One of my universal truths about divorce is that your perspective on divorce will change once you experience it. Os I wasn’t surprised when my current guest, Molly said her perspective of divorce had changed in a million ways. Here’s Molly:
I don’t see divorce as a failure anymore. In fact, I think that sometimes it’s a hard decision. Sometimes it’s a braver decision than hanging on to an unhappy marriage. I wrote a piece about the Gores when everybody was so upset about them being broken up, and I said they made a really difficult decision and they’re doing it with equanimity and they’re saying they want to stay friends and no matter what’s gone on, that’s something that should be congratulated.
I also think that divorce doesn’t have to be the scorched earth, broken family, horrible statistics that the media portrays it to be. Instead of destroying my family or breaking my relationship, rupturing my relationship, I feel like it’s just a change. It’s a change in my relationship, it’s a change in the family dynamic and like any change in life, it’s got its advantages and disadvantages.
I’ve become a firm believer that divorce isn’t necessarily evil, it’s not necessarily this terrible failure. What’s more important is how you choose to deal with it.
I also think it’s a great opportunity. I’ve learned so much about myself in the past four years that I don’t think I would have learned being in a relationship with him. Not only did I see him with new eyes, I saw myself with new eyes.
When you’re involved in a relationship with someone with that level of intimacy, you come to see so much of yourself through the prism of someone else, through your partner’s eyes, and it was really nice to see myself as me again. I feel I’ve had more ability and more time to dedicate to my own happiness.
Perhaps ironically, we’ve both become better parents. When you have to do it on your own, you no longer are relying on someone else’s input and someone else’s help. You find resources and creativity inside yourself that you didn’t know existed.
While it may be very painful, it also can be a great opportunity for growth. None of us is ready to see anything until we’re ready to see it. Know what I mean? Sometimes all of a sudden something will become so crystal clear that maybe you could have realized before but didn’t. Some of my readers ask me,
“Why couldn’t you have done this before in your marriage? Why couldn’t you have seen him with new eyes? Why couldn’t you have appreciated him more and had more acceptance for him?”
My only answer is we had to go through the divorce for me to get to that point, for us both to get to that point.
Every so often I’ll get this moment of “should I consider reconciling?” and we spend a few hours together and I’m reminded that even though we have a great relationship, we’re not meant to be partners. It’s funny because Deesha Philyaw on Twitter from Co-Parenting 101, was writing about a reader who was the girlfriend of a divorcee who was having dinners with his family once a week. The girlfriend was concerned that it would give them a chance to reconcile, that it would stir up old feelings and I said,
“No, no. It’s the opposite. The more time you spend together, the more you realize you need to be apart.”
I think there are some major complexities in relationships in general, but in post-divorce relationships if you look beyond the black and white, beyond the traditional notions that people have of relationships, there’s so much more ambiguity and ability to have positive, loving relationships. That’s another blessing of my divorce: I now have this much more open notion of people doing what they need to do for themselves and ways in which we can all benefit from each other’s presences in each other’s lives without having to judge or resort to traditional societal conceptions.
The Divorce Coach Says
Divorce also changed my perspective. I find I have more compassion now for others going through divorce. I know how painful and how difficult it is. I’m less judgmental. I understand the meaningless nature of questions such as who was a fault, or who initiated the divorce, who wanted the divorce. I also know that is a beginning to the next phase in your life.
Photo credit: gerlos