I started this series about author Candace Walsh (@Candacewalsh) with a post about having the courage to confront your marriage. She got to the point where her marriage “was sucking the light out of any possible thing that could happen” and at that point ending it became a possibility.
With her own divorce behind her, she went on to edit an anthology about other women’s experiences, Ask Me About My Divorce which I reviewed and recommend for women contemplating whether such a choice is right for them or women who wondering about the possibilities for their new life. Not surprisingly, Candace’s own view of divorce is different now. Here’s what she has to say:
Editing Ask Me About My Divorce was a wonderful confirmation of what I had experienced on my own. Women from all walks of life with vastly different experiences and stories had the same dread of divorce and yet came out into a better life than they’d ever imagined, which is not what we’ve been raised to expect.
We need to step away from our received definitions of divorce and all that that includes and just have our own experience, especially when it’s in that nasty period when everything is getting worked out. Bad days are bad, good days are good but it’s overarchingly better not to be trapped in something that doesn’t meet your needs and doesn’t feed your soul.
I got submissions from people who staunchly believed divorce was awful, like being hit by a bus and how dare I suggest something different. It does make a difference if you were completely happy in the relationship and your spouse decides to leave. But there are women who have that background in Ask Me About My Divorce and they still were able to find a better life afterward because if somebody doesn’t want to be with you, it kind of contaminates your day.
I think people can be threatened by learning that people they know are getting divorced, maybe because of their childhood, maybe because of their own relationship fears or struggles. I remember feeling that way when I was in the marriage and I saw something kind of shaky. It was scary to see it, even from a distance and I was projecting what I thought they felt.
I’m proud that I didn’t stay with something that was no longer part of my truth. That’s bigger to me than any judgment someone might pass on me. I think I was expecting divorce to be scarier that it actually was. I thought I would experience this winding down whereas my life exploded positively. Every day is a new day and I don’t feel like I’m living under some cloud of divorce.
The Divorce Coach Says
For the longest time, I thought ending my marriage was simply not an option – I’d made my vows, “’til death do us part” and I was not going to be the person to break those vows. Then, like Candace, I could feel the life being sucked out of me and I was withdrawing more and more. I knew then that divorce was indeed an option and it was no longer something that only happened to other people. Yes , it was hard and yes, it was difficult but I’m glad I made the choice. I’m glad I chose to be happy.
Thank you Candace, for sharing your story, more of which appears in Ask Me About My Divorce. Candace is working on her second book, Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write About Leaving Men for Women, due out in October from Seal Press.