see the best in me, even though I was trying my best. Perhaps he was too.

Now I know I am good enough. I have much to offer. A stable career. A blooming career. The ambition of a billion men and (wo)men. The spirit and energy of a teenager. The friendliness of a Labrador Retriever. A healthy child. Great friends. Two parents who tolerate me. Wink.

I’m fit and healthy. I have a good work-life balance although yes, I am rather busy. I make friends with strangers. I am open and not bitter. I am not the least bit grieving my divorce.

Yet somehow I end up feeling as if I have “too much” to offer someone that often dates, back off or never happen.

Guys worry: Are you judging my grammar? ( I am a writer after all.)

You write about sex? Wow. Intimidating.

Read More: What It’s Like to Have Too Much to Offer As A Divorced Woman

Strong & Tall (Well, In Spirit),

Laura

6 Reasons Single Moms (& Dads) Deserve Love the Second Time Around

As a single mom or dad, you are amazing.

The problem is you most likely don’t realize that, or if you do, you have grown so independent that perhaps you’ve grown to believe that love might never walk down your street.

Society likes to shame moms who have had divorces. Article after article I’ve written, I will always find one person who likes to comment, accusing me falsely of walking out of my marriage, even though that wasn’t the case and even though we went through many rounds of counseling together.

Society likes to make comments about moms — or more likely the state the moms are in — after a father abandons or drops out of the child’s life.

There are so many myths about single parenthood in general, but sometimes, when you’ve grown tired of doing things on your own, it’s hard to not feel down and wonder:

“When will I find love again?”

Read More: 6 Reasons Single Moms (& Dads) Deserve Love the Second Time Around

You Deserve It!

Laura

The Most Important Thing About Dating as a Single Parent

When it comes to dating as a single parent, there is one single most important thing to consider, above everything else:

Would you allow your potential partner to date your child?
Or in other words, is your potential partner good enough for your kids?

Time and time again, I see women and men dating people who don’t exactly cut it.

The man whose girlfriend treats him like a bank account and handyman.

The woman whose boyfriend treats her like a “sidepiece” and inconvenience.

The scenarios are the same for those in LGBT relationships– situations in which one person is settling for less than what they deserve.

Time and time again, I see divorced parents in relationships that aren’t the dream relationship they left their ex’s for.

I see people settling. I see people dating fill-in’s and warm bodies to keep the loneliness at bay.

Read More: The Most Important Thing About Dating as a Single Parent

Setting the Bar High,

Laura

Going To A Wedding As A Divorcée Was A Lot Less Romantic

It was the first wedding I attended since my ex-husband and I decided to separate. I hadn’t been to a wedding alone since eight years ago (before we met) and I’d just started to properly grieve the end of my marriage.

How could this wedding possibly be fun? I felt bad because it was a celebration of love for one of my dearest and most loved friends. I was so happy for her, a single mom who found her right fit, her happy ending.

Yet I was so scared to go. What if I cried and not in the “Oh, here’s a few tears. Isn’t this so romantic?” type of way. What if the joyous occasion was clouded in my mind by the fact that my marriage failed, despite standing in front of my loved ones and pledging to be there through good times and bad?

You should always be happy for your friends, but sometimes it’s impossible to not be sad for yourself.

Read More: Going To A Wedding As A Divorcée Was A Lot Less Romantic

Stronger Than I Thought,

Laura