Divorce means you are no longer a couple. It’s just you and everything you do means going solo even if you do go with friends. That’s an adjustment and even the thought of it is scary.
My current guest, Candi was fifty-three years old when she and her husband separated. They’d been married for thirty-five years and their three children had all left home. No matter what the reasons for the divorce, living alone was going to be a big change. Here’s Candi:
I was afraid that I wasn’t going to enjoy living alone. I was afraid I was not going to be able to stand being alone all the time and I absolutely love it.
It was empowering. It was really empowering. It was exciting and it was wonderful. I wish I had done it before I got married. Too bad you can’t go back and get a do-over.
I would do so many things differently. I was never encouraged to go to college or I was never encouraged to find an occupation. I pushed both of my girls from the time they started school—kindergarten. It was never an option to not go to college. From the time they were little I engrained in them, “You will grow up, you will go to college, you will do something. I don’t care what it is. You will have an occupation where you can support yourself and stand on your own two feet. You don’t need a man,” and they both did that.
I was afraid maybe I would get too lonely and afraid that I might jump into a bad relationship because I’m lonely. But I’m not. I really enjoy being on my own.
I do a lot of genealogy research that I didn’t have as much time to do before that I do now. I spend a lot of the time out walking. I walk to stay fit and keep my weight down. I joined two walking clubs to get out and meet people. They meet on a regular basis a couple of times a month to walk at certain trails. So, I do that.
I do travel a little bit here and there when I can. Both of my best friends live in New York, so I try to get there every so often and spend some time there. I really don’t have a whole lot of free time, because of the other stuff that I do.
I still think that I’m adjusting. I feel like the butterfly comes out of the cocoon. I’m still evolving, I’m still finding out who I am as a person, because I did marry so young before I even knew who I was, what I liked, what I wanted out of life and now’s my time to figure all of that out. That’s how I found your blog, is looking.
It’s a wonderful thing just to read some of these other ladies stories, because when you don’t talk to people about what’s going on in your life, you have no idea that other people are experiencing the same exact thing. I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, somebody else went through the exact same thing.”
I actually joined two dating websites a few months ago and then, removed my name from both of them because the men were just ridiculous. I said, “I can’t do this. I’m just going to have to meet somebody the old-fashioned way.” It’s going to have to be face-to-face. I can’t do that. That’s just silly. It didn’t work out.
I’m perfectly fine being alone and I really was alone a lot through our marriage, because he traveled a lot. He was gone at least 30 weekends out of the year. So, I was used to being on my own, I was used to handling my kids on my own. I think what I really feared and it’s true, is intimacy, because even though the marriage was ending, there’s still that intimacy there.
You spend 30-some odd years with somebody, they know everything about you and they understand you in a lot of ways and that is the one thing that I do miss—that intimacy with another human being that you only have in a committed relationship or a marriage. I do miss that and I hope one day I find it again. If I don’t, well that’s what I’m working on—building a rich enough and a full enough life that if that doesn’t happen again, I’ll be okay with that too.
Yes … online dating is so universal that everyone almost expects you to go that route. There’s definitely no harm in trying it but there’s also no harm in saying that you’d prefer to meet people in a more organic way. A great way to find people with similar interests in your local area is at Meetup.com – it’s free to join. It’s a great resource even if you’re not looking to date.
Candi talks about finding out who she is a person and that is also very common post-divorce. Many of the people I’ve interviewed have talked about feeling lost – during your marriage you compromise, you sacrifice, you give in and when the marriage is over, you’re left wondering who you are, what matters to you, what makes you laugh and even what you enjoy doing. Your challenge now is to find out all that AND to have fun doing it. Use my free 14 Ways To Get To Know Yourself to help you and remember … enjoy the journey. There is no destination.
P.S. If you had a do-over, what would you do?
This is the last segment in Candi’s story and I am so appreciative of her willingness to share her journey. Judging by the shares and comments on Facebook, I know her story is resonating with some of you. Thank you Candi.
Photo Credit: 2014© www.clipart.com