My current guest, Antonia came from a tightly-knit family with a strong Italian heritage. A family where divorce didn’t happen and and long-term marriages were the norm. With that background, I asked Antonia how her two divorces had changed her perspective on divorce. Here’s Antonia:
I used to think divorce was the plague! It was Satan, it was like “people don’t get divorced,” and now I see it as something tragic that happens, two strong people who will split apart and realize they’ll be happier separate than together, even for their children. I don’t have children, but I always give advice.
“I want your children to see you happier separately than miserable and grow up with no example of love.”
No one in my family had been divorced. I feel that they didn’t treat me awfully but they treated me like I had cancer, they didn’t know what to do with me, they never said the right thing, they were embarrassed, they were scared. My lawyer came over to meet with me and my family was sitting with me in the kitchen. Their whole perspective changed when they heard what had been going on. After that they were like,
“How could we ever want this girl in a marriage like this? Marriage is tough, but it’s not that bad that she needs to endure this every day.”
Now they’re very supportive. Now they wouldn’t want it any other way. My father thinks I’m crazy to get married again, He looks at me with so much strength and courage, he’s proud of me, and he’s very proud of me for leaving the second time.
Divorce is horrible, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I understand all the phases that you go through and I see it now in other people and whether you think you’re going to go through them or not, you will go through all of the stages. Just be strong, you’ll get through it even though you think you can’t. Clean your heart, clean your mind and clean up your past so that you can just love yourself, love your life and move forward.
The Divorce Coach Says
People can be very judgmental about divorce – often times it can come from a lack of understanding or true knowledge. Until you’ve experienced it, you really don’t have the right language to talk about it and that’s why people can often say the wrong things or ask silly questions. I recommend ignoring their judgments as much as possible – remember, you have to do what is best for you. You may change their judgment by choosing to share more information about what your marriage was really like but how much you share is completely up to you. I would err on the side of caution and discretion, choosing to share the details with a few trusted confidantes. True friends will support you through your divorce without demanding intimate details.
The stages of divorce is a concept that Dr. Bruce Fisher covers in his book Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends. This is a book that another of my guests, Sue recommends, she says it was her bible. Sue also agrees that you do have to go through each stage to finishing processing the end of your marriage. I would add that there isn’t a prescribed way to work through the stages, there are lots of recommendations but ultimately it comes down to finding what works for you.
This is the last post in Antonia’s series. I’d like to thank Antonia for sharing her story and for giving away a copy of her Taking Out The Trash. You can follow Antonia at her website, on twitter and on Facebook.